Fashion design software can take your aspiration to become a fashion designer from a dream to reality. Even if you are a beginner, you can quickly learn how to prepare and present your work like the pros. The greatest benefit for beginners is that you don’t have to know how to sew or illustrate. The software programs take care of that for you. Software prices can range from $129 to $1,100 or more.

Getting Acquainted with Using Fashion Design Software

Most software programs provide tutorials so you can develop your skills and capabilities in every area from design to production. Beginner basics teach you how to work with garment templates, apply textures, change colors and make patterns.

By using fashion design software, you learn techniques to create designs with greater accuracy, how to make adjustments and how to convert designs to 3D.

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Pattern Making

Using software to learn pattern making is a very practical and cost-effective approach. You get to learn about construction, draping and how to produce a garment that will fit properly -- before spending money on fabric and making costly errors. You discover what works, what doesn’t, and why. Pattern making is an essential skill to learn in order to take your designs past the illustration stage and prepare them for a seamstress to bring to life.

Converting Designs into Photos

As you get acquainted with using software, you will also learn how to convert your designs into photos. This skill is important to master before you advance to the exciting stage of learning how to transform your ideas from flat designs to 3D.

3D Fashion Design Software

When you are ready to start learning 3D techniques, you will be amazed at how professional and realistic your designs will begin to look.

Generally speaking, 3D capabilities allow you to select a model from the software image library (somewhat like an avatar), define its size and other body features, and then transfer your design to adapt and drape it on the model. The results can be incredibly true to life.

Some programs also allow you to animate your creations and create a virtual runway presentation of your designs, with models showing off your work on the catwalk.

Popular Fashion Design Software Programs

Fashion Toolbox, a top-selling program, has features to create realistic photos, textures and patterns, and CAD layout tools, for $395 to $1,000.

Digital Fashion Pro has training tutorials, hundreds of customizable templates, conversion of designs to JPEG, print sketches, upgrades and more for $129 to $299.

OptiTex Fashion Software has comprehensive pattern design, 3D runway capabilities and converters to transfer files into other CAD formats for about $1,100.

C-Design includes templates for ready-to-wear designs for women, men, children, lingerie and more for about $399.

Software for Kids

Popular programs for little fashionistas include Jojo’s Fashion Show, Miss Popularity and the Project Fashion game.


Investing in fashion design software can be costly. Carefully consider whether you are buying software to pursue fashion design as a career, to start a business or just for fun.

About the Author

Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.