Marvelous Designer's 3 Piece Suit

This tutorial covers a complete three-piece men's suit. This was a YouTube viewer request from Asfandyar Noor. 

He was asking for a private tutorial on this suit creation and I told him I would do it for free, if I could share it with everyone. He thought that would be fine, so you can thank him for this tutorial. The video is below followed by the video script with detailed instructions and the video timestamps for each topic.


Download the 3 Piece Suit Marvelous Designer project file.

This was my first attempt at a garment with extensive layering. Things definitely got more interesting as each layer was added.

Pants in QCAD (01:08)

I started the modeling with the pants. In retrospect I probably should have started with the shirt, because it is the closest thing to the body.

This was essentially the same draft as the pants done in my previous pants tutorial.

Pants in Marvelous Designer (01:34)

You'll see that we have a pressed crease down the center front and back of each leg. That's created using internal lines. I didn't have to set a fold strength or angle, just having the line causes a nice crease.

The front pockets are different than those in the pants tutorial. These pockets are side seam pockets and they're invisible. However if we look to the side you can see that there is a pocket lining in there and they do gape open for realism.

The back pockets on these dress slacks are welted pockets. I created these using a very small narrow piece of fabric and then applied piping to either side. If you want to do this yourself, make the piece of fabric much taller than this. Apply the piping and then shrink the fabric. It's too difficult to apply piping to a super small strip.

If you want more information on making pants similar to these, I would suggest that you watch my pants tutorial.

Shirt in QCAD (02:35)

I used the Fearless Makers QCAD add-on to draft the male top and sleeve. Then I copied the sleeve off and put it here next to the top.

I rotated the back pattern piece to line up with the front. Then I drew in new lines to create a shirt yoke. This eliminates the shoulder seam.

I added an extension to the shirt front for overlap and buttons. Shirt extensions are typically 3/4” or 2 cm. I also created reference lines, so that I could place the buttons evenly. Then I added a collar draft for the shirt.

You'll see that I've shortened the sleeve of the basic block. Then I drew out a rectangle to use as a cuff on the shirt. This shirt is buried behind the jacket, so I didn't worry about details on the cuff closure.

Shirt in Marvelous Designer (03:42)

I used the freeze function here in the 3-D window a lot during this project. I started with the pants and frozen. Then I created the shirt and draped it. I wanted to make sure that it looked okay and didn't need any drafting changes.

I unfroze the pants and then selected Reset 3D Arrangement All putting the pants to the outside of the shirt and then we re-simulated. This worked very well and I was able to hide the avatar and go inside the shirt during simulation to pull it down and make it smooth next to the pants and the avatar.
I put the collar on with the right side facing out before it was folded down. That's why the back of the color is showing. Use the double sided surface option to stop the darkening of the wrong side.

I did make one very big mistake on this shirt. Have you spotted it yet? Men's shirts overlap left over right. I had the patterns arranged that way before the simulation, but at some point they crossed to right over left.

I didn't see this until I was finishing up the vest. At that point, I was not going to go back and make the change. With the tie, vest and jacket, you can't see the shirt front anyway.

After you have the shirt, make sure to pin the pants to the avatar's body. Just like in the Pants tutorial, I had problems with his pants falling off the entire time. I didn't get smart about it until I was simulating the jacket. Be smarter than me and pin them up much sooner.

The Tie (05:34)

The tie was next. I didn't draft anything in QCAD for this. I did try to make a 'real' tie and tie the knot. That was an interesting experiment that failed miserably. This tie is a total fake out. The tie is just a long rectangle. I've elasticized the top line to get it to gather.

The knot, is just another simple shape. I created two internal lines on the sides to fold it under and then sewed the ends together. The top of the tie is sewn to the top of the knot shape in the back only. It looks okay, but it's nothing special.

Vest in QCAD (06:20)

One thing we haven't discussed much is ease. Ease is the additional length or width that you add to the basic block. As you recall, the basic blocks are extremely form fitting.

There are two types of ease, wearing ease and design ease. Wearing ease is a minimal amount, often only an inch or a few centimeters, so that the clothing is not too tight. This allows for body movement when doing day-to-day tasks.

The second type of ease is design ease. Design ease is whatever you want it to be. If you want a baggy, oversized look, add lots of design ease to your patterns.

When I began to work on the vest, I knew that I needed to add some wearing ease. Vests are over garments, so they have to be made larger. To accommodate this, I created a new measurement set for the male avatar and added 4 cm to the Chest and Hips measurements.

I did do a vest draft based on the top basic block using those new measurements. It wasn't a good draft. I drafted it too short, first of all. There were lots of problems, so I refined the draft while working in MD.

Vest in Marvelous Designer (08:00)

I'm still glad that I brought this basic shape over to MD to start though. It did save a lot of time, because I had a solid starting point.

The vest has five buttons up the front and two pockets. The pockets are welt pockets using the same piping technique I did on the pants.

I had the shirt, tie and pants frozen on the initial simulation. When I had the vest the way I wanted it, I unfroze everything and let it simulate briefly. I had no issues with penetration.

It was at this point that I thought I'd give the animation a try. You can see that it didn't exactly work out. The vest is coming and going through the shirt. This outfit is far too complex for MD animation.

Jacket in QCAD (09:35)

The first jacket that I made was based on another new measurement file. I increased the chest and hip measurements yet again, thinking that I needed to be outside the vest. You can see that it was way too big. I threw this one away and redrafted it using the vest measurement file.

Here's the top draft that was used for the jacket. My initial modifications are shown in red. I shorted the darts in the front and the back. I also made them much more narrow, they are only 1 cm wide at the widest point. The front dart had to end before hitting the pocket. This was done to mirror the inspiration image provided.

I added a waist pocket rectangle and a chest pocket rectangle. They are left on the pattern so that the internal lines on the front can be drawn using them as a guide. I reduced the intake at the side seams by half.

The lapel collar was next and we're going to go through that in detail.

Drafting the Lapel in QCAD (10:27)

Up to this point, you haven't had to do any real drafting. I've shown you how to make modifications to existing patterns, but you haven't had to follow a set of drafting instructions. The jacket lapel is a great starting point.

Jacket lapels have tons of different options. They are wide, narrow, notched or not notched. They can roll like this one or be completely separate pieces. You may be thinking that you don't need to learn this. You'll just start off with my jacket and make adjustments.

I'll tell you right now, that will not work. You will spend hours, if not days, trying to modify my jacket. If you learn how to do it properly, you can draft the lapel in minutes. If you want your collar to lay properly, like mine does, you'll have to draft.

I have done everything I can to make this easy for you to understand. I'm going to go through the process here in the video. I have a QCAD dxf here with all the steps that you can get on the website. Even if you use some other CAD program, you should be able to open this dxf for reference.

I've written out every single entity added, the tool selection and the parameters on the website post. I am not going to read out the tools for every entity we add in this video. The process uses the same methods over and over. I will show you how to do each method the first time it is used, but I won't repeat it every time.

Just sit back and watch the video for an overview. Don't try to memorize anything or take notes. Then go to the website to follow the instructions. You'll have this figured out in no time.

Here are the components of the collar from the back. The hidden portion that determines how high the collar comes off the bodice is the Collar Stand. The transition from the Collar Stand to the Collar Fall is the Roll Line. This will be defined by an internal line in MD.

The Collar Fall is the visible portion of the collar that falls to the outside. The Collar Edge is the outer edge of the collar.

From the front we can see the Collar Notch and the Collar Width. You don't have to have a notch in your collar, that's completely optional. The Lapel Width is basically the same thing as the Collar Fall in the back. It's the portion of the collar that you can see.

These terms are important because you have to determine the measurement for each one before you begin. This is how you make wide or narrow lapels. You can change the look of your collar drastically by changing these measurements.

We are going to use the following measurements for this draft:

  • Collar Stand – 3.9 cm
  • Collar Fall – 3.6 cm
  • Lapel Width – 6.13 cm
  • Notch Length – 3.5 cm
  • Shift - 1.3 cm

The last measurement that we need that isn't illustrated is the Collar Shift. This is typically 1/2” or 1.3 cm. The shift is at the roll line and is essentially the area between the collar stand to collar fall.

Drafting instructions always label each point with a letter or number. Then you can refer back to the drawing at that point for future entity placement.

Step 1 (A,B,C)

We start out with our jacket front pattern. We need to designate where the top button will be on the front. I have added a point 26.3 cm from the bottom and labeled it B. (Point Tools > Single Point > Distance – Snap Distance 26.3). After you create a point using distance always, and I mean always, double check that you put it in the right place. Select Information Tools > Distance point to point. Click from the start to the new point and make sure it's in the correct place. I really can't stress this enough.

We need an extension on the center front. This is where the jacket overlaps and buttons. I've added a line 2cm long starting at point B for the extension, the end is point C. (Line Tools > Horizontal Line – Length 2, Reference Point End).

Create a nice curve from point C to the bottom of the front pattern. Round the bottom edge using a spline. (Spline Tools > Spline (Fit Points)).

Step 2 (D,E,F)

Point D is the shoulder neck point. Measure out from D the Collar Stand amount. This is point E. (Line Tools > Relative Angle – Relative Angle 0, Length 3.9, Reference Point Start, Select the shoulder line, place at D).

Connect point E to point C (Line Tools > Line from 2 points). This is the roll line. We will place an internal line here in MD.

Extend the C-E line at the top the measurement of the back neck. This is point F. You'll need to select the back pattern neck and look in the Property Editor for the length, which is 12 in our draft. (Modification Tools > Lengthen/Shorten – Amount 12, mouse over end of line at E).

For this collar, we are drafting the back collar and the front collar all in one. What we've just done is extend the collar far enough to wrap around to the neck center back.

Step 3 (G,H)

Point G is the intersection of the front neckline and the C-E line. Create a horizontal line starting from point G the length of the Lapel Width. (Line Tools > Horizontal Line > Length 6.13, Reference Point End). The end of this line is point H.

Now we need to connect points H and C with a very slightly curved spline. You may find it easier to connect H to C with a regular line from 2 points as a guide. Here you can see straight line and I've made it a dashed line. Then use the spline tool to create the curve. (Spline Tools > Spline (Fit to points). This curve is very subtle.

Step 4 (J)

At the top of the roll line, create a line at 90 degrees from the roll line the distance of the shift measurement plus the Collar Stand measurement. The end of this line is point J. (Line Tools > Relative Angle – Relative Angle 90, Length 5.2, Reference Point Start, Select the roll line F-E and place this at point F).

Now connect point J to point D. This is just for reference, so I've made this dashed. (Line Tools > Line from 2 points).

Step 5 (N)

We need the D-J line to be exactly the length of our back neck. To adjust it, we are going to use a circle. This seems a little weird, but it works very well. Select Circle Tools > Center Radius – Radius 12, Angle 0, Reference Point Middle and put it at point D.

Where this circle intersects the J-D line is point N. Draw a new line from point N to point D. This is exactly the length we need to sew it to the back. You can check it in the Property Editor and see it's the required 12 cm.

Step 6 (O,P)

Now we need a line 90 degrees to N-D that is the Collar Stand. (Line Tools > Relative Angle – Relative Angle 90, Length 3.9, Reference Point End, Select line N-D and place this at point N). This is point P.

From point P we need a line the same angle as N-P, that is the distance of the Collar Fall. (Line Tools > Relative Angle – Relative Angle 0, Length 3.6, Reference Point End, Select line N-P and place this at point P). This is point O.

Step 7 (R,Q)

Next we'll make our notch in the collar. We've determine our notch length is 3.5 cm. So we need to make a mark 3.5 cm from point H. (Point Tools > Single Point > Distance – Snap Distance 3.5, mouse over G-H line). This new point is Q.

Our notch will be a 45 degree angle. We need a line that is 45 degrees from G-H at point Q the same notch length. (Line Tools > Relative Angle – Relative Angle -45, Length 3.5, Reference Point End, Select the line G-H and place this at point Q). The result is a notch at a 45 degree angle. The end is point R.

The notch length and angle are purely a design choice. You can make your notches as deep as you like and you can change up the angle.

Step 8 (Finish)

Connect point R to point O (Line Tools > Line from 2 points). Draw a nice gentle spline connecting point P to point E to point G (Spline Tools > Spline (fit points). That's it, we're done.

You may have noticed that we skipped some letters in the draft. This draft is based on one in my drafting books. Using CAD tools allows us to skip some steps that are necessary using paper and pencil.

Here's the final draft to be taken over to MD. I separated the back collar to make it more clear for you, but you don't need to do this. You can leave it on the front and take it over to MD that way. Just remember that this back collar is a separate piece.

This probably seemed a bit complicated, but it's your first draft. You used almost all the tools you will ever use when drafting. I'm sure you noticed that we kept doing the same thing over and over. If you do this a couple times, it will become very easy for you. As we progress, we'll be making more original designs and they will require drafting.

Even if you aren't drafting in a CAD program, you're going to have to do this in MD. It will take you ten times longer in MD, but it can be done.

When I was finished here, I just copied the final and put it on the page with the back. I drafted the male basic block sleeve and brought it over here, too. It's just a straight sleeve using the lines on the Note layer with a straight line at the cuff.

Jacket in Marvelous Designer (25:40)

I used the same freezing method to get the jacket simulated. You'll see the collar folds over with the inside out. You'll need to use double sided rendering for this. Right click in the 3D window > Double Sided Surface. It might be fun to use a different color and/or texture on the lapel. To do that you select the Fabric applied to the pattern piece and open the Material section. By default, the Back and Side uses the same colors and textures as the front. Uncheck the Use same material as front box and set it differently.

Sewing it together was quite easy. The top collar is sewn together at the ends. The flat seams closest to the ends is sewn to the backs. The next two segments are sewn to the front and the notch is left unsewn.

I sewed the pockets down at the top and sides. I wanted these to be very tight to the jacket, just like the inspiration image.

You'll see the jacket protrudes a bit at the neck and that is correct. Remember his arms are up. When he lowers them, it will lay flat.

Here's my final render. You can tell that I was pleased with this outfit. I don't usually bother with textures and I actually put some shoes on him. The shirt is a lilac color with a preset of cottom. The tie and tie knot are a darker lilac set to satin. I also put some specular color on it so it would be shiny.

The vest is set to gabardine wool with a texture applied. The jacket and slacks are set to garbardine wool with a fuzzy texture to give them more life. The inside pockets are set to cotton with color only and no texture.

I lowered the particle distance to 10 for the last simulation. Any simulations you do at the end need to be short. You don't want to give MD time to cause problems.

I learned a few things with this project and I hope I've passed on those lessons to you. Take the time to do the lapel draft and learn the techniques. If you want to make original designs of high quality, you'll have to learn them. I anticipate lots of advanced garments in the future and I'll be drafting them all.

I hope you like the suit and it inspires you to create more advance projects in MD.


marvelous designer md project files