Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Working too much

I'm currently freelancing for a jean company doing lots and lots of grading with many sizes, doesn't really give me much time to post when I have all this work with tight deadlines. Never mind I'll eventually get around to it. I have so much information to post that I don't know where to start.

For all of you who are interested in grading it is an excellent way to earn really good money. It's quite simple but you do need to have knowledge of the grade rules and know how to apply them. I have done lots of grading over the years and still enjoy doing it. Grade rules are different for men, women and childrenswear and other speciality lines. I will go into detail at a later date about Grading, so stay tuned. In the meantime I'll go back to grading as I need to finish lots of work by the end of the week.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

How to read a Pattern

I recommend that before you cut your fabric out that you study your pattern to avoid any costly mistakes because once you cut your fabric there is no turning back!!

Some of the things you should consider would be the suitability of the fabric, consider things like stripes, checks, florals, border prints, one way fabrics, shine of fabrics, etc.

Width of fabric

Direction of Grainline

Matching points

Woven or knit


Sewing equipment needed for example types of stitching, safety, open seams, french seams, coverstitch, mock stitch, baby lock

Good equipment for example sharp cutting shears

Seam and hem allowances

It's also a good idea to take a look at things like armhole shaping, sleeve shaping, once you become more familiar with pattern making you can see whether or not it's a good shape. Just because it's developed from a commercial pattern company doesn't necessarily mean that it has the right shaping, dart intake might be too big, consider making dart smaller. compare measurements of commercial patterns to your own measurements then adust before cutting out on fabric.

If you want to make a knit pattern into a woven pattern this would entail alot of work, like shaping, adding darts adding length and width.

If you want to make a woven pattern into a knit pattern, you would have to do the opposite, making it shorter in length and width, sometimes taking out darts (depends on the knit,as some knits may still require darts)

These are just some of the things to consider. Many people make the mistake of thinking that they should just cut out without looking into all of these things that I have mentioned, but if you want to avoid any costly mistakes please consider all of these points that I mentioned.

It's also a good idea to make up (especially if your sewing for someone else and getting paid for it) a prototype in a cheaper quality fabric, for example calico, so that you can avoid any mistakes and it also helps to do any alterations to the pattern first before cutting it out in the desired fabric.

However I must say that many of the commercial patterns do have very good instructions for sewing, recommended fabrics and alot of helpful information. So make sure you read the instructions sheets before you begin cutting or even before you choose your fabric, as many designs are not always suitable to the fabric that you wish to use.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Pattern Maker

In the past before the Pattern Maker emerged, Tailors produced garments using traditional skills and methods to make clothing. The tailor generally knew his clients body structure quite well along with any defects and he could modify and convert these onto the finished garment producing a garment that was made to measure.

The pattern maker emerged after the birth of industrial techniques. The Industrial Pattern Maker makes a pattern without knowing who the client is and uses standard measurements to produce a garment to any size. The pattern maker converts the sketch or sample created by the designer into a paper pattern for women, men and children.

The Industrial Pattern Maker plays an important role in the clothing industry and is therefore highly sought after and generally well paid. A career in Pattern Making is rewarding professionally and personally and is rewarding financially. Pattern makers are sought by high end Fashion Houses, Manufacturers, big and small boutiques, Made to measure boutiques and by private clients. If you are after a home based business then Pattern Making is one of those professions that allows you to work at home or freelance and work for many companies.

In many Fashion houses pattern makers and designers are synonymous and both may be multi skilled and have the knowledge to provide services that provides an economical situation for the company they work for. The Pattern Maker may find herself involved in various roles when employed by a Fashion Label. The pattern maker can be employed as a Designer/Pattern Maker, Pattern maker/Grader, Pattern Maker and Sample Machinist and even Pattern maker/Production Manager.

The Pattern makers job is to interpret designs and to construct patterns and to ensure that these patterns uphold the image of the label. The Pattern makers role involves participation in fit meetings with models and designers, grading of patterns, calculating estimates of fabric usage, checking accuracy of samples against pattern, alterations, assisting in production of markers if required, assisting in design and selecting appropriate trims for the styles and fabrics, production, liaising with outdoor makers or international makers, liaising with quality control departments, specification sheets and many other responsibilities

Generally speaking it is wise for the Pattern Maker to have knowledge not only in Pattern Making but also many other areas of design. It is a good idea to study many areas of fashion at Design School to ensure that you acquire a level of proficiency in all areas of fashion.

When I was studying fashion I studied many areas of fashion including sewing machine and stitching technology, pattern making at all levels, grading, marker making, computer pattern making and grading, evening wear, draping and many other subjects. It gave me enough skills and knowledge in order for me to be able to handle any job that was required of me. Being multi skilled I have been able to work in various roles and situations allowing me to gain experience in all areas of Fashion.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pattern making equipment

All pattern makers and designers need tools of the trade to make patterns and designs. These can include pattern hole punch, notchers, scissors, rulers, weights, awls, etc.

If you would like to purchase any pattern making and design equipment please let me know, here are the prices.

Pattern hole punch $155.00

Pattern Notcher $145.00

Grading ruler metric $30.00

Grading ruler metric & imperial $35.00

Pattern making scissors (Wiss brand) $130.00 for 10" shears

Pattern making scissors ( Wiss brand) $155.00 for 12" shears

Pattern making scissors ( Premax brand) $35.00 for 8" shears

Pattern making scissors (Premax brand) $45.00 for 10" shears

Pattern making scissors (Premax brand) $ 90.00 for 12" tailor shears

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Welcome to Making Fashion blog. My name is Anna and I've been working in the clothing industry for more than 14 years. I started this blog because I wanted to share my knowledge about the industry and in particular pattern making. I'm a pattern maker and have worked with men, women and children's patterns for many well known designers and manufacturers. You name it I've done it. I've also done lots of eveningwear requiring intricate pattern details.

Personally I'm 46 married to a wonderful man and have a beautiful little girl called Shanelle (and no I didn't put that name because of Coco Chanel) My daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me I thank God everyday for her existance! Oh and I forgot to mention our dog Zack he's part of the family too and so cute!

Next year i will be offering pattern making classes in person or by correspondence. I have a few projects on the agenda for next year so please bookmark my blog as I'm sure you will find lots of interesting articles and free stuff and links as well.

I studied pattern making and design at Box hill T.A.F.E. I recommend Box Hill T.A.F.E. as it is one of the best schools to learn everything about the industry, especially the technical side of things. Some colleges only specialise in design and don't really go into the manufacturing side of things which i think is important as some people don't realise what the clothing industry is really like, it's not just design and glamour, it's alot of hard work (and stress!!!). The courses at Box Hill T.A.F.E cater to both manufacturing and design. I studied all aspects of pattern making including womens and childrens pattern making and graduated with distinctions in these areas. I also studied draping and evening wear, I highly recommend these two specialised courses as you learn some amasing things!!

Take a look around at my blog I'm sure you will find some interesting articles, lessons and information to do with pattern making, grading, sewing and fashion in general. Feel free to ask questions or seek information, I will do my best to answer everyone. Enjoy!!