3. Measuring your basic block and marking points in Adobe Illustrator

Like manual paper pattern making, the ruler is possibly the most important tool in your arsenal. Having the ability to measure straight and curved lines, and marking points on those lines is a fundamental part of pattern cutting. It’s the same for digital pattern making, although the tools we use are slightly different.  In this tutorial, we show you which tools we use to do this and how to use them effectively.

 

Draft or Download a Digital Basic Block

Follow along with our tutorials and learn digital pattern making in Adobe Illustrator CC. Purchase and download one of our editable digital basic blocks. We have a few options for you to choose from...

 

Tutorial Overview

1. Selecting, copying and moving a point.

2. Dragging and placing a point on the shoulder tip.

3. Moving a point a set distance using the Move Dialogue box and exploring negative and positive measurements on the X and Y axis

4. Measuring the distance between two points using the Line tool and Document Info tool. 

5. Rotating a point-to-point measurement to line up with the front shoulder seam.

6. Copy and pasting a point-to-point measurement from the front shoulder seam to the back shoulder seam.

7. Adjusting the location of your points using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

8. The correct way to remove a point. 

8. Finding the length of a curved line by isolating it using the Scissor tool and Document Info tool.

9. Marking a point a set distance along a curved line using the Scissor tool and Document Info tool.

17 Comments

  1. jelena fehmi

    Hi Ralph. Slowly but surely learning Pattern cutting technique. Going second round. Easy t take Cutting table from the Desktop, then get pattern block size 8UK (with sleeve) from the desktop then follow you command. But when it is come to Taking measurement tutorial and I need to start from CT, there is no Key box to get the Point from.
    Probably after playing around with another tutorial from Youtube I lost the original table? What shall I do now to get it back to my Cutting Table ?

    Reply
  2. Ilona

    Hello Ralph, thank you for these wonderful tutorials! It is so kind of you to share this wonderful knowledge and know-how. I learnt soooo much by watching the tutorials, even those related to fashion illustration with Illustrator. Thank you and thank you :)) !!

    Reply
  3. Joanna Hadley Rendle

    I am so sorry but for the life of me I cannot find the bodice block for the tutorial after setting up the Cutting Table. I use AI in my ‘proper job” so using this to transfer to my new ‘hobby’. Thank you so much in advance for your help, so far so brilliant. PS My toolbar has never looked so small and tidy!!!

    Reply
  4. Hayley Beech

    Hello, I’m having trouble cutting the line at a corner point, I have the error message ‘Please use the scissors too, on a segment or anchor point (but not an end point) of a path’. Do you have any idea why this is appearing?

    Also when I do try to rejoin a line using the drag and right click, there is no ‘join’ option, is there another action that I could do to join? I’m using the updated 2020 version of Illustrator so possibly that is why.

    Otherwise your tutorials are great. I’m relatively new to Illustrator so it’s taking me a while but I’m sure I’ll get there. I’m super fast at cutting on Gerber so finding it a little frustrating at the moment trying to learn in a completely new program.

    Thanks
    Hayley

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Hayley,

      1. It’s possible that you have already cut the line at this point (corner) or the lines were never joined at that point in the first place – “not an end point”

      2a. If you select your ends points with drag, you might inadvertently select more than the two points. This will prevent you from joining anything becuase the software simply doesn’t know which you want to join. When deleting existing points and lines, you need to hit the backspace key a few times. If you only hit backspace once, little points or artifacts are leftover, which disappear and become invisible when they are not selected. These points or artifacts stay there unseen until you want to join points and lines. You drag and select but these points get included in your selection and you wouldn’t even know. This is why it’s really important to delete your existing points and lines properly by hitting backspace numerous times.

      You can isolate the points you wish to join, by first clicking on the line with the direct selection tool (white) this will display the point, click the point, then hold down the shift key and click the next line to display its point.

      2b. On the other hand, it might be that you are using the large selection tool (black) and not the direct selection tool (white). The direct selection tool selects individual points and lines or elements within an object. Use the direct selection tool (white) when joining points.

      I hope that helps answer your questions 🙂 Possibly we should do a tutorial on this topic because it can be tricky.

      Reply
  5. Temitayo Akinbile

    Wow! You are awesome at this. I’m still at a novice in Adobe Illustrator still finding my way around the tools, but can do little-tiny-bity things with it. I know with this website and your amazing tutorials I should find my footing in AI soon. God bless you!

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Many thanks! Keep practicing and you’ll get faster and faster. It will eventually become an effortless form of pattern making.

      Reply
  6. elisabetta

    Hello! I can’t place a point on 5cm in the armhole, can you please re explain me? Thank you!

    Reply
  7. Fern

    Hi

    When I try joining the lines after using the scissors tool, I get the error message ” to join, you must select two end points of the same or two different paths”. Is there a way to overcome this?

    Thanks!:)

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi, Yes there certainly is! This happened to me a lot when I first started using Adobe Illustrator for Pattern making. It baffled me for ages. The error message, although cryptic, is clear once you understand the issue.

      You’re selecting more than two points!

      This can happen when you have old points lying under or on top of the two that you are trying to join. When you select a line, using the direct selection tool, then try to delete it with the backspace key, you are only deleting the line and not the two endpoints. If you hit the backspace key twice, you will delete both the line and the endpoints. This will give you a far cleaner workspace and prevent your problem.

      To remove the old points:
      1. Individually select and lock the lines you wish to join using the direct selection tool (small white pointer). DO NOT click and drag over the lines or endpoints, because your selection will include the old points.
      2. Lock the lines using CTRL+2 once they have been selected.
      3. Once the lines have been locked, click and drag over the endpoints with the direct selection tool. If there are existing points then this will select them.
      4. With the points selected, hit the backspace key a few times to ensure they have been deleted.
      5. Next, unlock your lines using CTRL+ALT+2
      6. You can now select the endpoints of the lines and join them as normal.

      I hope that helps!

      Reply
  8. ifeoma Chidolue

    i really didnt get the part about reducing or finding a point around the curve i went over it severally but just couldnt navigate it. Was quite frustrating.I dont know if its because im using the trial version?

    Reply
  9. ILANA BINYAMINI

    HELLO TO TOU RALPH.
    I HAVE ALREADY THE ANSWERS TO MY QUESTIONS AND I CONTINUE TO WATCH YOUR EXCELLENT LESSONS.

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH
    ILANA

    Reply
  10. ILANA BINYAMINI

    HELLO TO YOU RALPH.
    YOUR COURSES ARE A GREAT TREASURE INDEED.
    CAN I HOPE THAT A TURTORIAL OF DRAFTING SIMPLE BASIC BLOCK OF STRAIGHT SKIRT WILL COME IN THE NEAREST FUTURE?
    IS IT POSSIBLE?
    THANK YOU IDEED A LOT ABOUTWHAT YOU ARE DOING IN THIS GREAT WEB. IT IS GREAT .
    ILANA

    Reply
  11. ILANA BINYAMINI

    HI.
    THE TURTORIALS ARE GREAT BUT I LOOK AFTER ONE THING THAT IS NOT MENTIONED.:
    I WANT TO DRAFT BASIC BLOCK PATTERNS AND I KNEED TO USE THE DYNAMIC MEASURE TOOL NOT ONLY AS IT NOW HOVER OVER THE LINES BUT WHEN I TRACE THE LINES TO TRACE THEM ACCORDING WHAT I WANT EXACTLY. .
    WHY IT IS NOT FOUND UNDER THE ” W INDOW”? WHERE CAN I FIND IT AND APPLY THE LINES IN THE EXACTLY MEASUREMENT ?
    I HAVE THE LATEST VERSION OF ILLUSTRATOR AND USE WUNDOWS NOT MAC.
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND I APOLOGIZE ON MY BED ENGLISH .

    Reply
  12. sarvin

    This is great, thank you sooooooo much

    Reply
  13. Samia Buchan

    OMG where have you been all my life??

    Thank you so much for these amazing tutorials. I will be sure to share my first Illustrator pattern with you. When I come round to it…

    The time you have put into this, wow, again, thank you.

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Samia. Thanks for your lovely message! So glad you love the site and the tutorials. You’re very welcome and please do share your patterns, we’d love to see them! Thanks again.

      Reply

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