Using Garment Designer Pattern Software for Ceramic Projects

Ceramic pieces created with the use of Garment Designer pattern making software

Garment Designer pattern making software is an amazing design tool. I know I’m biased, but
there hasn’t been a time that I’ve printed a pattern, when I haven’t smiled and inwardly danced
a jig.

What I particularly like, is finding new uses for the software; beyond the typical dress or
sweater. So, when the man in my life suggested I give a try to hand-building ceramics, it didn’t
take too long for me to realize that Garment Designer would once again be my friend.
I’ve always known that there is a lot of similarity between pattern making and woodworking.
Both require a certain precision in planning, cutting, and putting the parts together. I was quick to see that in planning a ceramic piece, once again, these skills were transferable and I could use Garment Designer to build the pattern.

Building the Pattern Pieces

My plan for my ceramic piece was to create a vessel for kitchen utensils. Given my nature, and
avocation, I decided to model it after a clothing item, specifically, a kimono; I was thinking
asymmetry and a bit of texture.
So, first came the sketch, and then, some dimensions.

The Drawn Plan for the Ceramic Piece
The plan…

Then, on to the computer to create the paper pattern. I used the Generic Shapes and chose a
rectangle shape as my starting point, and then dragged a few points around to create the
pattern. I planned to use the printed pattern to test proportions, size, and the overall effect.

The pattern
the pattern

Once I confirmed that my pattern would give me the shape I wanted, I used it to cut out the clay.

Using the paper pattern as a template
Cutting the clay

Shaping the Clay

Next, came the process of shaping the clay around just the right 3-d object.

Adding some shape and dimension to the clay.

Adding Texture

Textiles and clothing generally have some texture, so I wanted to add this to the clay.

Rolling some texture onto the clay
The finished clay piece

That was fun… let’s do a second piece!

I had so much fun with this first piece, a second one followed… slightly smaller, but based again
on a garment. This new piece had a textured collar and a belt.

Piece #2, shaping it
Piece #2, with added texture and a ‘belt’

Finishing the Pieces

Of course, the last few steps involve firing and glazing. I left these steps in the hands of Don, the
ceramicist. One can only learn so much at a time, right?

Here are the finished pieces

Pattern and final for the kitchen utensil project
Additional views of the kitchen utensil project. Note the rectangular strip up the center back and the added pieces of triangles.
Pattern and vessel for the second project
Finished Kimono vessel

I hope you enjoy my adventures. I encourage those who own the software to start finding non-
traditional uses for it. Send us a photo when you do something. We love seeing what your users