Patternmaking Essentials for the Workroom

Patternmaking tools

To work efficiently, the patternmaker must have the proper tools and supplies. In addition, the patternmaker should know and understand the terminology to communicate effectively in the workroom and minimize errors due to misunderstanding. Introduces tools, supplies, and definitions of terms used in industry. The professional patternmaker arrives on the job with all tools required for patternmaking. Each device should be marked with an identity symbol and transported in a carrying case. Devices may be purchased from apparel supply houses, art stores, department stores, and yardage stores. Specialized tools, such as a rabbit punch used to punch pattern holes for hanger hooks, are generally supplied by the manufacturer.

Functions of Patternmaking Tools

Tools provide the symbols used in marking fabric and patterns in the production of garments. Logos are like a silent language understood among the designer, seamstress, grader, marker maker, and production personnel. Without these symbols, garments would not be cut or stitched with accuracy. Missing or misplaced marks disrupt the flow of production.

Notch Tool

The notch tool has a cutting blade that slips into the pattern’s edge, leaving a 1/8- to 1/4-inch cut-out. The notch cut-outs are marked on the fabric as the designs are traced. The cutter slashes the material at these locations. Finally, the seamstress assembles and stitches the garment parts following the notches.

Awl Punch and Circle

The awl puts a hole (or mark) on the pattern. The fix is circled to notify the marker maker that a drill is needed to burn a hole in the fabric, which damages the garment. That is why the drill hole placement is always inside the finished seam (to cover the damage in the material).

The Importance of Math

Why should you have sufficient math skills to read measuring devices: rulers, measuring tape, fractions, and percentages? The answer is to be eligible for hire! In the fashion business, every phase of production relies on the math skills of the associates to stay in business.

Pattern paper

Pattern paper has code numbers to indicate its weight from heavy to light: Heavy-weight Paper—Weight Code IX Granite Tag (.007) to 5X Granite Tag (.019)

  • Heavyweight pattern paper is called tagboard, manila, or stiff paper and is used primarily for production patterns. Lightweight Paper—Weight Code 1 to 5 Double-Duty Marking Paper
  • Lightweight paper is called marking paper.
  • Marking paper is used for making markers and for developing first patterns.
  • The paper is marked with a choice of symbols: numbers, letters, short lines, and dots. The symbols help when aligning the grainlines of the patterns for tracing, and the numbers give an account of inches of the finished marker.

Patternmaking terms

The following terms and definitions are related to the workroom. Pattern drafting. A system of patternmaking that depends on measurements taken from a form or model to create basic, foundation, or design patterns. An example is the draft of the basic pattern set. Flat patternmaking. A system of patternmaking that depends on previously developed practices. The working way is manipulated using the slash or pivotal method to create design patterns.


Merchandising the line is essential to weed out the styles that do not sell well. The final line is shown to store buyers in the showroom, taken to retailers by traveling sales representatives, sent via computer images to buyers, and promoted through trade advertisements and buying office networks. Production pattern development follows sales and prepares the first sample to be sewn efficiently in a factory to fit an average customer. The designer is usually involved in sales presentations and all decisions that affect aesthetics.

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