Story of Cochenille
By Susan Lazear, founder and owner
1986, I purchased a personal computer with the hope of designing
clothing for fun and pleasure. At the time, I was Chairman of the
Apparel Design Department at Bassist College in Portand, Oregon.
search for the computer was an interesting one. IBM compatibles
were CGA DOS, Mac's were black and white and then there was the
Amiga, which offered 4,096 colors. The latter was chosen. No software
could be found at this time for clothing or textile design for the
home hobbyist, so paint and cad programs became my tools. The learning
curve was steep, but I was determined to figure things out. Little
did I know that this personal desire would open the door to a business
that would be known world-wide.
self-training helped land a job with a computer graphics service
bureau firm in San Francisco that catered to the apparel industry.
This, in addition to my freelance knit design work at Esprit and
Levi Strauss, (both clothing manufacturers in San Francisco) led
me to find assistance in creating a link between my knitting machine
and my computer. This link, called the 'Bit Knitter', combined with
the manual I had written on how to design garments and knits on
computer were the first products of Cochenille Design Studio/ Cochenille
Computer Knit Products, Inc.,founded in March of 1988 and incorporated
the years, development moved to software and several programs were
introduced to the market. In 1989, the first Jacquard Color Separator
software was released and in 1990, a program called the "Knit
Editor' was released. The IBM DOS versions of Jacquard released
in August of 1992 and the Stitch Editor (Knit Editor renamed) released
in Spring 1993.
development began with Stitch Painter, a full running grid-based
paint program, which was released in 1991. Over the next 2 years
further versions including a Windows version were released.
1992, we at Cochenille made a conscious decision to develop our
software for a broader crafts market including stitchery, needlepoint,
and other gridded forms of craft. Stitch Painter and Stitch Editor
were the two program which served this broad need, so enhancements
in the form of Plug-in Modules to Stitch Painter began. We now have
3 different 'plug-in' modules for Stitch Painter which a 'Stitchery'
module (released in 1995), a Beading module (released in 1997),
and the Full Color Import module released in early 1998
Styler, a garment-shaping program released in late 1995/early 1996
for the Macintosh and Windows platforms. This program allows you
to design a garment visually on screen. The shapes cater to wearable
art and the program may be used for both sewing or sweater design.
Development for Garment Designer began in late 1998 and released
in early 2001. The long intricate development was worth the wait,
as the program offers users major features found in no other pattern
design program on the market. Click and Drag pattern editing, darts,
built-in pattern intelligence and other features allow even novice
patternmakers to create garments with relative ease. Read all about
Designer on this site, and feel free to email us with questions.
addition to software, Cochenille also develops clip art disks, technical
manuals and design aids. Our product line now incorporates over
75 products (5 software titles, technical manuals, clip art disks
and various design aids).
products are sold around the world. They are used by a broad group
of people ranging from the home hobbyist, to the professional designer,
to large corporations. The company currently develops on two platforms;
Windows, and Mac
mission is to develop software for Textile Artists and Crafts people
which is sophisticated, yet easy to use. The company's goal is to
blend computers and textiles/crafts in a creative and simple to
use manner. Cochenille believes in providing good service and follow-up
I oversee all development at Cochenille. I also teach as a Professor
of Fashion at Mesa College, in San Diego, California. There, I oversee
the Fashion Computer lab, and have developed all the computer design
courses at the college.
Cochenille, you will generally deal with Sonia Barton or myself.
We have an assortment of people who assist us at tradeshows including
Sarah, Freddie, plus others. Kurt Bigler is our primary programmer,
and he is a wizard. He can make software do things most others can't.