I've seen a few related answers, but nothing that addresses my particular issue.
I'm trying to have a well organized project, so the mesh characters and their rigging are kept in one .blend file, and the cloth items for clothing are kept in another. The idea is that I may use the character for lots of different clothing designs. So, when editing a garment, I use the 'link' feature to bring the mesh character into the 3D view, so that the garment can drape on it.
I set the mesh character to have 'collision' physics, and I set the mesh garment objects to have 'cloth' physics. When I run the animation, the garments fall correctly on the mesh character.
When I work on a separate garment I do the same thing - instead of using 'append' to bring the mesh character into the 3D world, I use 'link', to guard against inadvertently changing the mesh character or saving it with a garment project.
Recently I edited the .blend file containing the character mesh, and added some minimal rigging to it - just enough to let me reposition the arms. The idea is to see how the garments look on the character, as they move through a few different poses. In that file I set up keyframes and created a simple animation of the character changing its arm position.
After that, I opened a garment .blend file, used 'link' to obtain the character .blend file, and ran the animation. I expected the garment to drape properly on the character mesh, and then to follow the mesh, continuing to drape according to the cloth physics, as the animation modified the position of the mesh character's arms.
Instead, the mesh character moved, but the garment only draped around the original position of the mesh character. The garment didn't change position or location to follow the mesh character over the course of the animation.
I've looked for solutions to this, but all of the videos and tutorials I've found make the assumption that the mesh character is in the same file as the cloth, so that they can be modified together. But that's exactly what I want to avoid in order to keep my project files clean and well organized.
My question is: what can I do to the cloth mesh, to cause it to follow along with the linked mesh character, as that character follows its own rigging, during the course of an animation? My goal is to have any number of garments use this technique to drape properly on that same mesh character.