Piece naming in CAD

I neglected to mention, I’m training this week. Or rather, I’m being trained this week. The training started yesterday and will run through next Tuesday so my responses to any who write me will be delayed.

I’m learning a pattern CAD program called StyleCad. It has some nice features, particularly I like the grading module because it works closest to the way one would do it manually -if you’re an old school pattern maker like yours truly. Actually, many of the functions are complimentary to someone who has a long history of manual drafting experience. Here’s one video sample of how to draft a front lining but there are many more.

Anyway, in the course of the training, I thought to mention that piece naming for manual patterns and CAD are different. Pattern names for manual patterns can be more lengthy without much consequence. However, in CAD, printing out lengthy piece names on markers may annoy any number of people it usually does not pay to annoy (supervisors, graders, marker makers etc) because it takes so much longer. Usually, piece names are abbreviated. Depending on the workplace, there may be prescribed abbreviations (official standard) or there are usual practices you learn from working there. Most abbreviations are obvious. Here are a few examples:

Sleeve: Slv
Front: FRT
Back: BCK
Bodice (top): TP
Front top (bodice): FTP
Back Bodice (or back top) BTP
Facing: FC
Front Facing: FFC
Back Facing: BFC

You’ll notice that some letter duplicates are deleted when combined. For example, Front alone is FRT but if combined with Top, it becomes FTP rather than FRTTP.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if the pattern is for a top, it’s not necessary to say “front top” (bodice) because you can use FRT alone and everyone will know what you mean.

If you have hired someone to clean up or grade a pattern you’ve made, you don’t need to worry about changing the piece names for whoever is doing the CAD side of it. They will shorten the piece name and may not even think to mention it.

One additional reason to know this is for tech packages, sewing instructions and piece rate tickets (if you make those). Piece names and sewing instructions have to be abbreviated because the number of characters for each field describing the sewing operation is very tiny on piece rate tickets -sometimes the instruction becomes downright cryptic. Here’s one example: Pc slvs set brd. Clear as mud, eh? That means “piece sleeves” (they are suit sleeves) “and set the bird” (a bird is a kind of facing). The other day I was looking at an old set of piece rate tickets from one place I used to work and I’m still trying to figure out what “REB” meant…

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