Pattern Making: 2-D Designs to 3-D Garments

Prada patterns photographed by Brigitte Lacombe

Prada patterns photographed by Brigitte Lacombe

A pattern is a two-dimensional diagram of a garment, drafted by what is known in the fashion industry as a pattern maker or pattern cutter.  The process is also known as pattern drafting, pattern cutting and flat patterning. Once a pattern is made, it is subsequently cut and sewn in fabric to make a garment. The history of pattern making can be traced as far back as the thirteenth century concurrent with the introduction of form-fitting clothing. Tailors and dressmakers authored guides on how to cut and sew men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing. Guilds were formed offering apprentices the opportunity to learn techniques of the trade. By the late 1770s, publications such as Garasault’s Descriptions des Arts et Metiers, Diderot’s Encyclopedie Diderot et D’Alembert: Arts de l’Habillement, and The Tailor’s lnstructor by Queen and Lapsiey, all contained pattern drafts for the professional tailor, as well as the home dressmaker.

Pattern MakingDuring the early 1850s, Godey’s Lady’s Book and Petersen’s Magazine began promoting small pattern diagrams of new clothing styles. Later Mme. Demorest’s full-scale patterns were offered through mail order. Butterick & Company, incorporated in 1863, offered its patterns in a full range of sizes, followed by McCall’s, Vogue, and Simplicity Pattern companies. Patents were issued that included solutions for properly identifying pattern pieces. The most comprehensive solution was patented by Hannah G. Millard in 1920. Her Dressmaker’s Pattern Outfit, instructed pattern users and supplied them with an accompanying step-by-step instruction sheet and diagram. Millard’s patent was secured as proprietary by Butterick Patterns.

PatternAlong came the Industrial Revolution, the invention of the sewing machine and the mass production of clothes. Clothing became cheaper to buy than to make and suited the faster lifestyle of women who were beginning to enter the workforce, especially after WWI. Manufacturers hired pattern makers and production patternmakers to keep up with the demand.

Today, patterns can be bought from commercial pattern companies, online stores and sites such as DoYouSew.com sell and even give away patterns. Patterns may be drafted manually by a single person or, in large manufacturing companies, drafted and graded by sophisticated computer Pattern Design Systems (PDS).

 

Straight Sleeve Sloper
Straight Sleeve Sloper
Pattern Making
Torso Sloper to Oaktag
Torso Sloper to Oaktag
Pattern Making
https://doyousew.com/

 

Sign-up for our newsletter

Join our newsletter to receive updates on future blog posts, special deals, and new lessons. Also visit the main webpage to check out all of our video lessons.

Francesca Sterlacci

Francesca Sterlacci is the CEO of University of Fashion (UoF) which she founded in 2008 as the first online fashion video library bringing the art and craft of fashion design and business to schools, libraries, organizations and the general public. As owner of her eponymous label for ten years, her collection sold in fine stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, Barneys and Nordstrom. As a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology for 11 years, she became Chair of the Fashion Design Department where she initiated the complete revision of their AAS and BFA degree programs, as well as wrote three certificate programs: Leather Fashion Design, Outerwear and Haute Couture. Francesca has also taught graduate level fashion design at the Academy of Art University San Francisco for six years, both on site and online. Her publishing accomplishments include: Leather Apparel Design, the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (First and Second Editions), the A-Z of the Fashion Industry, Leather Fashion Design and a 3-volume beginner series on Draping, Pattern Making and Sewing designed to complement the UoF lessons, set to launch January 2019. She has also made literary contributions to both the Encyclopedia of Clothing & Fashion and You Can Do It! The Merit Badge Handbook for Women. Francesca holds an AAS, BA and an MSEd (master’s degree in higher education).