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Importance of Pattern Making in Garment manufacturing

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Pattern making is a highly skilled technique which calls for technical ability, and a sensitivity to interpret a design with a practical understanding of garment construction.

Pattern making techniquePattern making

Pattern making is a highly skilled technique which calls for technical ability, and a sensitivity to interpret a design with a practical understanding of garment construction. For successful dress designing, patternmaking forms the fundamental step. This function connects design to production by producing paper templates for all components such as cloth, hemming, fusible etc. which have to be cut for completing a specific garment.

There are three methods of preparing patterns:

  1. Drafting
  2. Draping
  3. Bought or commercial pattern

Methods of pattern making


Is a two-dimensional basic method of preparing a paper pattern. The pattern is prepared on brown paper using personal measurements of the wearer. The garment prepared by this method fits exactly to the satisfaction of the wearer. It is economical to draft one’s own pattern. Also, changes in style can be made adopting the basic pattern.

This type of pattern can be constructed by drafting manually or produced by a computer which has been programmed to construct basic patterns according to given measurements and proportions.


Draping can be treated as one involving a detailed survey and study of the figure to build up a reliable fitting experience. Draping originally was called modeling. This was the original method of constructing garment patterns and is still widely used in the clothing design houses in Paris Draping is a free approach and is always to a certain extent experimental and cannot be described as a precise technique.

Modeling is done in a fitting room on a dress form with a stand. Dressforms vary in size. Generally, an averagely sized dress form of bust 88 cms or 92 cms is selected for this purpose. The designer works from a sketch or a mental picture and gives a 3-dimension form to an idea of a garment. The wrong side of the fabric is draped on the dress form or a figure. The effect of the fabric as it flows and drapes is readily visible on the dress form. Muslin cloth is used for draping. As the fabric is draped on the dress form pin, and mark the stitching line with a pencil. The muslin pattern which is the end product of draping is removed from the stand and each component is copied on to the paper pattern and necessary allowances are then added to give the design effect as planned by the designer.

Bought or Commercial Patterns

These patterns provide fashions in current trend designed to fit certain sizes. It is available in tissue paper. These patterns indicate neck sizes for garments such as shirts, chest or bust measurements for children and women; waist, hip and length measurements for pants and skirts. Even to those with the ability and desire to design their own clothing, a commercial pattern makes a good starting point.

These patterns explain the steps in using the pattern and are mostly used by dress manufacturing companies. It also gives information on suitable fabrics, the quantity of material required, pattern layouts etc. Most figures differ considerably from the average. Uses of Paper Patterns:

  • Paper patterns are useful not only to the beginner but also to the expert as there is no risk of the material being wrongly cut.
  • It is particularly useful to the beginner as it is a better method of learning than cutting the material directly.
  • Paper patterns can be preserved and used whenever required and are, therefore, time and labor saving.
  • Adjustment in paper patterns can be done to ensure perfect fitting.
  • By using the basic paper pattern it is possible to bring changes in the design. For example, the basic sleeve can be adapted to puff or bell sleeve.
  • The use of paper pattern will enable one to cut a garment with a minimum amount of fabric because it is possible for the dress designer to try out the placement of pattern pieces in an economical way.

Contents of Paper Patterns

  • Margin: Extra safety margins are cut beyond the actual cutting line to make adjustments while stitching. Margins are generally allowed on upholstery items such as sofa slipcovers.
  • Cutting line: This is the actual line on which garments are cut.
  • Stitching line: Paper pattern shows the exact stitching line so that the person stitching the garment will identify where exactly the actual stitching has to be done.
  • Fold line: When there are two sides to a pattern such as back & front side then the fold line on the pattern has to be clearly indicated marking it as Fold Line.
  • Grainline: Every pattern piece has an arrow indicating the grainline – whether the fabric has to be cut on straight or cross grain, Collars, cuffs and other trimmings are cut on the cross grain to give a better finish to the garment.
  • Construction details: Tucks, darts, buttonholes, center front, center back, pocket markings, buttons, style features of the garment are all shown on the paper pattern’
  • Graceful curves and shapes wherever required on the paper pattern are also clearly indicated.
  • Pattern size and particulars like the front, back, sleeve, collar, cuff etc are shown.
  • If necessary the pattern can also suggest and explain the steps in preparing the garment like marking, cutting and stitching the garment. This is generally done in a commercial pattern to enable the sewer to use the pattern correctly.
  1. Ola says

    It is so helpful

  2. Adunoluws says

    Very helpful

  3. rekha says

    How can i make a pattern of garments

  4. sachin says

    How can i make a pattern of garments

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