WMU News

CAD for Apparel Summer Workshop taking shape

April 25, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Plans are underway for the 12th Annual CAD for Apparel Summer Workshop July 10-14 at Western Michigan University.

The workshop, sponsored by the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, is an educational outreach effort geared to educators, theatrical costumers, entrepreneurs and small apparel manufacturers. The first computer-aided apparel design workshop was offered in 1990. Since then, more than 130 participants have traveled from as far away as British Columbia, Ontario, Manitoba, Taiwan and more than 20 states to attend.

The workshops have become a hit with high school teachers as well as instructors in higher education, with many coming from long distances to attend.

"The CAD for Apparel Workshops have been invaluable for our apparel programs," says Marie Maschmeyer, a faculty member at Sacramento City College and a graduate of both novice and intermediate CAD workshops. "Few universities sponsor summer apparel workshops that meet the needs of undergraduate apparel and theater programs as well as high school life management programs. We appreciate how the course was tailored to the teaching needs in each area."

This year's workshop again will be offered in the Trimpe building. Computer programs are user friendly and participants do not need former computer knowledge to attend. An in-depth booklet explains how the system works.

The cost for the five-day workshop is $550. Space is limited to 15-17 people, and the registration deadline is June 15.

Computer-aided design for textile apparel and related industries dates back to the 1970s when companies began using computers to shorten the lead time from design concept to finished product in order to compete with less expensive imports threatening the U.S. sewn products industry. As the trend began to pick up momentum, textile and apparel faculty across the country recognized the need to provide computer experiences for students.

This need generated research collaboration between WMU faculty members Dr. Nancy Steinhaus and Darryl Janowicz and students in family and consumer sciences, engineering and computer science. A computer program to draft simple patterns from personal measurements was developed and introduced into flat pattern design classes to show students the cost savings, time savings and accuracy that a computer offered over manual pattern making.

In the late 1980s, Steinhaus began investigating the use of AutoCAD computer programs to increase students' ability to develop computerized patterns. She teamed up with Isabelle Lott of Pattern Works International to write a how-to book on computer-aided pattern making. They introduced students to a new pattern-making software system introduced by Lott. WMU students, now equipped with a text and innovative software, began computerized pattern making in earnest.

As other colleges and universities began using AutoCAD to simulate prohibitively expensive industrial computer systems, the need for training textile-apparel professionals to teach these skills became apparent. That led to the first CAD for Apparel Summer Workshop in July 1990.

Workshop designers have continued to seek out the latest developments in computer-aided pattern making. In July 2000, for example, Lott introduced a new stand-alone software with all the power of previous AutoCAD systems at a greatly reduced cost.

Information about the workshop, contact information and a downloadable registration form is available online at <www.wmich.edu/fcs/tex/wkshp1.htm>. For more information, call Steinhouse, associate professor of family and consumer sciences, at (616) 387-3728.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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