During its latest webinar, Shima Seiki delved into more detail about the 3D garment design development processes that its new software Apex Fiz offers.

Shima’s SDS-ONE APEX series system supports planning, design, production and sales promotion, spanning the whole supply chain. Apex Fiz is the company’s latest development within this software offering, allowing remote access with subscription plans.

Part of this supply chain support comes through the realisation of 3D knitted garments based on accurate pattern measurements and yarn data, allowing visualisations of garment designs pre-production. Creativity can be explored through ‘sampling’ multiple design options digitally before investing in physical production, and efficiency can be achieved through less material waste from rejected prototypes.

SDS-ONE Apex and Apex Fiz stand out from other 3D fabric simulation software systems because they accurately produce loop simulations stitch by stitch for 3D knitted products based on actual numbers of stitches. Other software maps a fabric on a 3D avatar and renders the image, meaning the attention to detail regarding stitches is lost. It is this loop structure accuracy that enables Apex software to digitally simulate sheer fabrics and simulate drape and weight with sensitivity to fabric transparency.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

With virtual samples gradually becoming the industry standard, Shima Seiki shared some tips on how to utilise its software specifically for 3D garment design in its latest webinar, introducing the new online training programme, Shimanavi.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

How to create a 3D virtual knitted garment

After creating a base item by inputting garment measurements or selecting a template from the Apex library, designers can see their flat pattern pieces. As measurements are edited, pattern shapes change in real time. This is a useful tool for designers who may have less experience in pattern development, as the visualisation of the calculations is immediately revealed on the screen.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

Block patterns can be loaded and saved into the Apex system too – helpful for repeat and carry over seasonal styles. Once the flat pattern pieces are generated, 3D sewing lines must then be automatically generated onto each pattern piece, referring to exactly where the garment would be seamed in production.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

It is at this point that an appropriate avatar can be selected. Apex has a library of varied avatars, but Shima has also collaborated with global fashion innovation company Alvanon to facilitate importation of Alvanon avatars into Apex.

It is with impressive speed that the flat pattern pieces are then transformed into a 3D garment surrounding the avatar. It isn’t just knitted garments that can be visualised, avatars for other products can be simulated too, including pets.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

Once the garment is draped on the avatar, characteristics such as gauge can be selected and edited, revealing the impact on fit and fabric sheerness based on gauge settings. This can aid decision-making processes. Stitch density can be selected with accuracy based on physical samples the designer may have already, or numerical wale and course values can be inputted.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

When viewing the garment on the avatar from every 3D angle, measurements can be further altered with results amended in real time. This essentially creates a virtual ‘fit session’ where garment drape and fit in relation to the measurements of the avatar can be accurately fitted. Of course, this cannot replace a real fit with a garment prototype on a human model. What this offers though is the opportunity to refine and gain confidence in the measurements of a prototype before sending through to a factory for production. Any blatant errors can be identified, and for designers with less pattern cutting experience, or for designers developing complex garment shapes, this is a very useful tool.

The Apex stitch library can then be utilised in the same way as if simulating a flat fabric, with placement of stitches shown in real scale on the garment. Stitches and colours can be applied to each pattern piece individually, allowing specific and engineered placement of stitch structures, stripes and design details.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

If developing striped garments, stripe data can be saved and re used across styles. Stripe depths can be inputted numerically or adapted in a more ‘playful’ way by dragging the lines on the fabrics. 3D view makes analysing seams for stripe alignment easy, so accuracy can be achieved without having to use ‘best guesses’. Access to the Pantone library through the software means any fabrics involving colour-work can be accurately developed from initial design phases and realised with colour accuracy in production.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

Once these elements are developed, accurate yarn data can be added to enhance the loop simulations with real scanned yarn from industry spinners. Shima’s yarnbank can be utilised here. All elements of the Apex toolkit are designed to aid development of a knitted product from start to finish in this way.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

Technical specification creation

All of the information developed within Apex Fiz can be automatically generated into sheet lay outs summarising colour names, yarn information, garment measurements and knit data. Colour options can be auto generated, with colour chips assigned too. This saves time and facilitates smoother communication between designers and manufacturers. These documents can be sent directly to the supplier, and if the supplier has Apex software themselves, the data can be directly digitally transferred.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

SHIMANAVI

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

But how can designers learn the true capabilities of the software, and master the potential? This is where Shima Seiki’s new SHIMANAVI E learning system comes in. SHIMANAVI offers series of online lectures for beginners to join and build their skills within.

© Shima Seiki.
© Shima Seiki.

Content can be taken at the pace of the student by choosing the ‘self-study plan’ that allows a period of 4 months to browse the videos. Alternatively, the ‘Certification’ plan can be selected, which is supplemented by assignments set by Shima Seiki that are carefully engineered to test and utilise skills as they are learned. At the end of this plan, certification is awarded.

To apply to the course, contact the Shima sales staff to decide which course to take. *Course prices differ dependent on country and region.

With the demand for virtual sampling gaining momentum across the industry and working from home becoming the ‘new normal’, Apex Fiz software combined with SHIMANAVI could provide high quality solutions for design teams. It seems now that setting up a remote working system utilising 3D virtual fabric sampling has never been easier!

SHIMA online – Shima Seiki Online Services

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Beth Ranson is a knitwear designer, textile researcher and lecturer in Textiles. As a skilled knitter, she designs and produces fabrics for a variety of design contexts. Motivated by problem solving in sustainable design contexts, Beth occupies the space between knitted textile design and sustainability theory: an interesting space to be. With a strong focus on the preservation of creativity in design, Beth believes that sustainability need not be perceived as a limitation in design. Inspired by her on going research into what ‘sustainable practice’ can mean, Beth takes note of academic theories within the realms of aspirational goals and applies this to the actual making process, working from ‘the bottom up’. She intervenes in current systems for textile product life cycles and seeks to inspire and facilitate educated and responsible change.