What is a Pattern Maker?

by | Dec 4, 2023 | All Documentation, Basic Pattern Making | 0 comments

So, what is a pattern maker and what do they do? In the realm of fashion and garment production, pattern making is a fundamental process that transforms fashion designs into finished patterns and finished garments using basic blocks. At the heart of this process are skilled professionals known as pattern makers.

What is a Basic Block?

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A pattern maker meticulously drafts a pattern on large paper, with rolled patterns, scissors, and a finished garment photo nearby, in a bright studio.

The Role of a Pattern Maker

Pattern makers play a pivotal role in pattern making. They are the architects of fashion, translating a designer’s vision into precise patterns that ensure a garment not only looks stylish but also fits well. Their expertise encompasses several key aspects:

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What is a pattern maker? Basic Pattern Making. Specification pack basic blocks pattern making

Measurement Mastery

Pattern makers possess a deep understanding of human body measurements and proportions, allowing them to create patterns that cater to different sizes. This understanding is often intuitive and based on years of study and experience through pattern making basic blocks and finished patterns. This is done for either bespoke clients or creating collections of clothing for commercial fashion companies using standard size charts.

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What is a pattern maker? Finished pattern. pattern maker


Pattern Makers are often skilled in grading, the process of adjusting patterns to produce a range of sizes while preserving the original design’s style and proportions. Grading is used in the commercial fashion industry to create multiple sizes from a single finished pattern, which are then used by garment manufacturers to make the finished garment many times over and in many different sizes.

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What is a Pattern Maker? Understand basic Pattern Making. Attention to detail in pattern making is crucial

Attention to Detail

Meticulous accuracy is a hallmark of pattern makers. They meticulously calculate and mark crucial points on finished patterns, such as seam lines, darts, notches, and grainlines, to guide the adaptation or drafting process. Originally, pattern makers would work on paper and card using a Pattern Master tool. Precision and accuracy of marking were far harder, and often, a finished pattern was redrawn after completion to ensure its accuracy.

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pattern making. Shirt dress sample toile.

Prototype Development

Pattern makers need an in-depth understanding of garment construction and sewing techniques. Not only is this used to create the finished pattern, but it is also used in participating in the creation and assembly of prototypes or sample garments based on their finished patterns. This step enables them to assess the sewing techniques used, the fit, style, and functionality of a design before it goes into mass production.


Pattern makers work closely with fashion designers, garment technicians, and manufacturers, ensuring that the final product aligns with the designer’s vision and meets quality standards. It is a united effort, and when done well, it creates beautifully executed designs and well-made garments that sell. Communication between these skill sets is of utmost importance, especially when time and money are in short supply. Getting it right the first time is of paramount importance when budgets are concerned.

Drafting a digital basic block patterns in Adobe Illustrator

Technology Proficiency

Many modern pattern makers utilize computer-aided design (CAD) software such as Adobe Illustrator and other programs to create and store digital patterns. These software applications allow absolute precision and accuracy, speeding up the pattern-making process while saving studio space and paper. These are just two of the benefits to digital pattern making, there are many more.

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Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making
Draft and adapt basic blocks in adobe illustrator. Digital pattern making


In summary, pattern making is the essential bridge between fashion design and the creation of wearable clothing. Pattern makers, with their expert knowledge and skills, play a pivotal role in bringing these designs to life, ensuring that garments not only look stylish but also fit perfectly. Pattern makers are an incredibly important part of the fashion industry, transforming measurements and designs into reality.

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