Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers

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Also known as:
Clothing Patternmaker, Embroidery Patternmaker, Fabric Pattern Grader

Video transcript

From the drawing board to the dress rack, fabric and apparel patternmakers help put clothing designs into mass production. These skilled workers outline precise pattern of each part of a garment design. Then they use the pattern to create templates that are places on layers of fabric to be cut into parts for production. Patternmakers also calculate dimensions for reduced and enlarged sizes of the garment.

This work is done in areas that are generally quiet, well-lit, and air-conditioned. Patternmakers usually work 35 to 40 hours a week. They need steady hands and good vision for cutting accurate patterns. They also need several skills, including knowledge of fabrics, proficiency in mathematics for calculating sizes, an understanding of technical drawings, and the ability to outline patterns on a computer.

Certificate programs that teach patternmaking are available. Some workers learn through on-the-job training. Those with some vocational education in apparel production have the best chance of employment. Although many textile industry jobs have been reduced by technology and foreign competition, fabric and apparel patternmakers are still needed to replace those who retire or move on to other jobs.

Draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. May also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Trace outlines of paper onto cardboard patterns, and cut patterns into parts to make templates.

Create design specifications to provide instructions on garment sewing and assembly.

Create a paper pattern from which to mass-produce a design concept.

Determine the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material, and mark fabric accordingly.

Trace outlines of specified patterns onto material, and cut fabric using scissors.

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

Compute dimensions of patterns according to sizes, considering stretching of material.

Input specifications into computers to assist with pattern design and pattern cutting.

Draw outlines of pattern parts by adapting or copying existing patterns, or by drafting new patterns.

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

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.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Engineering and Technology Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.