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How to Become a Fashion Pattern Maker

Updated: Jul 10, 2021

What do Pattern Makers do?  Where do Pattern Makers work?

How to Become A Pattern Maker

Pattern makers work closely with fashion designers and design departments to create an initial rough draft of what the designer has in mind for any given garment. Independent designers that are just starting out might create their own patterns, but if they are established or work for a large company, they usually work with a team of pattern makers. Years ago, pattern makers created sample patterns by hand. Today, they use a variety of advanced techniques and machines to produce samples.

Pattern Maker Jobs

Pattern makers main function is to take the designer’s ideas and translate them into pattern samples. After the samples are made, the designer may request a few tweaks before the final sample pattern is made. It is up to the pattern maker to create a final sample that will be used to mass-produce the garment.

Pattern makers work for fashion designers, retail companies, textile companies, design studios, and other manufacturing facilities. Some pattern makers are self-employed, so they might work for multiple clients at a time.

Becoming a Pattern Maker

Employers prefer an associate or bachelor’s degree in fashion design, pattern making, pattern engineering, or pattern-making technology. Many employers also look for entry- level workers with experience through an internship, apprenticeship, or paid position.

Retail sales experience or experience in textiles or apparel design is also helpful.

Other important skills include computer skills, organizational skills, math proficiency, the ability to multi-task, precision and accuracy, and the natural ability to work with different body proportions. Because pattern makers might work with industry professionals overseas, the ability to speak Spanish or Chinese is a huge plus.

Job Trends for Pattern Makers

Although some consider pattern maker a low-level position, there is no doubt that this is a specialized field. In fact, the talent pool is small (less than 10,000 at last count), and the best of the best can command higher salaries than some fashion designers. Top-level pattern makers will have no problems finding work in the coming years and job opportunities for entry-level pattern makers should remain steady (fair) in the coming years.

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