Career as a Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker


Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. May also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

Apparel Patternmakers take clothing designs from fashion designers and break them down into parts that can be laid flat and traced onto bolts of fabric. In doing so, they mark design details such as buttonholes, pleats and fasteners onto the pieces and gauge the layout arrangement that result in the least amount of unused fabric. They also create adjusted sizes of the pattern pieces to prepare for large-scale production of the garment. Computer-aided design (CAD) software is increasingly used to outline pattern parts and streamline the process of creating different sizes.

Patternmakers begin their tasks by studying blueprints, instructions and other production information that describe what patterns are needed. From these examinations, they develop measurements based on the size of the product. They then write or scribe specifications and identification marks directly on materials.

Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers often create paper patterns, which are then positioned on fabric to create original garment models. Metal and plastic specialists use milling machines and grinders to create machine castings, sometimes entering specifications by computer. Wood patternmakers use protractors, rulers, band saws and sanders to shape wooden components that they then assemble into a whole model. Specialists in wood, metal and plastic might use lacquers and paints to decorate and identify pattern parts.

The duties of Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers typically includes to create a master pattern for each size within a range of garment sizes, using charts, drafting instruments, computers, or grading devices. It also involves input specifications into computers to assist with pattern design and pattern cutting and draw details on outlined parts to indicate where parts are to be joined, as well as the positions of pleats, pockets, buttonholes, and other features, using computers or drafting instruments. They also make adjustments to patterns after fittings and ultimately compute dimensions of patterns according to sizes, considering stretching of material.

Work Environment

This job tends to not involve much interaction with the public or with many other people, communication with designers is necessary to discuss tweaks or ask questions, but for the most part the work is not people-oriented. They work for regular hours. With some jobs, production or delivery deadlines may be in place that would require you to work under pressure while still maintaining standards of accuracy.

Entry Level Education

  • A Bachelor Degree in Fashion Designing or related field.
  • Diploma /Certificate course in Pattern Making.

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