How Do I Become a Pattern Maker?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2019
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The role of a pattern maker is an important one in the fashion industry and involves bringing a fashion designer’s ideas to life. Those looking to become a pattern makers must have a high school diploma and study fashion related topics in a community college or other educational institution. Prospective pattern makers can avoid the college route by gaining work experience as interns. It is also possible to rise from an entry level position, such as a grader, to become a pattern maker. Pattern makers must have skills ranging from manual dexterity to communication.

A pattern maker takes the fashion designer's idea and creates a pattern that can then be transferred to fabric. These patterns are made with the help of design software. To become a pattern maker, it is important to be creative, as there are occasions when a design will need to be created from a sketch. Pattern maker is one of the most important jobs in the fashion industry.


To become a pattern maker, you should study fashion and art and have at least a high school diploma. Although attending a 4-year university and acquiring a fashion degree is one of the best ways to the top of the industry, there are a number of pattern making programs available from various community colleges or technical schools that last only 2 years. Courses should include sewing, tailoring, mathematics, and fashion design. Pattern makers use design software extensively, so proficiency in computers is also a must.

You can also become a pattern maker without going to college. Seek design work experience or find a retail sales job. Anything that offers exposure to the world of fashion is useful.

Look for an apprenticeship or internship as a means of gaining important work experience. Interns will get the opportunity to work with talented pattern makers and to learn more about the fashion industry first hand. Applicants need to be willing to start from a low ranking position, such as that of fabric cutter. Additional training, in a bid to keep up with the latest fashion trends, is also highly recommended.

Those looking to become pattern makers must have a major interest in the fashion industry and be extremely creative. The best pattern makers have exceptional hand-eye coordination, color perception and attention to detail. Their sewing and drawing skills are also first rate. Prospective pattern makers must also be willing to stand in the same place for hours when creating a new design and have superb communication skills.


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