Making a Career in Pattern Making

at 5:39 pm

Dwijendra Kumar

Each garment manufacturing house has on its payroll at least one or two professionals proficient in making patterns crucial to provide fit to the dress. Now that custom tailoring is emerging favourite among fashion conscious people who would like to dress up clothes especially made for them, role of pattern cutters or pattern makers is gaining increasing importance.

Accuracy is crucial in pattern making. Once a designer is satisfied with the size of the patterns, it is used to cut fabric into parts and then sewn to give proper fit and style to the garment. Sample dress is then shown to buyers and customers. Once a proper and positive feedback is received, the sample dress is manufactured on the large scale. No wonder then, pattern makers have a crucial role to play as part of the designing team and they are valuable asset to a garment manufacturing house

So the patterns not only give shape, fit and style to a garment, but form the basis for mass production of the same. So it reduces duplication of efforts in making same dress again. Using the same pattern, garments of the same size and style are manufactured in huge quantity. No wonder then, it is kind of a model design used for repeated use by the garment manufacturers.

The process of creating patterns requires rigorous training and practice. Only a skilled pattern maker would be able to create garments as per measurements taken or specifications received. So, patterns are the most important link between a Designer’s imagination and the product, the final outcome of the same.

While traditionally wood, plastics and metals were used to create patterns, now professionals are using sugar pine wood to make the same and different softwares on computers.

Though pattern makers need to be in touch with designers and merchandisers to create a brand new garment or a customised one, they can work on freelance basis too and either create and sell patterns to manufacturers or make one as per specification received from them.

To be successful in the field, training is important but so are love for fabrics, creativity and passion for fashion. It is also important that one has background in sewing.

Courses in Pattern Making: No formal training or education in fashion designing would be complete without introducing the aspirants to the technicalities involved in pattern making. A thorough grounding in this art is requisite for turning a designer’s dream creation into reality. Many of the renowned fashion designers of today shot into limelight after the patterns created by them made sensational debut in the fashion world.

Such courses contain training in the following:

  1. Step by step guidance and training in making, drafting, cutting a fabric which then is sewn into garments.
  2. Terminologies, techniques and principles of pattern making and drafting.
  3. Manual Pattern Making.
  4. CAD Pattern Making
  5. CLO 2D & 3D Designing
  6. Developing critical eye to fit garments, observe flaws in fits and make corrections.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Pattern Maker: A Pattern Maker may be asked to carryout one or more of the following tasks:

  1. Making of Measurement Sheet
  2. Pattern Making
  3. Manual Grading Work
  4. Sample Development
  5. Cross Checking of Graded patterns with measurements sent to Buyers
  6. Cutting of fabrics
  7. Sewing of cut fabrics

Skills needed:

  1. Good knowledge of Computer, CAD and OPTITEX software, Illustrator and Photoshop.
  2. Understanding of various types of fabrics, garments and machinery in use.
  3. Good communication and interpersonal skills
  4. Ability to understand fits.
  5. Knowledge of Garment Construction
  6. Knowledge of Grading, Marking, Cutting and Sewing.
  7. Good aesthetic sense
  8. Knowledge of pattern development and sizing.

Remuneration: While in more advanced countries where slight deviation from fit sought by consumers lead to rejection of complete stock incurring huge loss to the garment manufacturers and exporters, pattern makers are paid handsomely. In India too, they are paid reasonably well when handle multiple responsibilities as enumerated above.

Pic Courtesy: Moondrop, Nov. 1994.