Role of Pattern Maker in Fashion and Apparel Industry

Role of Pattern Maker in Apparel Industry

R.S. Balakumar
Associate Professor
Department of Fashion, Design & Arts
Hindustan Institute of Technology and Science (HITS)


In the apparel industry concerns, pattern making section is the backbone of the apparel industry. As a matter of fact a good garment is born on pattern maker’s table.

apparel pattern maker
Figure 1: Apparel pattern maker

Pattern makers must be well versed in anthropometrical data of human body measurements. Experienced with the garment construction techniques. He/she must have a thorough knowledge of preparing the patterns based on buyers requirement measurements called as specification-sheet. This method is termed as the industrial pattern making.

There are many types of pattern making in usage, as follows:

  1. Custom-made pattern making (Bespoke system)
  2. Commercial pattern making.
  3. Sample garment based pattern making.
  4. Industrial pattern making.
  5. Flat pattern making.
  6. Sloper/Master preparation of pattern making .
  7. Flat sketch based pattern making.
  8.  Grading of pattern making.
  9. Computer-Aided pattern making.
  10. Computer-Aided Grading of pattern making.
  11. Readymade garment pattern making and
  12. Draped garment pattern making.

Salient Features of Apparel Pattern Maker:

1) Compute dimensions of patterns permitting to specification of garment sizes, considering stretching as well as the non-stretching of fabrics (woven and knitted).

2) Generate the slopers/master pattern for each size. U.S. 8, 10, 12, etc within a range of garment sizes, using measuring charts, drafting, and cutting using instruments, computers, and/or grading devices.

3) Pattern making software are available as mentioned below:

  • Gerber (GGT)
  • Tukka-tech,
  • Astor,
  • Tanya-geometric,
  • Reach-piece and

Day by day newly developed soft wares are being introduced for the rapid growth of the apparel as well as the garment Industries throughout Internally.

4) Create a paper pattern from which to cater the need of mass-production buyers design concept.

5) Regulate the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material, and mark fabric to optimum utility of the fabric consumption accordingly.

6) Discuss design specifications with designers, and convert their original models of garments into patterns of separate parts that can be laid out on a length of fabric.

7) Draw details on sketched parts to designate where parts are to be joined, as well as the positions of pleats, pockets, buttonholes, and other features, using computers or drafting instruments (well versed in signs and symbols of pattern making manually as well as the computerized).

8) Draw outlines of pattern parts by adapting or copying existing patterns, or by generating/drafting new dress patterns.

9) Examine sketches, sample dress, and design specifications to determine quantities, shapes, and sizes of pattern parts, and to determine the amount of material or fabric required to make an expected dress.

10) Mark samples and finished patterns with necessary information such as garment size, section, style, identification, and sewing instructions.

11) Location and cut out master or sample patterns, using scissors and knives, or print out copies of patterns, using computers.

12) Trace outlines of paper onto:

  • Cardboard patterns,
  • Thick paper,
  • Zinc-sheet,
  • Thin plywood,
  • Transparent plastic sheets and
  • Cut patterns into parts to make as the templates.
  • Usually, the components of Collars, Neck-band, Plackets and Pockets

And standard garment full size with all parts often repeated as continuous orders always placed by the buyers/customers.

Special Responsibilities of An Industrial Apparel Pattern Maker:

  1. Scrutinize flat sketches,
  2. Design specifications to ascertain shape,
  3. Size of pattern parts,
  4. Examine positions,
  5. Cuts and pattern, using scissors,
  6. Notch maker and knife.

Professionally well experienced pattern makers are employed by apparel companies and work closely with design teams. Subject on the employer, pattern makers may be required to execute the design from the 1st pattern/Basic pattern through production must be treated as the necessary.

Patterns are fundamentally made so that the same style can be easily duplicated when it is required and multiple pieces can be professionally made. Pattern making authorizes that never have to start from scratch while duplicating the patterns.

In recent days the education needed to be a Pattern Maker is normally a Bachelor’s Degree in Apparel Design; Pattern Makers usually study Graphic Design, pattern making software knowledge and Business or Fine Arts under graduates 40% of Pattern Makers hold a Bachelor’s Degree and 37% hold an Associate Degree in recent days.

In previous days a sample maker with sound knowledge of sewing the garment construction can be worked with the practically knowledgeable pattern maker will train the apprentice/under staff and considered to be the assistant pattern maker at least three to five years and then quit the job, shifted to a new apparel factory.

In recent days the pattern makers are also called Technical Designers / Pattern Executives. Pattern making is measured as the first step in garment production. While making a garment as per design, templates are used to trace the various garment parts of similar style onto fabric prior to cutting and assembling.

To generate a diffident pattern, a pattern maker must have to follow five essential steps:

  1. Gathering their material,
  2. Taking proper measurements,
  3. Adding styles and designs,
  4. Grading their design, then
  5. Draping it to result in the final garment.

Pattern Making Process:
The making of precise image of each part of a garment with flat hard board paper is called the pattern is the true factor. The first step in apparel production is the creation of design and construction of patterns for the components of design. Besides, pattern making process is one of the most important tasks in garment / apparel manufacturing.

Flat sketch / garment silhouette being transformed into fashionable garments by pattern making techniques and therefore it is like a bridge between the design and production. Separate patterns (Major parts and component parts) are joined together and form a garment.

These patterns are used for drawing all the parts of a garment on cloth or on marker paper before the cutting of the fabric. (Marker planning) If lining or interlining is used in the garment, then for that purpose also patterns are  to be made by the pattern maker.

For making garments patterns specialized knowledge and efficiency is required on talent, apparel technical facts, capacity of analysis of garments designs and on technology of garments making. The patterns are used in fashionable garment making industry are produced mainly in two stages which are called

  1. Block pattern and
  2. Garment pattern.

1. Block pattern:
Block pattern or basic pattern means the actual pattern which is fitted to a certain standard body structure but without any specific construction for attractive enhancement, design or style. Based on the average measurements of

  • Young,
  • Adults,
  • Tall
  • Short etc.

Group of men’s and women’s, block patterns are made.

Different block patterns are also made for the kids based on their age. Block patterns are made in two ways as described below:

Block pattern/sloper
Figure 2: Block pattern/sloper

Flat method: The pattern of various parts of a garment, especially the body (Front and Back, sleeves, skirt front and back) Usually called as “Five Slopers” are made through technical drawing. In case of technical drawing, the rules and their application procedure of the human body measurements and their proportionate rates are dependent on pattern maker.

2. Garment pattern:
This type of patterns may also be made through computer in the present age of computer domination. In case of basic pattern making process through computer, pattern making programs are saved in computer discs. Flat method has been evolved mainly from modeling system and in this system; patterns can be made so easy with time consumed quickly.

Modeling: For garments pattern making process, modeling is the first and actual system and in garments industry it is still widely used system. In this system, a block fitted with the standard body of a model is made, which is called the Toile in British and Muslin as U.S.

This toile is used in the body of the model and it is made sustaining modification and balance with the body of the model. Then the toile/muslin is removed from the body of the model.

Then each of the parts of the toile is drawn separately on moderately harder paper or board paper. Patterns made in this system become very accurate but it takes much time.

Block patterns are made in flat method or modeling system and garments patterns or working patterns are made based on basic block. Each block pattern is kept on board paper and its copy is made with the help of pencil/marker pen.

Then with the copy of this block pattern the following things are to be specified are as follows:

  1. Sewing allowance,
  2. Trimming allowance,
  3. Center front line,
  4. Center back line,
  5. Button hole,
  6. Button attaching position,
  7. Dart,
  8. Pleat,
  9. Shirring, and
  10. Gathering.

How Much the Garments will be Loose, Tight (Amount of Ease)?

  • Different or specific design of a particular part (if any) etc. are added.
  • For facilitating the proper attaching of the patterns, “U” or “V” shaped notches are cut along the seam lines (notchmakers are available in stores dealing with tailoring material traders).
  • For each part of a garment, separate working pattern or garment pattern is made.
  • In order to show the direction of grain line or the warp yarn of fabrics, each pattern must be marked with arrow line.
  • After finishing the drawing of the pattern, the working pattern or garments pattern will be separated from the board paper by cutting with sharp scissors or knife.
  • Each pattern will be marked for size and part’s name.
  • Sample garment is made with working pattern only.

In garment making of fashion industry is following the above mentioned procedures and as well as the theatrical costumers are also followed the method.

Pattern makers are highly payable in overseas and as well as in Asian countries in these days are transparent. More apparel manufacturing industries are situated in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China, Korea, Indonesia and Jakartha and pattern makers are always required either manual or computer operated pattern makers/Graders/mini marker makers.

Even now fashion educational institutions are teaching pattern making and garment construction as the core subjects and giving expertise mode of practical way of teaching.

You may also like:

  1. Steps of Garment Pattern Making
  2. Garment Pattern Making Techniques
  3. What is Pattern Engineering | Components of Pattern Engineering
  4. Grading and Pattern Making: Job Interview Questions
  5. Perspectives of Anthropometry in Garment Pattern Making
  6. Garment Pattern Grading Techniques
  7. How to Develop Garment Pattern

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