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Prof Dresses Up Apparel Software
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Clothing designers and manufacturers can benefit from a Mississippi State University professor's efforts to improve computer software programs.
Dr. Phyllis Bell Miller, assistant professor of human sciences, pioneered the art of apparel design on personal computers in the 1980s. Today, she's on the brink of major advancements that will make the programs even more diverse.
"ApparelCAD software and the textbook `AutoCAD for the Apparel Industry' have helped anyone who wants to design or manufacture clothing," Miller said. "It is similar to $50,000 industry- specific programs for about one-tenth the price."
Miller's programs have been used by teaching institutions, manufacturers and the U.S. Navy among others. She has worked with the developers of AutoCAD, a computer program originally used in architecture and engineering, and has modified the program for the apparel industry.
The success of the software has inspired Miller to advance the program. Recent additions include adding the Instant Designer International software with contemporary, cultural and historic garment components.
"There is a huge international market needing this type of software. My goal is to have at least 30 countries or regions included in the program," Miller said.
Some of the countries already included are the United States, Korea, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Vietnam, Dutch Guiana and China. Miller has included ancient societies such as Rome and Egypt along with historical periods including the 1890s, the 1920s and others.
"All of today's fashions are influenced by other cultures and historic periods," Miller said. "This program simplifies the hours of historic and ethnic research. Designers can easily combine a feature from one country with another feature from another time and produce an incredible new look."
Miller is adding new links to provide color and textures to the designs as well as cost sheets.
"We want to expand the personal computer to its limits for small businesses and education," she said.
MSU is an official test lab for ApparelCAD and Instant Designer software. Students also work with Display Shop, which is a 3-D software for store design and layout.
"With this program, students and designers can be creative and quicker in their design efforts than by using the traditional methods," Miller said. "Home sewers can use this software to modify existing commercial patterns. The patterns are loaded in the computer rather than filling up a closet."
Miller's efforts keep her traveling as she researches in museums and other countries and conducts workshops across the United States. In workshops conducted primarily through universities, participants include designers, manufacturers, students and faculty members.