Notches in Garment Industry: Definition, Types and Importance

Notches in Pattern Making: Types and Importance

Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
Bangalore, India


In pattern making, notches are small markings or symbols placed on paper patterns to assist in aligning and joining pattern pieces accurately. At specific spots along the edge of the seam allowance, notches are placed as triangular-shaped wedges or as plain slashes. They offer a crucial reference point for aligning related seams and edges during the stitching process. Prior to detaching the cloth from the pattern, notches are transferred from the paper designs onto the fabric during the marking process. Notches function simply as follows: The triangular “wedges” on one seam edge should completely match the corresponding triangular “wedge” on the other side of the seam. Naturally, the seam needs to be oriented correctly with the cloth facing sides meeting.

Notches in Pattern Making

Types of Notches in Pattern Making:
In garment construction, notches are small markings or cuts made on fabric pieces to aid in the assembly and alignment of different sections. It is used in different types of fashion brands like Swedish brand Toteme. There are various types of notches used in garment pattern making.

types of notches in pattern making
Fig: Various types of notches in pattern making

1. Inward-Cut Triangle Notches:
The angular point of the inward triangle notches is cut with the seam allowance so that it faces the pattern’s body from the inside. This method of notching demands that a wedge be cut inside the seam allowance. Of course, this is carried out before the relevant fabric piece and the paper design are separated. Never allow the triangular clip to extend beyond the seam allowances midpoint. You can avoid mistakenly cutting through the actual seamline by taking this precaution. However, you should always mark these inner triangle notches very carefully.

2. Outward-Cut Triangle Notches:
Outward triangle notches are cut as triangular extensions that extend away from the seam allowance, as opposed to inward triangle notches, which are cut within the seam allowance. Along the seam edge, these outward notches are clearly evident. Outward-cut notches are the safest to utilize because they do call for cutting into the real seam allowance. For this reason, novice to intermediate dressmakers should use this notching style. After the seam has been stitched but before clean completing the seam allowance, outward-cut triangle notches are also removed. As a result, the seam allowance edge is left with a smooth finish, making it the perfect canvas for all seam allowance finishing methods.

3. T-Shape Slash Notches:
Slash notches are indicated on a sewing pattern by a “T” symbol that extends horizontally within the seam allowance. The “T”‘s leg is cut to notch the seam edge when the pattern is transferred to fabric. Slash notches are the quickest to apply even though they are the least noticeable. These notches are mostly employed by skilled dressmakers and apparel producers because to their simplicity and rapidity. This is due to the fact that a trained eye is not entirely necessary to identify which seams are matched during the stitching process; rather, the slash notches serve as additional points of reference and confirmation.

Where the Notches are Used in Garment Making?

1. Balance point notches:
You can utilize balance point notches to guide you in accurately aligning the pattern pieces. Using notches to align the fabric pieces will ensure that there is no extra fabric at the hem where it has stretched out because fabric has a tendency to “get longer” when it is sewed.

These balance point notches are located on:

  1. a. Armhole
  2. Centre front and back seams
  3. Collar
  4. Hem
  5. Neckline
  6. Side Seam
  7. Sleeve

2. Centre back notch:
On all back pattern pieces that cross over or end at the centre back, notches are utilized to indicate where the centre back is. Typically, CB notches are located on:

  1. Back bodices
  2. Back shorts or trousers
  3. Collars
  4. Hoods

3. Centre front notch:
Similar to the CB notch, we also use one to indicate the location of the centre front on pattern elements that extend up to or past the centre front. To reveal the middle front, pattern pieces that are cut as one will have a single notch:

  1. Front bodices
  2. Dress fronts
  3. Fronts of skirts

4. Dart Leg Notches:
There should be a notch wherever a dart is present. You can use these notches to align the beginning locations of each dart leg. Simply fold the cloth at the notches of the dart leg, pin it in place, and sew in the direction of the dart point.

5. Grainline Notch:
We can utilize grainline notches at the margins of patterns to aid in pattern placement even though we do use a grainline arrow on patterns to indicate the direction of the grain and location of the pattern on the cloth. However, it’s possible that you don’t see this as frequently because it’s less common in the home sewing sector. If that’s the case, use the grainline arrow instead!

6. Tucks and Pleats:
In order to keep any pleating and tucking evenly spaced and appealing, notches are also utilized to mark each location and fold line for pleats and tucks.

How to Use Notches in Garment?
The sewing process depends heavily on notches. Each seam should be marked so that it is simple to put the garment back together after the patterns have been taken off. Looking at the marked patterns makes it much simpler to determine which edges should be sewed together. However, as the fabric pieces are cut and the patterns are taken off, many crucial marks and lines are frequently lost visually, leaving you with fabric pieces that could seem a little perplexing, especially to someone with less experience. The front and back parts won’t be mismatched during sewing if the notches from the patterns are transferred onto the cloth and each edge is correctly aligned. ​

The seam allowance is always marked with notches that stop less than halfway along the breadth of the seam allowance. Once the garment is finished, they are concealed on the inside and are only used during manufacturing.

Notches function simply as follows: The triangular “wedges” on one seam edge should completely match the corresponding triangular “wedge” on the other side of the seam. Naturally, the seam needs to be oriented correctly with the cloth facing sides meeting. Seam edges may have one, two, or even several parallel notches. Which fabric pieces belong on the front or rear of the garment can be determined by counting the notches.

You may also like: Seam Allowance: A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing Seams

Typically, single notches are seen on the front and sides of the garment.

To identify the back seams, double notches are used.

It is possible to sew a front fabric edge to a comparable back fabric edge, but regardless of whether the pieces are for the front or back; these two seam edges should only have single notches. Side seams on clothing are always like this.

To indicate where zippers terminate (often along the centre back), triple notches are frequently utilized. Additionally, triple notches are stitched around special seam edges that need to be distinguished from the rest of the garment’s seams.

To ensure that one pattern piece will line up with the pattern next to it, little marks called pattern notches are made on the pattern. They can be used as markers along a seam to ensure that the two pieces of fabric will fit together properly when sewed, as well as to indicate the value of the seam allowance. They will appear as tiny indentations along the outer edge of the seam allowance on a cardboard pattern. To clip this tiny scratch into the edge of your cardboard pattern, purchase specialized pattern notching tools.



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