In the world of apparel and fashion design, fabric patternmakers play a very important role. They are responsible for making master fabric patterns which are used in manufacturing garments for the mass market. This task entails drawing or using computer software to draw where the pleats, pockets or other details on the garment are supposed to be placed. They draw and cut layouts of the different garment parts on paper before using actual cloth.
Before fabric patternmakers cut patterns, they need to consult with fashion designers who are responsible for conceptualizing the designs. After seeing the design of the clothing either on paper or an actual sample made by the fashion designer, patternmakers then proceed to cut the pattern and join them together to form the piece using paper or cheap muslin cloth. Both the patternmaker and the designer will then review the initial product and make changes on it if necessary before the final pattern is digitized using a software program on computer-aided design and then made on the actual and more expensive cloth. Patternmakers may also rely on computer software or on grading devices to make master patterns for different sizes. It is only after the final approval has been made on the patterns when the design is mass-produced.
The job of patternmakers involves a lot of drawing and cutting, especially if they have to create a new pattern for a particular design. In some cases, they may simply make minor changes to patterns they already have in store. They also need to be thorough in labeling the finished patterns with such information as the size of the garment, sewing instructions and styles so those who will be sewing them will be able to follow the patterns correctly.
Why Become a Fabric Patternmaker
Fabric patternmaking is a career for those who truly love fashion design. It is the profession for those who are creative and find fulfillment in the process of creating an actual piece of clothing—from cutting the different parts of the garment to making master patterns for sizes to ultimately fitting the pattern for the final material where it will be used. It is for those who have a keen eye for detail and accuracy. This is also for those who don’t mind doing repetitive work that does not involve too much interaction with the public. This job is also for those who love to work with their hands. Those who have excellent visualization skills will make good patternmakers because they know how the final product will look like even if all they initially have are different pattern pieces.
Fabric Patternmaker Work Environment
Fabric patternmakers work fulltime during regular work hours. They are hired mostly by companies in the cut and sew apparel manufacturing industry as well as apparel, piece goods and notions merchant wholesalers. Manufacturers of apparel accessories, textile product mills and makers of leather and other allied products also hire patternmakers. Many fabric and apparel patternmakers are found in the states of California, New York, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas. The job doesn’t usually require travel and is done indoors.