PMB stands for "Pattern Master Boutique". It is the software package for womens clothing. Wild Ginger also makes software for mens, children and formal clothing.
Last September I went to the Sewing Expo at the Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. I made a bee-line for the Wild Ginger booth because I wanted to move away from manual pattern adjustments to computerized pattern drafting.
My taste runs towards the classic, so I figured well-fitting simple garments made with good quality fabrics would serve me well. The system has many options for bodices, collars, sleeves, skirts, etc. After you've bought PMB, you get access to a discussion forum for members and Wild Ginger provides prompt customer service.
The first thing I sewed was a basic sloper to test the accuracy of my measurements. The basic sloper is not supposed to have much wearing ease. I was pretty happy with the sloper. I look at it now with a little more knowledge and I see a few things I'd change, but hey- it was pretty good!
The next things I sewed were Halloween costumes for my daughter and my stepdaughter. I didn't bother with test muslins and both costumes were big hits with the girls.
I was merrily experimenting and enjoying Wild Ginger PMB. I read the Wild Ginger forums often. Many of the posters are adept with the software and make very nice garments. I was quite the newbie and did not post much- I was learning the lingo and getting familiar with the functionality of the software.
After posting a comment about PMB on my favorite sewing forum , I was contacted directly by customer service from Wild Ginger. She asked for pictures of my muslin, assuming I'd need help. Um, OK. It was weird! I felt a little cyber-stalked, you know? But what the heck, I sent the pictures. Honestly, I did not understand how the different measurements affected the fit. But the customer support person did! Just by looking at the picures I sent, she could tell that I should increase ot decrease certain measurements. She was fast and her suggestions improved the fit. After seeing the corrected muslin (above) she told me to go ahead and sew some garments (and I agreed- I was tired of sewing muslins!)
Using a Zegna cotton from Michael's I sewed an unlined jacket (the "classic jacket"). Unlike the sloper, this jacket pattern includes wearing ease. The user may override the amount of wearing ease. For example you might prefer a looser fit and it is easy to enter that amount and re-draft the pattern. You can also adjust design details such as overall length, size of lapels, etc. I purposely sewed it without changing anything so that I would have a benchmark for subsequent adjustments of wearing ease and design details.
My husband, bless his heart, drenched me in compliments on this jacket. But I looked at it and felt it was not, um, flattering.
I sent these photos to Customer Service and her response was quick & her suggestions sound.
Take a look at the next jacket! This one was much better!!
She explained that I should keep 2 sets of measurements- one was just for jackets. It gave me a better sihouette at the shoulder.
So, my overall experience with Wild Ginger is that it works. I didn't mind sewing multiple muslins to get a garment I liked. And I am certainly comfortable getting help on a sewing forum and posting unflattering pictures of myself. And the speed of the customer service is impressive.
You can make anything you want using PMB. All of the basic garments are set up for you in the basic software. If there is something special you want to draft, you can do it if you know how to use the Pattern Editor feature.
The downside of PMB was the learning curve. I like pattern making, but I am a hobbyist who wants to sew clothes! (preferably NOW) and I was getting sidetracked with learning all the PMB-specific terms and concepts, and, of course all the test garments. That's a lotta printing, taping, cutting, sewing, photographing .... lather, rinse and repeat!
To some, it might be more efficient than using paper and pencil, but for me- it took up just as much time.
The truth is- I lack knowledge and skills in the fundamentals of pattern making. I gained even more respect for pattern makers; people like Kathleen Fasanella.
Having said that, I believe it is not rocket science- it is just something I haven't learned. I like it. If I ever get the time, I will sign up for classes! Wouldn't that be FUN? I take my vitamins, eat right and exercise because I want to be a peppy old lady who goes back to college when she retires.
How soon do we get to retire, anyway????!!!