In the fashion industry, costumes are only as good as the patterns that they are made from. Whether you aspire to be a fashion designer, fashion consultant, apparel or garment specialist, one of the basic requisites is to understand pattern making. When it comes to fashion designing, the term pattern making refers to developing workable patterns for sewing, based upon a design or a prototype garment. It involves developing paper patterns and cut in fabric through accurate measurements from a dress form or body form. A professional pattern maker must be capable of assessing the proper fitting and adjustments of a garment on live models based on the prepared dress patterns.
Pattern making is an essential subject in fashion education. Its main purpose is to ensure uniformity during mass production. That is, to create several garments of a same design, the apparel pattern must be uniform in size and shape from one garment to the next. Any fashionably designed apparel cannot be of unusual shape or size. For that reason, exact tracing or cutting around the pattern pieces for each of the different sections of a garment is important. Draping is another relatively common method of creating garment patterns.
Working independently or with other designers to create custom patterns, highly trained pattern makers conceptualize the type of pattern that needs to be made based on the design sketches. They measure, draw, and cut out the pieces of a pattern from several different materials, including pattern paper, muslin (cotton fabric) or thin plastic. These pieces are then sewn together to make a test garment to ensure the size accuracy and usefulness of the final product. The majority of pattern makers also specialize in selection of the fabric type and fabric color that will be used to make a perfectly sized garment.
The School of Fashion & Design at AAFT provides a professional environment and opportunity for students to learn necessary specialized skills through hands-on training by highly qualified academicians. For those interested in pursuing a career in pattern making usually need to take classes in drawing & illustration, computer graphics or CAD, anatomy, textiles and fashion design.