CAD: PAD or TukaTech?

Edit 3/13/14: Even with all the research I did, I ended up making a very expensive mistake in purchasing a CAD system; it amounted to a $10,000 door stop. Then, nearly 3 years ago, I purchased StyleCAD and have been very, very happy with it.

Edit 9/18/18: After 7 years I remain delighted; using StyleCAD has literally changed my entire business. In the event you get stuck with a dog like I did, all is not lost. StyleCAD gave me a “refugee discount”; I had to turn in my old software to them along with the dongle but it was more than worth it. It is my understanding that other CAD companies will give you a refugee discount (they even call it that) but you have to ask.
I don’t know which CAD software program to buy. I know, I know, this is a question many of you would think you’d be asking me but I’ve been a hand pattern maker all my life and it’s well past time to make a decision. I think I have it narrowed down to PAD and Tukatech. I hesitate for two reasons. One, that I’ll personally make a bad choice. Two, whatever I buy could be interepreted as an endorsement which would affect other people’s purchasing decisions. I mean, if I make a bad buy, that’s my problem but I would really hate it if I led others down the wrong path so I’d rather shirk responsibility for that. Could that be a source of my prolonged decision-making? That’s what I’m telling myself (ha!). It is easier to avoid making a decision by telling myself it’s out of concern for you. But it is too, really.

I’ve heard bad and good about PAD. Bad from a user who used it as a student but good from someone who’s used it 20 years. I value both opinions because I have little to no CAD experience (like the student) but have commercial needs (the 20 year user). I’ve been pleased with the sales response from them too. Kristina has gone above and beyond, scheduling live demonstrations of the product and spoken with me at length by phone. There’s some cool videos on their site that demonstrate product features (select software >pattern design >demo software features).

I’ve heard negative about Tukatech but not really about the product per se. People seem to object to Ram’s (the founder) salesmanship. There’s rumors swirling about, some imply they copied it from Gerber or Optitex or whoever else. I don’t think that can be true because they would have been sued a long time ago. I think it’s more likely that Tukatech has been too successful as the upstart kid on the block. From what I can tell, Tukatech’s been successful by treating any potential customer well. Personally, I’ve found Ram and his staff delightful. In sum, I feel pretty good about both of these companies. On the other hand, is that what it boils down to, feelings? Oh that is not good.

Price wise, both packages are in my price range although PAD is the better value (about $5K, Tukatech is about $7K). At this point I think I’ll never decide. I hate making decisions like this, I’ll waffle forever with endless comparisons ostensibly “researching” but it strikes me as decision avoidance. I hate that. Why do I (we?) do that?

Although I’ve asked primarily about PAD and Tukatech, I would sincerely appreciate your input and opinions on these or any other programs you know of. In advance of that, I will say I have some bias against Lectra because they’re not known for being small company friendly although word has it that they’re moving in that direction (I haven’t heard from my contact in awhile). Unfortunately, I can’t wait for that (the next ice age? If I keep saying stuff like this, I am never going to have any friends in this business). Gerber has a similar reputation to Lectra’s but one on one, found that not to be as true as many of us think. Still, Gerber takes longer to learn and the training is very expensive. [Before I forget and speaking of training, I found a PAD CAD trainer who is very inexpensive in the Denver area. Let me know if you need a referral.] My opinions of Gerber CAD notwithstanding, I’m still in love with their cutter. There’s other programs out there too, Optitex (Mike and Amy love that) and Assyst (most expensive but supposedly the best) plus many more.

In summary, I’d primarily be interested in either pro or con the two programs (PAD or Tukatech) but am still open to suggestion. On a related matter, I really dislike this decision avoidance thing and I know I’m not the only one. What’s that about? How to get around it? Please leave your comments (and or take the poll) and thanks.

Edit 11/23/12
Vizu polls have closed down. Below is a screen capture of the poll results.

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  1. J C Sprowls says:

    I might be interested in taking a PAD training class with that trainer in Denver, just to make a decision for myself. I know I will not buy for at least 2 or 3 yrs; but there’s still value in taking a class at this early stage.

    Based on previous work experience, taking a class is typically a prudent way to make a decision re: a software product. At my day job, clients often hire us to teach/train their staff on our systems in order to collect feedback re: ease-of-use, business application, etc.

    Training allows the potential customer to walk through scenarios and interject questions unique to their specific application. The latter is what is most important. The projects you deal with will determine which details/nuances really matter. Discovering the answers will nudge your decision to one side of the fence or the other.

    What you’re doing correctly is that you’ve already narrowed the scope from ‘CAD system’ to ‘likely candidates’. For what it’s worth, my opinion is: $1K in explorative training fees is significantly less than a $10K system and the weight of owning a system you can’t live with.

  2. Laura says:

    I also learned the PAD system as a student (Drexel University) and found it to be very user-friendly; we had already taken several courses in pattern-drafting, so this background was beneficial. I’m wondering whether the other student mentioned had the opportunity to do drafting by hand prior to his/her experience with PAD. (I would guess that with out this background any program chosen would be difficult.) We had a ten week course, probably was about 3 hours a week, and I felt very comfortable with it afterwards. In fact, if I could afford it I would purchase it. Can’t offer a comparison to Tukatech, unfortunately.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Here goes my cent and a half:

    I used Gerber and Lectra in school- I found them “bulky” regarding the learning process and very generic in their results- basically you started with the a block file the school (company) gave you, manipulated a few features to arrive to another basic pattern, had to print it out, fit it again, finesse it (sometimes a lot), digitize it again, and hope it was good enough. Nobody in my two classes went “Woo-hoo, I’m addicted to these programs, how did I ever live without them?” On the contrary, we wondered what the point was, since we were doing so much extra work- but then again, we were students- add to that the prices the professors were telling us the school spent on them to impress us, and it quickly became clear, we were not dreaming of purchasing them any time soon- that’s just my limited experience with Gerber and Lectra.

    As far as PAD- they are very responsive indeed, I was looking into the PAD/ TUKA/ Optitex options a while ago and PAD was always the first to respond. They were also the first I found through search engines when I first gained interest in cad programs. I don’t know how they do now in the search engine rank.

    TUKA, I run into at every trade show and they always come up with new things and ways to make accessible to the small designer- they have a monthly rental- I don’t know how advisable going this way is, but it is an option and one can test drive it to see. They are also expanding and offering more and more options, Tukaforms- as outrageously priced as they are (it’s about time dress forms get updated this century, I never understood the typical draping forms, since they don’t reflect realistic figures or the quality of the flesh, but that’s a different story- Alva form is moving in that direction too, but not as fast in the materials they use- they also offer blocks to complement the forms- They however, never answered my inquiries).

    Optitex, we all heard good things from Mike and Amy.
    At first glance I do like Optitex’s cloth simulation better than Tuka’s. Their models look more realistic, but the walk can be improved on. I played around with Poser for character design and animation and they have a feature to apply different styles of walking including casual, runway and so on- if it would be possible to apply it to the Optitex 3D animation feature, you’d have a very realistic preview to show customers.

    I haven’t looked in depth at all the features they provide and I don’t know enough about either of their pattern making features to comment.
    My interest is in MTM and adjusting patterns for different body types, (with wishful thinking in Body Scanners which I know some, if not all three companies are compatible with. Also, grading and alternatives- how accurate they can be in grading large ranges- about 6-7 sizes, or how easy it is to create smaller sets of 3-4 sizes- that means more patterns to develop, but if would to better grading and it would not take a long time, that would be great. How well they handle knits is also an advantage, as well as their capabilities for different market segments- plus sizes, foundation garments, menswear, even home fashions etc.

    There are a lot of things to consider, and one has to know what exactly they are looking for. It would be nice to have software that does it all, but I suspect as with everything, things are more specialized than the one can do it all features. Here’s a concept, are any of their features compatible to the other companies? What if one wants to mix and match? Take the CAD from here, the MTM from the next, combine with the cloth simulator from the other one. I’m pushing it, aren’t I?
    I would also look at what features I don’t need to buy but can have access to from the company in case I have to use it once in a while- like the TUKA rental or services they provide to complement my business.
    There is also the training cost to consider and the long time support.

  4. Esther says:

    I am sure I am adding to the rumor mill, but I have reason to believe there was some connection between TukaTech and Optitex in the past. This led me to assume that Optitex was the software and TukaTech as the company. Gerber (and other CAD companies) have similarly marketed their products. I used the Accumark system which is owned by Gerber. In any event, I went on record as “endorsing” TukaTech. The truth is, I have been using Optitex for the last 6 years and I have really liked it. I only recently discovered that Tukatech and Optitex were two different companies and two separate products. So please forgive me as I now must set the record straight.

    The review of TukaTech in the CAD 101 article was written by Angela, my co-writer. She actually toured the TukaTech facilities and saw demonstrations of the product herself. Her review is still of value. I am sure that the Tukatech product is an excellent CAD product and will perform any necessary patternmaking, grading, or marking function just fine. On the other hand, Optitex is a product worthy of consideration.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Yes, Tuka Tech and Optitex were connected, but they split a few years ago (confirmed from Optitex in one of their email responses).

  6. Esther says:

    I used Gerber and Lectra in school- I found them “bulky” regarding the learning process and very generic in their results- basically you started with the a block file the school (company) gave you, manipulated a few features to arrive to another basic pattern, had to print it out, fit it again, finesse it (sometimes a lot), digitize it again, and hope it was good enough.

    I can see how there would be difficulties learning CAD this way. You will always have problems if you start with templates provided by the CAD companies. If you start with blocks that you know and perfected, then simple iterations do not require so much fussy work. I have worked with the same basic blocks for 10 years and I rarely have to fix related designs. With good basic blocks, time, and little experience you will be able to see how simple movements will affect the overall design before sewing it up. Rarely is more than one sample needed to prove a good pattern.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I know, they should have had us digitize our own blocks, but due to the time constraints and lack of digitizers for more students, they just had us start with their blocks, these are the limitations of school, but it was still a generally heavy program- and this was the final patternmaking class, when presumably you had the skills, so I know the actual pattern knowledge was not the issue for us. I don’t mean to put them down, there are reasons a lot of companies use them and CAD- from whichever company- has advantages in terms of files and data transfer, grading etc, but to us students, it seemed like a lot of going around to get to a point where we could have gotten to faster on paper, and one of the advantages you want to use CAD for is time saving, so from that perspective it didn’t make sense to us. We understood how digitizing a finished pattern and grading, even making a marker (though I’m always skeptical of computers making decisions) can be beneficial. To be clearer, we liked some features of the programs but not all. The same semester I took up Photoshop and Illustrator (both complex programs as well) and even though I wasn’t an instant expert, I saw the value (we all did) and continued to use them, a lot of us continued on our own or took extra classes- as apposed to the CAD- I don’t know of any of us registered extra CAD classes.
    I’m also one for bells and whistles, and I like the idea of an integrated system- from sketch to the pattern to being able to visualize it, grade it etc so TUKA, Optitex and Pad appeal to me, but that’s my personal preference. I’m not a pattern maker, I come from a design and illustration background, so I always look for things to make life easier in patternmaking and draping- speaking of which, do any of these programs have draping features- I can wing a shirt pattern, but an asymmetrical cowl with twists and tucks will make my head spin if I attempt it flat pattern, and I always had issues with draping due to the inaccurate dress forms, so virtual draping would be a dream come true.

  8. Georgene says:

    I haven’t tried Optitex or Tuka, but my trusted associate has and says Optitex wins, hands down.

    I have had a few lessons using the Japanese program Yuka&Alpha, and thought it was great! Very easy and intuitive, and immensely flexible. My favorite part was the ability to hang a garment on the wall, photograph it next to a grid, and download it to the system to develop a pattern directly from a garment. I think of it as a personal tool. As the PC is to the brain, Y&A is to patternmaking. The NYC office that I was in touch with offered monthly payment terms that seemed reasonable. Of course the printer is where the money is. I loved the plain paper printer, using pencils or different color pens (no consumables) and you could even put in a knife and it would do a perforated line. Punch out the pattern along the dotted line ~ no more cutting out the pieces.

    Unfortunately Gerber and Lectra seem to have ‘sewn up’ the market; most of the cutting services I have worked with recently never have a problem with the files from those companies. With Y&A, the Japanese CAD company, you need a ‘translator’ to be able to use those files some places.

    It reminds me of the VHS/Betamax wars. Who will win as the ultimate best provider? I think that Adobe, with Creative Suite including PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign has just about won the graphic design for fashion design wars.

    I took classes in NYC for Photoshop and Illustrator for Fashion Design a couple of years ago. Looked at wholistically, studied specifically for this industry, rather than learning the 2 of them as separate programs helped me put it all in place. Some of it has stuck with me, and I can do enough to get along – I couldn’t live without the page layout capabilities of InDesign in my work.

  9. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    I think that it would be cool if both companies did demo’s for you and showed you how to do some simple stuff so you could make a better decision on which one to get.

    In school, we learned a lot of stuff with Illustrator and Photoshop, and now the latest version of Dreamweaver (web page maker for those who don’t know) is owned by Adobe. We also had to take 2 semesters of computer pattern making, using the Gerber program, and 1 of Lectra textile design. I did not at all like the Gerber program. It wasn’t intuitive or user friendly. It took forever to learn how to do simple stuff. We made our own blocks in it and then did a knock off pattern of one of our own garments. I liked the feature of the Lectra program that you can make the repeat of the textile design, but even that wasn’t that easy to learn and the file type isn’t compatible with even a picture viewing program at home.

    So, anything that’s easier to use and learn than those two would be fabulous.

  10. Amitai says:

    I’m a regular reader of this blog.
    I’m also a member of the OptiTex team. for this reason I will not vote for who is better. However:
    Regarding Tuka and OptiTex. Ram was a dealer of OptiTex in India (OEM with OptiTex). Then his company cracked our plug and started selling it as its own.

    (Just compare Tuka to Optitex 8.9 – same! – since then OptiTex 10 is about to be released….)

    So, how come there where no law suites? well, one thing I can say about it is “stay tuned…” ;)
    (btw, in fact there are some other law suites against Tuka as we speak)


  11. Angela says:

    I am born and rasied on Gerber but would never buy this software for myself. I plan to invest in Optitex. For a DE I think it is the best choice. It is a modular system so you can start with just patterning and then add on grading and marker making etc. All the way to 3-D modeling. I feel that this is the best way to let your patterning grow organically. It is less expensive to start out with all of the components but I would start out with just patterning and grading.
    So , Optitex is a Microsoft based system that runs on Vista operating system. As you probably know it takes a lot of capacity for a computer to run these software systems and it is getting more and more difficult to find a new computer without Vista. Vista may have bugs but is where the computer world is going. Any software I buy therefore must run compatibly on Vista. Especially $5500.00+ software.
    Because it is Microsoft based I believe their claim that you can learn it in 2-3 days. I have been doing Gerber every day for a year and am still learning it! Plus, I have had an incredibly difficult time converting to DXF on Gerber. FYI, if a factory doesn’t have a Gerber system you have to convert your pattern to a readable format for them. DXF is the format factories have always asked me.
    So, as far as the cost of the system, in my first season I saved $6500.00+ by doing my own patterning, revisions and grading. This more than pays for the software. I would say it is the most assured business investment you can make and if you need to generate extra income, you can create patterns for others.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Amitai, any thoughts on having a monthly rental of different modules of Optitex for the start-up DEs? Just a suggestion. I’m sure you’ll have clients and some will purchase because they got to try it.

  13. Amitai says:

    Hi Elizabeth,
    There supposed to be something like this (at least in my office in India there is a rental option).

    Having such a thing for DE makes sense – not just OptiTex, any other CAD system (I don’t wish to convert this wonderful blog into my own PR :P).
    However, I’d also say that if your field of expertise is designing, then concentrate in that and have a Service Bureau do your job.

    Why am I saying that and not saying to immediately go buy/ rent a system for every new designer? Well, because I’m a designer myself, and I know that there are a lot of things to deal with in the design process, and not all great designers are also great pattern makers…

    Me and my girlfriend just opened a studio in our house (New-Delhi), bought machines and we have a machine operator. I tried some sewing Service Bureaus, but sometimes it is best to do it in house.

    In other words – you need to decide what is best for you :D


  14. Kathleen says:

    okey dokey…it would appear *somebody* has discovered this post within the last 9 hours, because a number of sock puppets have been posting jubilant product reviews of Tuka!

    Note to shills: If you’re posting your review at the behest of another party who’s encouraged you to do so, don’t be so dumb that you post muliple comments using different names and email addresses from the same IP address. Also, it’s quite amazing that these IP addresses have never been logged on this site, much less have previously commented and this of course, is *the* post that inspires you to share with the community. c’mon. we’re just not that dumb.

    Also, stop hitting my poll. In the full week this post has been up, TT’s gotten one vote. In the last 9 hours, the votes for tukatech have swelled by 1500%. If you’re trying to make the company look good, you’re having the opposite effect.

  15. Pam Buckingham says:

    Not sure why anyone would post multiple times. But I would be more than happy to speak with you about my personal experience with Tuka. Just shoot me an email with your phone number and I’ll be more than willing to give you my honest input on my experience with Tuka.

    Best of luck with your choice, Pam Buckingham

  16. Emilio says:

    Ram, I was shocked to see how many people dislike you!
    I have known you for over 30 years and you never showed me a side of you that would make me not like you. We worked together in Toronto 30 years ago, you have done enough work for my business when you were consulting, when you were with Gerber and when you started Tukatech. I never ran across any of my competitors who had anything bad to say about you.
    Have you been hiding your Mr. Jekyll side from me for some 30 odd years?…….
    …..I find it hard to believe that you could hide this from me, you are really a pussycat with a lot of experience in Apparel and more people should know this side of you.

  17. Jo says:

    Hi Kathleen
    Before you make a decision would you like to please check out Grafis? It is a German CAD package designed for small business and priced accordingly. A free education version can be downloaded from the Grafis website
    I have been using Grafis software since 2003, when I stumbled across it on an internet search. Taught myself as there was no agent in Australia at the time (must disclose that I recently took on the agency for Australia), it is designed for small business and has all the features of the major systems. It is half the price of Tukatech and PAD for a license. Very stable, they are on to developing version 10, comes with all blocks / slopers/ templates, features I love are its new interactive (drag and drop) tools, its hereditary ability (mother daughter interchangeable points, lines & parts) and it was built by senior pattern makers for pattern makers with German precision. It has laymarking functions, can be used on PC with printer or plotter. Also has Russian, Chinese, German & English language versions. Grafis is taught in approx 120 education institutions in Germany and I have just returned from a trip to the Niederrhein University in Monchengladbach Germany where I saw it taught to fashion students in first year prior to them learning Lectra and German in subsequent years. I am currently exporting Grafis files into both Lectra and Gerber systems for clients. Please do check it out before you make a decision. The Grafis team don’t advertise. It’s word of mouth and they wait for people to find them. Cheers

  18. Kathleen says:

    Jo, I downloaded the program last night. Long story but I couldn’t get rid of it fast enough. Among many things, if a program doesn’t register itself with the system, enabling the software removal or if the program doesn’t have an uninstall module of it’s own, I have grave concerns what else may be wrong. I wrote support. I was told deleting the folder from c drive was all I needed to do. This is incorrect.

    That 10 seconds of annoying beeps before you get the pattern screen in the training version, that’s what killed it for me. Like nails on a chalkboard. I am ready for a total, complete and utter autie melt down. Each download expires at the end of the month anyway. It’s overkill to do both. Also, translation could stand a lot of improvement. It’s a lot of work to learn a complex program. Trying to translate the intent of the documentation just makes it harder. I’m not sure I have the time and considering the balance of everything else (the beeps KILL me!), don’t know it’d be worth the torture to proceed. Like I said with other programs, I don’t want to invest learning something I’m not going to use. If the process to learn it is too annoying, I’ll never get to the point of even evaluating it.

    Summary: I assume most companies get the big stuff right so it doesn’t matter who you go with for the big stuff. The devil is in the details so if they don’t get small things right or small things are irritating, worrisome or troubling, that’s what’s going to bother you and impede your effectiveness. Like I said, the beeps kill me. I’m so enraged by the time they end, I don’t care what’s on the screen so I sure can’t learn. I’m not going to pull up another screen and go through it again, over and over.

    FWIW, other people also highly recommended this program.

  19. Esther says:

    I checked out the Grafis website. For what it’s worth, screen shots are VERY important. I don’t like trying software without seeing the layout of the workspace and tool bars before installation. That one little detail has prevented me from investigating very many potentially good CAD programs, Grafis included.

  20. Jo says:

    Hi Kathleen ..It’s disappointing that you didn’t get to evaluate the merits of the pattern making and style development tools in Grafis. I apologise as it would appear I have misjudged the audience. The suggestion of the free trial was not to annoy the hell out of you but rather to give you the opportunity free of charge to evaluate some of the outstanding features of the programing. Built on measurement tables Grafis follows fundamental principals of block and pattern development. Then the styling tools make development extremely quick. Unlike other CAD programs which use digitizing / alteration of grade points to determine outline.

    The use of measurement tables is fundamental to developing patterns that fit the body. Choosing a program that by passes this is akin to building a house without the foundations in place. I notice there is a discussion happening in another area of this site about the block / sloper methodologies. There has also been a lot of discussion about sizing and size surveys. The size / fit issues won’t be solved until CAD patterns are derived from body (not garment or flat pattern) measurement tables.

    Good luck with the other 2 programs. I have been pattern making for 18 years and have just convinced another 3 of my colleagues who have 37 years experience between them to go with Grafis. It took me just 20 mins yesterday to develop a bodice block for 2 Alvanon forms. I will let you know how the fit went as the forms are in Hong Kong and I haven’t worked with them before. Yes Grafis is a complex system but this barrier is easily surpassed and the time / efficency gains substantial in the end.

  21. Ram Sareen says:

    Hi Kathleen, I got an e mail from a user and a friend and got on your site. i have been out of USA with limited access to Internet and will not be back in LA for another 3 weeks but Blackberry does a great job for e mails.
    First of all THANK YOU, i wish other blog sites were as vigilent as you are to control non-sense messages posted by competitors. Lawsuits (BTW there are no lawsuits, legal action or even a legal notice against TUKATECH and that is a FACT. although I would like to file some for slander)and many other very amusing rumors have been flying since we started the company like ‘Ram is in Jail’, ‘Ram’s wife has left him and moved to India for good’,Ram’s Rolls Royce and house was taken away by US Government and Ram is not allowed to leave USA’.I have been getting interesting e mails from our customers who are given the so called INFORMATION and CAUTIONS about Ram Sareen, Iva Sareen and TUKATECH.
    For the record, i will be happy to clarify any information needed by anyone after they have read or listened to unhappy competitors.
    Even in your post an employee of a competitor writes with confidence……(btw, “in fact” there are some other law suites against Tuka as we speak)


    ‘THE FACT’ that is mentioned needs to be qualified, how stupid is this when smart buyers do the checking and find the facts missing, competitors just lose their credibility.
    You are welcome to publish my e mail address for anyone who needs to know THE FACTS.
    Ram Sareen.

  22. Kathleen says:

    Jo, I don’t know why you’re apologizing, or was that just rhetorical? I’m glad you posted on the program. Just because I can’t handle certain stimuli in my environment does not mean the program isn’t any good; others don’t have this problem and I know they will find your suggestions useful. Also as I previously said, others I respect recommended this program very highly. My situation is such that these are not minor issues; there’s a reason why autism is a disability. Unfortunately, it precludes me from evaluating this program to it’s fullest. I don’t know why the program requires redundancies (the beeps AND auto-expiring trial version) but I regret I can’t review the program.

    I had another question for you. I don’t recall because I don’t have the package installed on this computer but isn’t that other system you’re affiliated with, Iccon Technology, isn’t that packaged in with Grafis? Is the FTAA (which you’re affiliated with) affiliated with Grafis? I recall you disclosed you were so pleased with the program that you decided to sell it yourself but is Iccon part of the Grafis system? I’ve reviewed Iccon Technology and while I totally, totally agree, isn’t it intuitive or obvious -assuming one drafts from zero- that a pattern made from a poorly made “sloper” will inherit the deficits of the parent? I’m trying to figure out what Iccon is doing differently. It seems to be based on drafting from zero but I don’t draft like this. I -personally- don’t take measurements, add comensurate wearing ease, add styling details etc even tho this is how we’re all trained to do it from books. I think it’s effective if that’s what you’re comfortable with or do a whole lot of garment variety but I’m not a bad or shoddy pattern maker because I don’t :). Personally, I don’t even like how measurements are taken, I prefer a system like this. I even have reservations when it comes to scans, there’s the impression this is the most accurate but there is still a disconnect in how measures are applied in drafts (somebody remind me to write a post about this). Iow, I rely more on established styled blocks altering those to fit peculiarities of a given consumer segement rather than drafting from zero but that doesn’t mean I’m drafting patterns with a poor foundation just because I’m not using those measuring tables in the way they’re intended. Every program, including the one in my head :), is different and depending on how each are implemented, I think one can get good results.

    There was another thing that caused me concern, this graphic of a nest on the Grafis site and I don’t know where this comes from, if it’s a grading portion of Grafis or if it’s built into Grafis but this nest doesn’t look 100% to me. I *love* how the side seam curve flattens out in the larger sizes but the front doesn’t get any wider, the neck depth and width doesn’t change and the darting remains static. Is this programmed in or is this a custom nest?

  23. Natasha says:

    I found PAD annoying when I first used it but then more intuitive as I went along. Not as hard to learn as Gerber but not as powerful. I do like the fact that you can rent Tukatech and they offer good deals for students. Pad does too (something like a 50% discount) but thats for purchasing outright which I dont’t think the man will go for.

  24. Rocio says:


    Having used most CAD systems (Grafis, Gerber, Lectra, Pad System and Tukatech) at some point over the last 18 years, I went for Pad System when the time came to choose an affordable program that worked with macs.
    I’ve always found the level of support from Pad System outstanding an the versatility of the software (can use with Illustrator, Photoshop, and 3rd party peripherals) means we are not limited to buying expensive upgrades.
    Last but not least…. It is very user friendly and I’ve seen people who know Adobe Illustrator learn it in a matter of hours

  25. RoxAnn says:

    Regarding a CAD system: I too, was indecisive on which CAD system to purchase. I ended up buying Optitex. From this experience, the most important issue in deciding is the training and the best training you could get is to check the schools in your area to see if there are any that have a CAD class and what system they teach. To be able to take a whole semsester of CAD training would be ideal if you’re going to invest in a CAD system. The schools in my area don’t have Optitiex yet and my CAD system is sitting there waiting…

  26. Lindi says:


    I have been reading the comments and have yet to see much on the PAD Systems. THEN I READ NATASHA’S! She is right on. I have years of experience in the bridal industry specializing in custom fit gowns. I am very comfortable working with my hands and draping. Then I took a position at an apparel company never having used a CAD pattern program. They specialize in knit apparel and some wovens. I LEARNED THE BASICS OF PAD SYSTEMS IN 2 DAYS. I spent 2 hours with Kristina on the phone and that was it.

    Natasha is right on. If you love Illustrator you can learn this so fast.

    I also love that you can illustrate your desired design and set pieces from the cut! I love it! It is very easy to work from scratch and not a block if thats what you like.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to email me!

    Sorry….that was Rocio’s post I was agreeing with.

    I apologize!

  27. Michael says:

    Hi, im micheal and im currently based in Nairobi Kenya. I woul dlike to do the Denver training for PAD training Class in Denver. Kindly send me the contacts details.

  28. Sanam says:

    I was wondering the same thing. I am managing a leather garment industry and Lectra is HORRIBLE!!! I have had it only for 2 months but next time if someone even gave it free I would refuse! Too many problems.
    I have heard that for leather Tukatech and Optitex are the best but I do not know which one to buy and where to buy the Optitex from (which I have heard is better!)
    I have not heard of PAD before; what is it and how can I buy it in India do you think?

  29. Dear Kathleen,

    Thank you so much for your book it IS VERY INFORMATIVE and very handy when i was looking for the job -production patternmaking position in NYC!
    Also, Thank you so much for these interesting postings last year about patternmaking software research. I would love to know the result of it-do you have your preferences yet ?
    I am looking for program to learn/buy/rent and i have the same questions-what is better,easier to use …Tuka seems not expensive as Gerber or Lectra, but I hear less about it on the market….

    Thank you ,

  30. Andrea says:


    We are a small w. Sportswear Company and are in a need of patternmaking software. We had our patterns done by Tukatech company before, but are considering to purchase Gerber now, and move all of our Tukatech patterns into Gerber. Can somebody advise me if this is possible please, and does it work? Also, what were the disadvantages of Gerber you have encountered? We were under the impression that Gerber is the most commonly used software in the industry. Thank you very much for your help!!!

  31. Narvey Goldman says:

    All these software products are good pattern-design, grading and marker making tools. The key is to best define your company’s true needs and to purchase what is really needed.
    Your existing patterns and markers are made on Tuka’s Software. Why would you want to spend resources converting them into another program.
    If you are buying software, digitizer and plotter and don’t need to share your data with your cutting rooms or contractors than buy what you decide works best for you and from a company that is active in your geographical market. But if you need to share files with your trading partners be aware that these files do not always import and export well to other software.

  32. rajesh says:

    Dear All,

    I do agree that deciding the CAD software is tricky.

    As i read more comments above most of you all from manufacturing perspective.

    Just fgive small introduction, i have been selling Gerber for 4 years ,then switched seling LECTRA.Now we are doing Richpeace in INDIA.

    To be honest with all you people, end of the day all CAD gives same results.Everyone have some good feature and some bad feature.You really cannot blame them.

    It finally boils down to how much it will damage your pocket !!!!!
    How much it costs in supports,in plotting or in hardware expenses.

    My frank openion ,there is no harm if you look at RICHPEACE and software is good,windows platform and easy to operate.Can open Gerber(tmp),Lectra(iba) files directly and hardware are more comfortable and less recurring expense.


  33. Dear All,

    Though i might be less experienced in the above list of people but i will like youall to know some features if any software provieds in terms of compactability ,support, updates , userfriendlyness, unique features for Digitizing and the most important is the PRICE which can be fitted by any small , midium or a big exporters, so freinds i know a software company it’s GEMINI CAD/CAM SYSTEMS ,

    I am selling GEMINI CAD SYSTEMS since last 1 year and had quite a experience with some other chinese company along with Lectra and Gerber but Gemini cad is a totally revolutionary product with it’s strong features which one would dreamt of ,

    Gemini offers some unique features for Pattern making , automatic grading’s, made to measure, complete automatic cut planning and an unbeatabel tool for fully automatic marker making .

    Gemini also offer’s inbuilt file filter’s which allows you toimport native file’s from Lectra ( *VET,*IBA format) , Gerber (*TMP format) , Investronica ( *EXP format) and Assyst ( *ZIP format ) it not only allows you to open your pattern files but also you can import your marker files from Lectra, Gerber , Assyst and Investronica,

    Recently we are very proud to introduce our latest revolutionery Photo Digitizing module which not only allows you to save your time to capture your patterns with a click of a button but also it benifit’s any existing CAD user’s who are useing different CAD Systems because we allows you to save your files in the native format for Lectra, Gerber , investronica and Assyst and also in the standard DXF/AAMA Formats.

    So fokes hangon coz a new technology is on your way and many more to give as not only in terms of quality of product but also a technology which is at a very honest level for all .


  34. Cristina says:

    Hi Vishal,

    I downloaded Gemini Cad, the demo version, and I tried the Interpolation functions from both Shape and Piece menus from Pattern Editor – and the one from the Shape worked really amazing, but for the other one I still have to try it.
    I would be interested to check the other functions that were desactivated because of the demo
    constrains – is there any website where people who bought Pattern Editor discuss about how they manage with this new software? And how much would be the price for Pattern Editor?
    This softwear brings a lot of features and it’s like a great future call.

    Thank you,

  35. Hello Christina,

    I am really honoured to see your intrest in our product and i am really thankful to you that you downloaded it and tested it ,

    Currently we dont have any website where the features are discussed but in future we will have one ,

    For the tools which you have not understood so pls if you can join the services are yahoo or skype where we can talk online and i can introduce you to some features , My yahoo messanger id is :, Skype : vishal2k9, Pls join this service so that we can help you .


  36. Cristina says:

    About PAD System

    half an year ago I went to their website and they had demo movies
    for each module: design, marker, made to measure, and others

    today, when I tried to watch that movies
    they put the same design movies for all the modules –
    so if you want to see the demo for the marker
    you get the movie about design.


  37. I’ve used optitex and find it much more advanced than other systems. 3 or 4 yaers ago you could go with PAD or Tuka, but none of them has had the on-going devlopment like optitex like 3D, draping etc. etc.

    Look no further optitex is the best in the market and no I dpn’t work for them lol

  38. Kiran says:

    Hi.. All seen all the comments on this blog very interesting.. has a GERBER user i found the latest version of GERBER Accumark is the most excellent software, compared to any other software’s, If any one as not seen the latest pls. contact your nearest Gerber Agent or Distributor to know more on the latest software of Accumark and Accunest. I really liked the newest version of Accunest (Autonesting software) with the shade zone (CSV) markers which is the best. Gerber now as seamless conversion of files which allows you to import non GERBER file’s from Lectra ( *MDL,*VET,*IBA format) , AAMA/ASTM (*DXF, *RUL format) , Investronica ( *EXP format) and Assyst ( *ZIP format ) also can read the Embrodiery design from Adobe and Corel Vector DXF files and send Gerber file to Adobe and Corel, it not only allows you to open your pattern files but also you can import your marker files from Lectra, Assyst and Investronica,

  39. Kathleen says:

    Kiran, these days it’s pretty hard to buy a bad CAD program if you stick to the majors so the differences boil down to cost, training and service. The problem with Gerber (and Lectra) is that they’re not interested in single seat sales and that’s what most of us are interested in. They sell to the large operations. So, it’s hard to get them to take you seriously if you only want one license. So for us, it’s easier to go with someone who is scaled to our business. That said, I adore Charles Armstrong (Gerber rep for this territory).

    With respect to features, I can’t speak to all the leading CAD programs other than the one I have but Optitex does this too. The only thing worth mentioning -and this affects Gerber too- is that you need to buy a separate add on. These features don’t come at the entry level base price of the package.

  40. Today is December 5, 2013. It is 3 years since the last post and so much has happened to CAD Apparel.
    I represent PAD System as a user, not a seller. The facts about PAD are strong for Pattern makers, yes, because the code was directed by an authentic Pattern maker. However, it’s the code that is even more special in that it takes much less kilobytes to define a pattern based on PAD’s use of the Bezier point to define a curve. This is a significant fact when you know patterns fly all over the universe to be Cut and Sewn by countess amount of countries ouside of USA. This makes such a huge difference that you can’t see by just looking at the Pattern pieces on a computer screen. The PAD Patterns fly like feathers through the Internet and don’t need to be zipped where as most all other Pattern CAD uses many points to define a Pattern and it adds up in kilobyte. PAD Software is heavily used in the Asian Contrator market because of this, not it’s price. When it comes to actual ease of use and simplicity, the performance of it is noticibly crisp and moves from pattern creation to grading to marking like a high speed train.

  41. Mansurbek says:

    Dear, All

    I read all comments, yes in last time we have many CAD and PAD systems also. But I use and sale GeminiCADSystems in Central Asia, and I can say GeminiCADSystems is one of the best CAD Systems in the world. Why? Because my 45 customers already use another CAD kind of Assyst or Gerber but they are buy our CAD up. Why? 1. Price is Real (low) 2. All INCLUSIVE 3. Our Nest better AcuNest, I can say that because I make some test and our GeminiNestExpert x9 make better for 39 cm! And every customers say every time for me big Thanks and Respects!!!
    That is customers chose!

  42. PG says:

    I would buy a CAD software that offers

    3d draping
    3d fitting
    3d pattern to 2d and vice versa
    ultra smart marker maker
    And supports very affordable 3d scan tech( you know what I mean: styku baby!!!)

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