Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers

Recruiter.com helps professionals in fabric or apparel patternmaker careers find better opportunities across all specialties and locations.

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


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
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Trace outlines of paper onto cardboard patterns, and cut patterns into parts to make templates.
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.
Create a master pattern for each size within a range of garment sizes, using charts, drafting instruments, computers, and/or grading devices.
Create a paper pattern from which to mass-produce a design concept.
Position and cut out master or sample patterns, using scissors and knives, or print out copies of patterns, using computers.
Determine the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material, and mark fabric accordingly.
Examine sketches, sample articles, and design specifications to determine quantities, shapes, and sizes of pattern parts, and to determine the amount of material or fabric required to make a product.
Draw outlines of pattern parts by adapting or copying existing patterns, or by drafting new patterns.
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.
Mark samples and finished patterns with information such as garment size, section, style, identification, and sewing instructions.
Compute dimensions of patterns according to sizes, considering stretching of material.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
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.
Visualization The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Originality The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Number Facility The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
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.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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