Lauren Dahl is the founder of Pattern Workshop , an online school that trains aspiring sewing pattern designers to create their own marketable designs in Adobe Illustrator. She also has her own line of sewing patterns, Baste + Gather (>. She recently used Dynamic Measure, a tool within VectorScribe, to dramatically reduce the time-to-market of her latest pattern, the Birkin Flares (a modern, flared jeans sewing pattern).

“Before I discovered Dynamic Measure, I was using the direct selection tool to isolate sections of paths and rudimentarily measure them in the Doc Info–>Objects window. Doing so took many steps and wasted a lot of time. I dreaded “walking the lines” of my sewing patterns before release. (That’s industry speak for making sure all the lines match up when the garment is constructed.) Now, I can quickly and easily measure straight and curved segments and so much more.

First, the Dynamic Measure window lets me select which options I want to see when working, and it also lets me quickly delete all the measurements I’ve taken. I typically am most concerned with Distance Along Path as I can quickly get the measure of curved segments this way.


Next, I use Dynamic Measure to quickly determine whether my hem and seam allowances are the same across a group of pattern pieces. Here, you can see that I have a minor difference in the hem allowance between the smallest and largest sizes. This is within my margin of error, so I am satisfied with these results. If I wanted to make adjustments, I could dynamically measure to the desired point from the starting point, and then use the direct selection tool to move the anchor point as needed.



Here is an example of the best feature of Dynamic Measure for the work that I do: the ability to measure a curved path between anchor points with very few steps. In this example, I was ensuring the knee point of this pattern piece was accurate with standard body measurements for the corresponding size.


Another feature of Dynamic Measure (that I didn’t even know existed until I started playing with the tool!) is the ability to hover over an object to see if I have an open or closed path. In grading patterns between sizes, open paths can mean disaster that looks something like this:


But by simply hovering over the original objects with the tool, I can quickly see that both my drafted sizes are open paths:


Zooming in on the anchor points and fixing those mistakes ensures that my sizes are evenly and accurately graded with an end result that looks more like this:


Finally, I love using the Dynamic Measure tool to quickly ascertain the finished garment measurements that a pattern will produce when sewn. In the screenshot below, I am measuring the lower leg opening for a pair of skinny jeans. I will list those measurements in my pattern’s sewing instructions so the customer can customize the width if desired.


There are myriad other uses of the Dynamic Measure tool that I haven’t even begun to describe here. One that comes to mind is measuring distances between notches that my customers use to match up pattern pieces when sewing my designs. Before discovering this tool, it took me hours to perfect my notches. Now, I’m done in minutes.

I highly recommend this tool to anyone in the fashion design/sewing pattern design/drafting fields, and I don’t think I could live without it! Here’s a snap of the final result of the jeans pattern featured in most of the screenshots above:

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I didn't know Illustrator could do that!

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