2. An overview of the cutting table and how to import an ePattern

Now that we have set up our workspace and added the important tools for pattern making, we’re ready to start learning how to use those tools! In this tutorial, we show you how to open the Cutting Table in Adobe Illustrator. The Cutting Table is an important document that we have developed to give you some additional tools to help keep your pattern making and finished patterns consistent. It also features a selection of pre-built seam allowances that we explore in later tutorials. Most importantly, it is the document that we use when pattern making design elements such as sleeves, necklines, dress styles etc. It is very important that you familiarise yourself with this document. We also show you how to open your purchased basic block or ePattern into Adobe Illustrator and copy it to the Cutting Table.

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. Opening the Cutting Table document into Adobe Illustrator. 

2. A quick overview of the Cutting Table, its features, and why we need it for pattern cutting in Adobe Illustrator.

3. Customising the Cutting Table to work with either centimetres or inches and saving it as a template for future use.

4. Opening an ePattern in Adobe Illustrator and copying it to the Cutting Table ready for pattern cutting.

5. Navigating your pattern using the Zoom and Drag tools. 

6. Saving your Cutting Table and ePattern together as a new document.

Downloads

34 Comments

  1. Jocelynn Smith

    Hi Ralph! AWESOME tutes!! I am just a bit confused about the download files. I understand they are printing templates for the size paper you will print on, but what is the ”CC compatible, CS4, CS5 and CS6? They all have the same templates in them. Am I missing something? You ROCK!! You’ve made understanding digital pattern drafting super easy, and now I feel like a dunderhead for not giving it a try earlier.

    Reply
  2. Ben

    Hi there, I can’t find the free basic bodice block you refer to in the video so I can follow along? The Lin k just takes me to the design lab website where I have to purchase…

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Hi Ben,

      There’s a comment further down, that this was made over a year ago and at that time they were doing them for free. They no longer are. I haven’t gone through all the great tutes here, but there is a good pattern drafting tute to make your own blocks if you search it.

      Reply
  3. Annaleigh Stafford

    Hello there.

    I have been following along with these tutorials, and when it comes to downloading the basic bodice block are you able to provide me with the link where i can purchase it ?

    I see that you have the nest of basic bodice blocks available to purchase in the store section of your website, is this the one I should be downloading to use for these tutorials? or is there one with just one size ?

    Cheers, Annie

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Annie, Thanks for your comment. Yes, the nested blocks (designlab.london) work very well with these tutorials. They are all digital patterns that open in Adobe Illustrator. Enjoy!

      Reply
    • Diane

      Hi I downloaded the bodice block.I opened it and transferred to cutting table all ok.My problem is I can not make the shape change when I drag on it like you did.How can I fix this please

      Reply
  4. Arlene

    Thank you so much for these tutorials! So so clear and well explained for beginners. I’m so happy I found them. 🙂

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      You’re very welcome! We enjoy creating them as much as people enjoy watching them 🙂

      Reply
    • Devipriya M

      I have more details.

      Reply
  5. Jasmin

    hey there, in your tutorials you’ve been saying there’s basic bodice block to download for free, i cant find the link for download it. could you help me please ?

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Thanks for your comment! These tutorials were made about a year ago. At that point, we were offering a free basic bodice block to experiment with, whilst following the tutorials. The aim at that point was to create an extended course of pattern making tutorials that were available to buy. We decided to scrap this concept and offer this extended range of pattern making tutorials for free, using the sale from blocks to subsidise the time and effort it took to create the tutorials. These tutorials are not just designed for digital pattern making. The techniques demonstrated can also be applied to paper pattern making or manual pattern making. Someone might already have a set of paper patterns and use them to follow along with our tutorials applying the same methods demonstrated in the video to their paper patterns. Either way, we apologise for the misunderstanding. We’ll look at replacing the old set of introductory tutorials with new ones that highlight this change. We appreciate the feedback!

      Reply
    • Gabi

      This is excellent!! Thanks so much for the tutorials

      Reply
    • Jelena

      Hi Ralf Just looking at your Tutorial. Great job, thank you. I have the same question as jasmine. Several time I tried to download PDF printing template to follow tutorial but can’t get an e-Pattern. What do I do wrong?

      Reply
  6. Cathy cox

    Is the pattern block for the tutorials one we need to purchase? I found download for cutting table but can’t find block?

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Cathy. That’s correct! You can either purchase an editable basic block using the Lab or you can visit our sister site DesignLab and purchase a pattern pack. The pattern pack contains standard sizes UK4 – 24. We’ve added a Banner link on each page to help people find the blocks. Thanks for your comment!
      Ralph

      Reply
  7. Lupe Deira

    I have Used the cutting table file but when I try to place a pattern onto the board it is not scaled correctly. Is there a way to make sure the placed pattern is scaled correctly, or to scale it once placed?
    I can use the scale function by dragging the placed object but I was wondering if it was possible to say pick a line and state its 5cm and have that then cause the rest of the placed object to be scaled correctly.

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Lupe, thanks for your comment. That is very odd. Which basic block are you trying to place? Was it a basic block that you drafted using the Lab or was it the free basic block download we originally hosted on this page? If it was the free download, Unfortunately, this block was an out-dated SVG file that we had to remove/ update. Please see the banner at the top of this page. It will explain the various options now available for drafting an editable pattern for use with our pattern making tutorials.

      Reply
  8. Joshua

    I just came in contact with patternlab. Pls i will like to know the tools i will need to use adobe illustrator. I have xp-pen star g640.

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Joshua. I’m assuming that is a tablet? If you are familiar with using a tablet instead of a mouse then the process is pretty much the same. I would recommend experimenting with the tablet in Adobe Illustrator. If you have your tablet set up correctly, a single or double click on your pen should be the same as it is on your mouse.

      Reply
  9. onyx

    Adobe has decided to no longer recognise the bodice file or the cutting table file.
    Any idea why this might be the case? Baffled on this end.
    More annoying is that it worked perfectly well two days ago.
    Since i cleaned my laptop and reuploaded creative cloud, it has decided to reject these files. Is there something i may have inadvertently done that i could undo? or should i be contacting adobe on this issue?

    Reply
  10. Agnes Somogyi

    Hi! I downloaded the bodice file, and when I want to open it in Illustrator it says that it can not open the SVG file, it needs to be vaildated.. Do you have any idea how to fix it? Or could you send it in an other file format? Thank you! Agnes

    Reply
    • Agnes Somogyi

      Sorry for bothering, I have downloaded from an other page from this course, and that version works fine! Great course by the way! 🙂

      Reply
      • Karla

        Thanks for the Tip.. !!!! Done it

        Reply
        • Ralph Pink

          Awesome sauce! Glad it worked 🙂

          Reply
    • James Kehinde

      Please I don’t have s bodice pattern what do I do, can I build my own pattern from scratch

      Reply
  11. elisabetta

    Hello! I need some more sewing allowance brushes how can i create them? Thank you

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Elisabetta,

      You can create your own custom brushes by following this tutorial: https://patternlab.london/home/project/epattern-seam-allowance/

      You can also add a seam allowance using a far simpler technique:

      1. Select the pattern you wish to add seam allowance with the direct selection tool.
      2. Go to the ai. menu and click Object> Path > Offset path. A pop-up window will appear.
      3. Type the value of seam allowance you require into the Offset field.
      4. Type 10 into the Miter limit field.
      5. Click OK.
      6. Your pattern will now have the specified seam allowance.
      7. If you see three lines appear on your pattern, delete the innermost line.
      8. If you see two lines, do not delete any of them. The outside line is your cutting line.

      Reply
  12. Priscilla

    Hi Ralph,

    The key on the cutting table is missing. I just get a bIanc page. I have an older version of Adobe illustrator CS6 16.0.0
    I’ve tried everything from pasting to converting. Is there a way to get the key panel another way or make it myself right on the cutting table.

    Reply
  13. Aletha

    Hello, the legend key is not showing up in my illustrator file.

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Aletha. Thanks for your comment.
      I’ve opened the cutting table file and the key is definitely present. The cutting table is a huge art board within Adobe Illustrator and the Key can get a bit lost in that huge space. Navigate to the top left corner of the cutting table and zoom in. You should find it there. Otherwise it might be a compatibility issue. What version of Adobe illustrator do you have?

      Reply
  14. nina cadzow

    hello there-been trying to set up the bodice blocks onto the cutting table but they keep appearing much reduced and not to full size. when i measure the shoulder it comes to 4.6 and it should be about 12-12.5???Also i am on a slightly older version of illustrator and have discovered that the rulers will only change to centimetres if you go into document set up and change it through there then do the preferences.

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Nina. Which version of Adobe Illustrator are you using?

      Theoretically, there should be no scaling with .SVG files when copied or opened in all versions of Adobe Illustrator. That being said I’ve not used all the Adobe Illustrator platforms. I’ve only used CS5, CS6, and CC. We always recommend using the most up to date software package to prevent any issues with your ePatterns. Possibly, I can grab your pattern, download it, open it in CC, check the proportions and save it as an Ai file that is compatible with your current version. This isn’t a means to an end but a quick fix. Any future blocks you produce might have the same issue if it is a common occurrence with your version of Ai.
      Let me know your thoughts.

      Thanks again!
      Ralph

      Reply
  15. nina cadzow

    hi there- i am an experienced manual pattern cutter wanting to digitise all my blocks- how is this done-or am i trying to run before i can walk!!!

    Reply
    • Ralph Pink

      Hi Nina, thanks for your comment.

      That’s a really interesting question and something that I dealt with quite some time ago. It’s not as efficient as you might think and really depends on the size of your patterns.

      I found the easiest way is to make traced copies of your patterns, cut them into A4 or A3 pages (depending on the size of your scanner), then scan them as individual pages, import them into Photoshop and then piece them back together. Adding markings or lines to the pattern, before cutting them up, will help you piece them back together. Once they have been pieced together in Adobe Photoshop you could them copy them to Illustrator and trace them once more using the pen tool to create lines and curves that trace your scanned pattern.
      It is by no means a quick or easy process. I guess it all depends on how many patterns you have and how much time you want to spend on digitising them.

      Alternatively, you could take them to a digital grader, and ask them to plot them using Gerber or a similar software application. They would then save the plotted patterns as a DXF file (similar to our ePatterns) You could then edit and amend these files using Adobe Illustrator like in our courses and tutorials.

      I hope this has helped enlighten you, whatever your course of action.

      Thanks again!
      Ralph

      Reply

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