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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-16 2:46 PM (#87824)
Subject: Help Us Help You



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Hi All,

Every now and then, we get phone calls and emails from potential customers asking if our PatternMaster software is user friendly. Of course, we think it is but we aren't the most objective and we cannot use the programs the way you all do. So, we are asking you, our customers, what do you think?

Is PatternMaster easy to use? Not the measuring, fitting, and sewing process but the actual use of the program - navigating the screens, the menus and toolbars, making styles choices and settings, printing and saving patterns, the help system, etc. What do you struggle with when trying to use the program? Are there features that work well? What features could we add or change that would make the program easier and more intuitive to use? How could we improve the overall process of creating and printing styles? We would really like your feedback but please be as specific as possible. We want to hear what you think. Thanks!
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margie2
Posted 2014-05-16 8:55 PM (#87825 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: RE: Help Us Help You


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OK, I will go first. I have Pattern Master Boutique, Pattern Master Knits, and Wild Stitches.

I have used the programs long enough, now, that the things I found problematic at first, are no longer. I do remember that "Saving" was not intuitive to me. You have to "Save" twice. Fortunately, the program asks if you want to save the patterns, even though I thought I had already done that.

The programs are so powerful that it would help to have a cheat sheet, something that would tell you, "Have you checked "x" and "y" and are you really ready to print". I have printed patterns only to find I forgot to check something and had to go back and do it over again. Maybe, I was just too eager to start sewing.

I still have not figures out what "Next" is supposed to do. When I click on it, nothing happens.

The process that I find the most frustrating is not being able to combine in Style Editor the parts I want. I understand that not all selections will work together. But, if I select something that will not work, sometimes the program reverts to the beginning and all the work I did is gone and I have to start over. I would much rather have the program tell me I cannot use a selection. Since I am not a programmer, I don't know if this is possible.

To anyone who reads this, who is considering buying the program, my suggestions are not meant to demean the programs. It does take time to learn how to use them.

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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-16 9:28 PM (#87826 - in reply to #87825)
Subject: RE: Help Us Help You



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margie2 - 2014-05-16 7:55 PM

OK, I will go first. I have Pattern Master Boutique, Pattern Master Knits, and Wild Stitches.


Thanks for going first!


I have used the programs long enough, now, that the things I found problematic at first, are no longer. I do remember that "Saving" was not intuitive to me. You have to "Save" twice. Fortunately, the program asks if you want to save the patterns, even though I thought I had already done that.


We definitely know that saving is not intuitive. Its one of the most asked questions we get. Since we have additional items that can be saved - photos, notes, etc., we have to display the screen that provides those options and then the requirement to press another Save button. So, to all of you, how could we make that better, easier?

The programs are so powerful that it would help to have a cheat sheet, something that would tell you, "Have you checked "x" and "y" and are you really ready to print". I have printed patterns only to find I forgot to check something and had to go back and do it over again. Maybe, I was just too eager to start sewing.


Have you used the custom reminders for this sort of thing? If so and they are not sufficient, what else could we do here?

As for printing, the best thing I can recommend is to always print to a PDF file directly from the program. That's what I do here. That way I can always check the PDF file before I send it to the printer and go back and make changes if I forgot something. I just posted a class on printing to PDF. Take a look at it and see if that helps. PDF writers are free and very easy to use.

I still have not figures out what "Next" is supposed to do. When I click on it, nothing happens.


On which screen?

The process that I find the most frustrating is not being able to combine in Style Editor the parts I want. I understand that not all selections will work together. But, if I select something that will not work, sometimes the program reverts to the beginning and all the work I did is gone and I have to start over. I would much rather have the program tell me I cannot use a selection. Since I am not a programmer, I don't know if this is possible.


Unfortunately, this is not likely to get much better because there are just too many possible combinations of options. Theoretically, and I think for the most part, those options that cannot be sewn together are disabled so that you cannot choose them. If you find some that are not disabled and should be, certainly let me know. I know its frustrating to start over but I try to err towards resetting rather than risk you picking something that cannot be sewn together so that you don't waste time, paper, and fabric. We have a lot of customers who are quite new to sewing and not yet able to determine if the patterns will indeed work together.

Thanks for your help here. Who dares go next?
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margie2
Posted 2014-05-16 10:02 PM (#87827 - in reply to #87826)
Subject: RE: Help Us Help You


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Lisa, on the top toolbar at the extreme left edge, on the Style Editor, there is an icon of shapes - square, circle and something else. They are too small for me to identify exactly. If you click on that, you get a list of commands. The last one is "Next".

About the PDF... I got that information, but have not put it to use, just yet. Thank you for that. I guess I missed, "Custom Reminders". I don't know what that is.

The programs are so very powerful that I think beginners get frustrated. They expect to put in measurements, print out a pattern, be told how to sew it together, and then end up with a fabulous garment. That doesn't happen. Maybe a plan to follow after the fitting garments might help. I don't know what that plan would be. I have been sewing for so long, I would not make a good teacher.

I think it is great that you are asking for feedback from your users. Have you noticed that a lot of people look but do not participate?
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Tall Karen
Posted 2014-05-16 11:00 PM (#87828 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Lisa,
I think the programs are fantastic and very powerful. That being said, I find that I often miss some tiny detail which derails my design. I try to proofread carefully, but if I miss some setting, such as CB waist location, my pants don't fit properly. It seems that my defaults don't save properly, or I can't make a default for every setting? Sometimes, I feel like I have so many choices, I overshop. I don't know what "standards" are, like is a standard cuff 2" or 3", is a "standard" collar 1.5" or 2"....."standards" used in RTW might help to make beginning choices that could then be customized later for individualization. But, I keep working at it because PMB is far better than the patterns that don't fit that have to be totally redrafted anyway.
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Towanda
Posted 2014-05-17 9:50 AM (#87830 - in reply to #87828)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You


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I agree with Tall Karen. There are so many choices to make that sometimes it gets overwhelming. This morning I'm searching images of cardigans because I don't know what is the standard depth for the neckline for a V-neck cardigan. A reference for the standards would be helpful or links to where we can find the information. Please add more stylish choices to the Wild Styles. Sometimes I just want to print out a pattern that fits and not have to think about all of the style choices. I've been buying Lekala patterns because the design choices are made for me. I still need to tweak the patterns but it is better than commercial patterns. I would prefer to use my programs instead of buying patterns.
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Tall Karen
Posted 2014-05-17 11:19 AM (#87835 - in reply to #87830)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Exactly Towanda...
I'd like to know how designers chose the standard they use....how do they know to make a v neck so deep, so wide? How do they know the sizes of collars to use? I guess wild styles would be a good starting point, but I haven't done that because the styles aren't what I'm looking for, but maybe I should re-look at that.....It seems like there should be a "rule book" available somewhere so we could backward engineer instead of frontward engineer if you know what I mean (start with a standard and then customize using the software)
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-17 11:58 AM (#87837 - in reply to #87835)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Location: Auburn, AL
Unfortunately, there are absolutely no RTW "standards" for any of the design details or settings in the program. Just like there are no "standard" sizes in ready to wear. They will vary widely from company to company and style to style. If you look at paper patterns from the pattern companies (Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, etc.), they are all very different in how they fit and the choices they make for neck width, neck depth, etc. Every company wants to differentiate itself from every other company so there can never be a standard.

All PatternMaster programs start with default settings that we feel are the best for the initial draft for that style. Beyond that personal preference makes it impossible for us to predict what you might want for a setting or design detail. Wild Styles is certainly a good place to start but you will still want to check settings such as length and neckline depth to be sure they work for you.
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-17 12:01 PM (#87839 - in reply to #87827)
Subject: RE: Help Us Help You



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margie2 - 2014-05-16 9:02 PM

Lisa, on the top toolbar at the extreme left edge, on the Style Editor, there is an icon of shapes - square, circle and something else. They are too small for me to identify exactly. If you click on that, you get a list of commands. The last one is "Next".


If you mean this menu, it is a standard control menu placed there by Windows. Its in every Windows program not just PatternMaster and pops up when you click on any window icon. Its not something I can control or program for. Just ignore if you click on it by mistake.



(Control Menu.png)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments Control Menu.png (17KB - 1 downloads)
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-17 12:04 PM (#87840 - in reply to #87828)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Tall Karen - 2014-05-16 10:00 PM
Lisa,
I think the programs are fantastic and very powerful. That being said, I find that I often miss some tiny detail which derails my design. I try to proofread carefully, but if I miss some setting, such as CB waist location, my pants don't fit properly. It seems that my defaults don't save properly, or I can't make a default for every setting? Sometimes, I feel like I have so many choices, I overshop. I don't know what "standards" are, like is a standard cuff 2" or 3", is a "standard" collar 1.5" or 2"....."standards" used in RTW might help to make beginning choices that could then be customized later for individualization. But, I keep working at it because PMB is far better than the patterns that don't fit that have to be totally redrafted anyway.


If you think your defaults are not working correctly, certainly let me know. Those can and should be fixed. If you think there is should be a default setting for something that we don't have, let me know that too. It might be something we can add.
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familysewn
Posted 2014-05-17 1:06 PM (#87844 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You


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Lisa, in settings in Style Editor the only 2 settings that currently have a reset button are "armhole " and "neck" settings. Is it possible to get a a reset button for the rest of the settings , so that if you are just playing around and want get back to the original settings you could press reset for the other settings?
Barb
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margie2
Posted 2014-05-17 1:18 PM (#87846 - in reply to #87839)
Subject: RE: Help Us Help You


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Yes, that is where I found, "Next". I expected it to be just as you said. However, I always can hope that there is something next coming.
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-17 1:58 PM (#87847 - in reply to #87844)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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familysewn - 2014-05-17 12:06 PM

Lisa, in settings in Style Editor the only 2 settings that currently have a reset button are "armhole " and "neck" settings. Is it possible to get a a reset button for the rest of the settings , so that if you are just playing around and want get back to the original settings you could press reset for the other settings?
Barb


You can already do this on the Defaults screen.



(ResetDefaults.png)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments ResetDefaults.png (28KB - 1 downloads)
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StMike
Posted 2014-05-18 3:33 PM (#87851 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Would it be possible to have the Summary/Defaults review screen stay open while you make changes in Settings? I like to check the finished garment measurements frequently as I make selections in Settings. Now, one has to open the Review Summary screen scroll to the area wanted and the close the screen before making any further changes in settings. Then go through the whole sequence again to check the results. It would be convenient to have the Review screen stay open while making settings changes and have it refresh (or manually tell it to refresh) after a new setting is selected. That way you could easily follow the results of your choices as you work.
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cfonfold
Posted 2014-05-18 3:35 PM (#87852 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: RE: Help Us Help You



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I’m going out on a limb here,-----Since I obviously use the programs all the time and have little difficulty I have hesitated to join the discussion.

As a beginner: 

The fitting garment might seem more difficult to get into the program than I had expected. Taking the measurements is easy. Typing them in is easy. A prompt to save is appreciated. I find the custom prompts and kind of learn to use them. I learn to make notes. Again I learn to save!

Where I might get caught is translating the alterations for fit, into measurement changes or efaults. Tech help may be necessary!

 And how am I supposed use settings at this stage? Or not? Why are there shaping tools in the default screen, when there is nothing to visualize what’s happening? Or do I reshape in settings and then note the changes and go back to defaults and enter them and save again? The settings screen seems to fill itself it’s self from the defaults screen. There seems no need to change anything for style at this point. But I could be missing something.

Remember now, I am a  beginner------I read  the Quick Start docs, and it seems that alterations for fit should be entered somehow between step 6 and 7.  Measurements or defaults?  Because why would I save an unaltered garment? This may be where tech support will be necessary!.

 However once past the fitting garment I can count on that very same garment appearing in each and every style screen when I open that chart. But only if I have saved the defaults for all styles.  .  And I personally think it wise to do so. I certainly need a prompt here.

There is a lot that happens in Defaults that is very important. This is where I can input all the little manual drafting rules I learned all those years ago and set the seam allowances to zero, for all additional charts as they are added. Defaults is now my friend!

Many of us rush and don't take time to really read everything offered. We miss things that are important or judge them to be unimportant. Or perhaps we don't investigate the software as deeply as we should. Or we set a pattern for our actions that repeats over and over again, because it works.

Coopie



Edited by cfonfold 2014-05-18 3:37 PM
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StMike
Posted 2014-05-18 3:44 PM (#87853 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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I find the defaults difficult to understand and use. I think the are probably a powerful tool, but I find them confusing, so I don't use them much. I mostly have used them in working with the fitting garments.
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Grandma C
Posted 2014-05-18 4:08 PM (#87854 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You


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I am a rush ahead person. Being really that I had a program that would print out a garment that would fit to a T............. for my DGD. I was a bit disappointed that my first attempt was a little bit off and even embarrassed when I was corrected on the forum. I think it would be good if the welcome screen could say be sure and start here and list the steps 1 2 3 including sending the measurements to Karen.
I would have benefitted from a warning on the welcome screen as to the importance of a sloper and Karens initial input.
Another warning that would help, would be one that states the obvious. The sloper fabric should be the weight you would use for a garment of thee sort the sloper is for.
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familysewn
Posted 2014-05-18 4:10 PM (#87855 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You


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Lisa, I probably am missing something here, but when I am changing settings and trying to see what effect / changes they make on my garment , I don't really want to make them a default yet until have tried them out for real, know they work, and want to make it part of my defaults for other garments. I have to to agree with Mike, I get very confused on how and when to use defaults and I have taken the class. I also find it hard to compare setting/ masurements changes . A more in depth article on how to save a garment as a sloper and then using it to compare changes you make to solve fitting issues may be helpful... that is, sequencing the steps on how to do this.
Barb
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familysewn
Posted 2014-05-18 4:25 PM (#87856 - in reply to #87851)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You


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Somewhere I was reading on the forum last night that the finished garment measurements don't reflect design ease. Is that right? If that is the case if I see" finished garment measurements" I would think that this is the final measurement of the garment with every thing included. And it might benefit to put something in parenthesis to indicate this in the summary. If I am all wet here disregard my comment.
Barb
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kirsten
Posted 2014-05-18 5:10 PM (#87857 - in reply to #87824)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Thank you for this question. I would love it if I could measure in the style editor on the small screen and not have to go to the larger screen every time and then back to the settings to adjust something.
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-18 5:31 PM (#87859 - in reply to #87856)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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familysewn - 2014-05-18 3:25 PM

Somewhere I was reading on the forum last night that the finished garment measurements don't reflect design ease. Is that right? If that is the case if I see" finished garment measurements" I would think that this is the final measurement of the garment with every thing included. And it might benefit to put something in parenthesis to indicate this in the summary. If I am all wet here disregard my comment.
Barb


Hi Barb,

Not sure where you read this but it is incorrect. The finished garment measurements are the final garment measurements - the ones you will get if you measure after printing. They reflect all of the settings including any design ease built into the style.
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-18 5:33 PM (#87860 - in reply to #87853)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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StMike - 2014-05-18 2:44 PM

I find the defaults difficult to understand and use. I think the are probably a powerful tool, but I find them confusing, so I don't use them much. I mostly have used them in working with the fitting garments.


Could you elaborate on what is confusing and difficult to understand? How could we make them easier to use and understand?
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familysewn
Posted 2014-05-18 5:43 PM (#87861 - in reply to #87859)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You


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Thanks for the clarification, Lisa
Barb
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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-18 5:44 PM (#87862 - in reply to #87855)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



Administrator

Posts: 2950
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Location: Auburn, AL
Hi Barb,

familysewn - 2014-05-18 3:10 PM
Lisa, I probably am missing something here, but when I am changing settings and trying to see what effect / changes they make on my garment , I don't really want to make them a default yet until have tried them out for real, know they work, and want to make it part of my defaults for other garments. I have to to agree with Mike, I get very confused on how and when to use defaults and I have taken the class.


I would agree that you would not want to set defaults until you have tried them in a real garment. That is what we believe to be the point of the fitting garments. Once you have made your fitting garments, you should know at least some of the default settings you will always want your styled garments to draft with to start. Otherwise, I don't think there are any hard and fast rules for when or how to use the defaults. They are certainly not required but really only there as a convenient place to start.

I also find it hard to compare setting/ masurements changes . A more in depth article on how to save a garment as a sloper and then using it to compare changes you make to solve fitting issues may be helpful... that is, sequencing the steps on how to do this.
Barb


I am not sure I understand this one. What do you mean by save a garment as a sloper?

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Lisa - Tech Support
Posted 2014-05-18 5:47 PM (#87863 - in reply to #87854)
Subject: Re: Help Us Help You



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Location: Auburn, AL
Grandma C - 2014-05-18 3:08 PM

I am a rush ahead person. Being really that I had a program that would print out a garment that would fit to a T............. for my DGD. I was a bit disappointed that my first attempt was a little bit off and even embarrassed when I was corrected on the forum. I think it would be good if the welcome screen could say be sure and start here and list the steps 1 2 3 including sending the measurements to Karen. I would have benefitted from a warning on the welcome screen as to the importance of a sloper and Karens initial input. Another warning that would help, would be one that states the obvious. The sloper fabric should be the weight you would use for a garment of thee sort the sloper is for.


We actually already have these in the Quick Start - have you looked at it? Its a button on the main welcome screen and also displays first right after the program is activated.
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