Learn digital pattern cutting in Adobe Illustrator

Digital pattern cutting is the new form of manual pattern cutting and it’s becoming far more accessible. In this tutorial, I give you a brief introduction to Adobe Illustrator and teach you how to use it as a digital pattern cutting platform. I’ll also explain the fundamental tools we use when setting up and customising an ePattern so you can start to customise all your PatternLab-drafted basic blocks, into hundreds of different designs. 

Tutorial Features

  • Open your ePattern in Adobe Illustrator
  • Set up your Illustrator preferences for either Centimetres or Inches
  • Find and open the “Document Info” to easily measure important parts of your pattern
  • Use the line tool
  • Use the selection tool
  • Use the direct selection tool
  • Cut your block using the scissor tool
  • Rotate elements of your pattern
  • Group and ungroup elements of your pattern for a clean workspace
  • Navigate around your pattern using tools such as zoom and tracking

Where do I find Adobe Illustrator?

You can download the latest version of Adobe Illustrator here. You get a free trial which last up to 7 days, so get downloading and get experimenting, after that it will cost you roughly £17 a month, depending on what package you buy. Alternatively you can always buy an existing or second hand version online from eBay, Ammazon or a registered trader. There are plenty available and it will cost anything from £24 – £100 depending on the version you buy. I use CS6 which is not the latest version but an excellent package none the less. I would rather pay outright and have it for life than follow a monthly payment plan. It’s not overly important which version you get and you can still follow our tutorials using version CS5 and up.


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