Garment Maker + Cloth + Animation


This isn’t a problem…more a plea for advice, really.

I recently gave a character a cloak that I made in Garment Maker and Cloth. And it looks pretty decent; it certainly serves the purpose for which I built it.
But I find myself unsure of how to proceed with the animation, and I’m wondering about the techniques people use.

Obviously, the cloak was built to conform to the initial pose of the character: standing up straight, arms out from the body, you know how it goes.
But no shots are going to start out like that…and I have a couple of different ways I could potentially get the character into the pose at the start of a shot. (If there is a way to get a cloth object to deform prior to a shot, I’ve not found it…though it could be another case of MAX giving something a counter-intuitive name, which happens a lot.)

FIRST: Put the character in that initial pose for the shot, reposition the panels to conform as close and I can to the pose, and re-sew. For every shot.
Problems: for a complicated pose, it might not sew as well as I’d like.

SECOND: Sew all the panels before I animate, create a small animation–perhaps in negative frames before the shot–that takes the character from its initial pose into the pose for the first frame of the shot, simulate it, let the cloth object settle, set initial state, then wipe out the animation in the negative frames (or not; I suppose it’s not completely necessary unless the previous frames will have an effect of some sort on the new ones).

I’m just wondering which one people prefer, or if there is a third option I’ve not thought of.
How do people who aren’t me take a cloth object and put it in the initial pose for a shot that doesn’t start with the character in its modeling pose?