Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator

Learn Fundamental Pattern Making Techiques

Transition from traditional paper techniques & master pattern making in Adobe Illustrator. Benefit from an exponential increase in your drafting speed, precission, and accessibilty. Save space, share patterns instantly online & draft patterns from your laptop anywhere in the world.

Take our FREE course to become a Pro…

Computer screen with a digital pattern making program, Adobe Illustrator open, showing a dress basic block pattern, on a desk with modern design tools.

Before You Start the Course

To get started, you’ll need Adobe Illustrator and a basic block. The Lab, our automated basic block drafting software drafts bespoke basic blocks to fit your unique measurements or our sister website, DesignLab.London, offers a quick download of standardised basic blocks. Choose between bespoke blocks for unique measurements or standardised blocks for commercial fashion (sizes UK4 – 24). Our automated tool, the Lab, generates these blocks, ready to be transformed into any garment design.

Master Digital Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator with our Free course Adapt basic blocks into finished patterns

Bespoke Basic Blocks

Our unique automated pattern drafting tool, the Lab, generates bespoke basic blocks, slopers, and sewing patterns. These can be adapted, using these pattern making tutorials into any design or garment. The bespoke basic blocks offer a relaible and solid foundation for your next fashion project.

Master Digital Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator with our Free course Adapt basic blocks into finished patterns

Standardised Basic Blocks

We also have a sister website that is dedicated to standardised basic blocks. Standard basic blocks are drafted using standard size charts and produce basic blocks that fit a range of people (Available sizes UK4 – 24). Standard Basic blocks are ideal for commercial fashion and standard sizes. Browse our full range collection.

Lesson 1. Setting up a Workspace in Adobe Illustrator CC Specifically for Pattern Making

Adobe Illustrator (Ai) can be a very intimidating platform, especially when it displays all the bells and whistles! In this digital pattern making tutorial, we show you which tools are important, where to find them, how to add them to your workspace, how to remove tools that you don’t need, and finally, how to save the workspace so you can use it each and every time you draft patterns using Adobe Illustrator CC.

Lesson 2. An Overview of the Cutting Table & How to Import a Basic Block

Now that we have set up our workspace and added the important tools for digital 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 CC.

Lesson 3. Measuring your Basic Block & Marking Points in Adobe Illustrator

Like manual pattern making (on paper), 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 making. It’s the same for digital pattern making, although the tools we use are slightly different. In this digital pattern making tutorial, we show you which tools we use to do this and how to use them effectively.

Lesson 4. Using the Pen Tool to Draw Objects & Curved Lines

In manual paper pattern making, we use a ruler to draw straight lines and a Pattern Master or French Curves to draw curved lines. But how do we translate this to digital pattern cutting in Adobe Illustrator? Simple, we use the Pen tool and all of its derivative options to seamlessly draw curves and lines. In this tutorial, we show you how to use these fun tools to divide your block into panels or add design elements such as necklines.

Lesson 5. How to Group & Make Selections Using the Selection Tools

In Adobe Illustrator, your block is comprised of many different lines, segments, points, and elements. The only thing keeping them together is grouping. All of our ePatterns (digital basic blocks) come pre-grouped which makes things easier when importing them into Adobe Illustrator CC. However, what happens when you start adding new elements and removing old ones?

Lesson 6. Cutting your Basic Block up into Panels & Learning to Manipulate Darts

Cutting and slashing your block into different panels is yet another fundamental part of pattern making (on paper). It’s possibly the first thing that we learn as pattern makers. It’s a very similar concept for digital pattern making in Adobe Illustrator, but doing it well can be tricky.

Lesson 7. Adding Seam Allowance to your Finished Sewing Pattern

You’ve cut it, slashed it, designed a new neckline, rotated your darts and added all kinds of new design details. So what’s next? Adding seam allowance! In the physical world, this is usually a long, time-consuming process. It takes some careful attention with a Pattern Master tool, especially when you’ve got lots of curves and panels. It’s a process that I personally used to dread. Well, not anymore! In digital pattern making adding seam allowance is a simple and joyful experience.

Lesson 8. Transforming Finished Patterns into Multi-Page PDF Sewing Patterns

Paper sewing patterns are slowly becoming less popular, mainly due to the cost of commercial printing, packaging, and delivery worldwide. It is this slow transition from paper to digital that is making independent pattern companies a huge success. Now that you know how to adapt your basic blocks/ slopers/ basic sewing patterns digitally, it’s time to start selling and sharing them as multi-page PDF sewing patterns.

Want More
Digital Pattern Making Tutorials?

Now you’ve learned the basics, put your new digital pattern making skills to the test, improve your ability or learn how to draft specific design elements. Take a look at our digital pattern making tutorials on sleeves, necklines dart manipulations and much more.

The Benefits of Digital Pattern Making in Adobe Illustrator

Are you still juggling with paper patterns, fighting against rolls of paper, and battling with blunt pencils or messy pen lines? It’s time to update and transition your skills with digital pattern making in Adobe Illustrator. Say goodbye to a cluttered studio and embrace the precision, efficiency, and creative freedom that digital pattern making in Adobe Illustrator offers.

Revolutionize your design workflow with digital pattern making in Adobe Illustrator. This innovative approach brings numerous advantages over traditional paper-based methods:

    • Compact and clutter-free: Digital pattern making doesn’t require a large studio space.
    • Cost-effective: Eliminate the need for expensive physical tools.
    • Portable: Work on your designs anywhere using a laptop or desktop.
    • Precision and Accuracy: Achieve pinpoint accuracy in adapting or drafting patterns.
    • Instant Enhancements: Add seam allowances, colors, graphics, and logos effortlessly.
    • Easy Storage and Sharing: Store hundreds of patterns on a USB drive or cloud.
    • Monetize Your Designs: Create PDF sewing patterns for online sale.
    • 3D Modeling: Test patterns on virtual models with tools like Clo3D.

    Our free course on pattern making in Adobe Illustrator is a treasure trove of knowledge, guiding you through the nuances of turning basic blocks into exquisite patterns. So put down your pattern master and paper. Let’s get started!

    Who is This Free Course For?

    Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional, our course caters to all. Learn from scratch or enhance your paper pattern making skills with Adobe Illustrator. No prior experience in pattern making or Adobe Illustrator? No problem – we’ve got you covered.


    Why is the Course Free?

    At PatternLab.London, we believe in empowering designers. Our digital basic blocks are designed to be fully editable in software like Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Clo3D, and more. This free course is our commitment to helping you maximize the potential of our products, with plenty of insider tips and tricks.

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