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Practical DAK
Using the Garment Grading Option To Make Multiple Sizes of Your Design

Have you ever designed a sweater that was so great that you wanted to make several in different sizes? Maybe you want your kids to be dressed alike, or you created a great design for your bowling league. Or maybe you want to design for a knitting magazine!

DAK has a couple of tools to help you do this. If you are working with a basic shape with nothing particularly weird about it, you might be able to use the “Standard Garment Styling” tool to generate multiple sizes. But, if you have a unique shape that you created in the “Original Pattern Drafting” tool that would take a lot of time to resize yourself, you can use the “grading” option. This article will help you get around this grading tool.

If you only want two sizes (for instance one for mom, and one for baby), the grading option doesn't help (I'll tell you why later.) But if you need your sweater converted into three or more sizes, this option will save you some time.

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as taking your design and pushing a button and out pops your different sizes. You have to create the first two sizes yourself (so if you only need two sizes, this option won't help you since you have to create them yourself.) DAK needs two pieces to use as “reference points”. It analyzes the two pieces and determines the changes in dimensions and uses this information for creating the new sizes. After your “reference point” pieces are done, DAK will do the calculations for creating several more sizes based on these two that you created manually.

First, create a shape you like and adjust the measurements so you have a second shape (two separate files) that is similar in everything except the sizes. The piece names have to be the same, and each corresponding piece must have the same number of points.

I will use a sideways-knit sweater to demonstrate. This unique shape is a good example for using the grading option. I based this sweater on measurements of 40 inches around the chest (in this sideways version, that would be the length), and 25 inches long (the width in this example.)

Carefully making more measurements, I shaped the neckline and placket opening. I placed points at the shoulders and also at the center back. This piece is called “body”.

I did the same for a sleeve (and called the piece “sleeve”), then saved this shape file. I called it “sidewa40.shp”.

To make the second size (the other reference point for use with the grading tool), I created a new file, (File->New) and copied both already-created pieces into this file (Piece->Import, and select the newly-created file “sidewa40.shp”.Then select each piece individually, name them the same as the original—“body” and “sleeve”.) Now I had to do some calculations to get the proportions right for this size. I decided I wanted the larger version to be 48 inches around the chest and 28 inches long. There are a few ways to adjust the sizes.

Use the “Table” option to manually move the points. Use “Alter->Fit To Length” (and “Fit To Width”) to change the sizes. Use the “Scale” options to change the size by a percentage.)

Save this file and call it something like “sidewa48.shp”.

Now we are ready for the grading tool to do its thing.

File->Grade opens the tool.

In the center of the dialogue, you need to tell DAK where the smaller of your “reference point” pieces is, and its relative size.

Click on the light blue “folder” icon to the left and navigate to the directory on your hard drive where you saved your files. Select your smaller reference point file (mine was named “sidewa40.shp”.)

In the box labeled “Nominal Size”, enter a size. For my piece, I entered “40” because that was the sweater's width--an actual measurement in the piece. DAK will use this measurement along with the value you enter in the nominal size box when it calculates the new sizes.

In the drop-down box next to that, select what that nominal size represents. For this sideways sweater, the standard designations don't really make sense (because the default choices represent a standard shape, not one that has been turned on its side), so I chose “other”.

At the bottom of the dialogue, do the same for the larger of the “reference point” pieces.

The tool will churn for a minute and come back with another dialogue box.

Here is where you tell DAK what you want to name the files it creates for you. You only get 6 characters. I chose “sidewa”. (It doesn't matter what you named the original, “reference point” files, but I chose to name them in the same format as the ones that DAK will generate.)

You also have to tell DAK where to save the files. Click the drop-down box and navigate to the appropriate directory.



At the bottom of this dialogue, you need to input numbers for the sizes. I want DAK to generate this garment shape in sizes 36, 44, 52 and 56, so I entered those numbers into the boxes. These numbers will also become part of the file name (i.e. the 36-inch shape will be called “sidewa36.shp”).

As I said before, DAK uses the pieces you designated as reference points to create these new sizes. The “body” piece of my small reference point was 40 inches high, and I told DAK earlier that the nominal size for this piece was “40”. For the larger reference piece, the body piece was 48 inches with a nominal size of “48”. So, DAK will generate new shapes with body pieces that are 36”, 44”, 52” and 56” high. Pretty cool, huh?

Click on the “OK” button. A final dialogue box will open telling you which files/shapes will be created. Click “Create” for the final step, then “OK” to close the tool.

Now I have six shapes where I used to have two, with sizes ranging from 36 to 56 in 4” increments.

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