Clothing patternmakers produce master patterns from designs. They work closely with designers, interpreting their sketches to develop a style that can be achieved by the company's equipment and staff, and that fits the image of the company's label.
Clothing patternmakers may perform the following tasks:
- interpret a design sketch
- choose the correct 'block' (a pattern shape that forms the basic characteristics of a garment)
- make adjustments to the pattern to arrive at a sample pattern, which is then used to decide whether to produce the garment in bulk
- check the accuracy of the sample pattern
- work with the sample machinist at various stages throughout the process, such as cutting out the sample garment and determining the amount of fabric used
- advise on the correct machining technique to use
- check that the sample garment maintains the look of the original design
- check the fit of the sample on a mannequin, or on a model employed by the firm
- modify sample garments to meet cost specifications and manufacturing limitations
- once it is approved for production, reproduce the sample pattern on a pattern board to make a master pattern
- create the required range of sizes by 'grading' the pattern, usually using a computer-aided design (CAD) system.
In some cases, patternmakers may be employed in additional job roles, such as designer, sample machinist, grader or marker maker.
- enjoy practical and manual activities
- good hand-eye coordination
- artistic flair, with an eye for detail
- good sense of proportion
- aptitude for technical activities
- able to work neatly and accurately.
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