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Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers Career

Career Description

Draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. May also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

What Job Titles Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers Might Have

  • Designer
  • Pattern Designer
  • Pattern Maker
  • Production Pattern Maker

What Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers Do

  • Create a master pattern for each size within a range of garment sizes, using charts, drafting instruments, computers, or grading devices.
  • Input specifications into computers to assist with pattern design and pattern cutting.
  • 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.
  • Make adjustments to patterns after fittings.
  • Compute dimensions of patterns according to sizes, considering stretching of material.
  • Mark samples and finished patterns with information such as garment size, section, style, identification, and sewing instructions.
  • Draw outlines of pattern parts by adapting or copying existing patterns, or by drafting new patterns.
  • Test patterns by making and fitting sample garments.
  • Position and cut out master or sample patterns, using scissors and knives, or print out copies of patterns, using computers.
  • Create a paper pattern from which to mass-produce a design concept.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Determine the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material, and mark fabric accordingly.
  • Create design specifications to provide instructions on garment sewing and assembly.
  • Trace outlines of paper onto cardboard patterns, and cut patterns into parts to make templates.
  • Trace outlines of specified patterns onto material, and cut fabric using scissors.

What Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers Should Be Good At

  • Visualization - The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.

What Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers Should Be Interested In

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

What Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers Need to Learn

  • 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.
Median Salary: $39,650

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.