Pattern graders take patterns created by a pattern cutter and scale them in size to create clothes.

What does a pattern grader do?

Pattern graders produce scaled-up and scaled-down versions of original design patterns. This allows manufacturers to make the same garment in different sizes. The role might involve:

  • laying out a pattern on a digitising table
  • tracing pattern outlines with a light pen or scanning equipment
  • plotting measurements at key points to feed into a computer to adjust the pattern's size and proportions
  • carrying out quality checks to make sure the final pattern matches the original
  • working closely with the design team to make up sample garments from the pattern
  • sending copies of the final pattern information in the correct format to the manufacturer for production

What do I need to do to become a pattern grader?

You’ll need good maths skills to take measurements and make calculations. You will also need to have an eye for detail and the shape and proportion of your clothes, so they look good on the wearer.

You can get into this job by taking an apprenticeship or by completing a college course in fashion or textiles. A common way to start this career is to work as a pattern grading assistant or sewing machinist with a clothing manufacturer or fashion design company. With experience and training, you can work your way up to become a pattern grader.

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • IT
  • Numeracy
  • Teamwork

Academic route

  • GCSEs

Vocational route

  • Level 2 certificate in skills for the fashion industries
  • Level 2 certificate in fashion and textiles

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Typical employers range from designer labels to high-street fashion retailers. You will have an advantage when looking for work if you have experience of pattern cutting.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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