The development of a garment comprises of different process. Fit is the most important factor leading to the final acceptance or rejection of a garment. Fit must be designed into the original pattern through subtleties in the pattern that provide fullness unobtrusively at appropriate locations to accommodate body bulges in a flattering manner (Hudson). Good customized fit is dependent on the pattern drafting incorporating various shapes and proportions of the individual customer. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, standardized patterns were essential to the success of ready-to-wear clothing.


Pattern making is an art. It is the art of manipulating and shaping a flat piece of fabric to conform to one or more curves of the human figure . Pattern making is a bridge function between design and production. A sketch can be turned into a garment via a pattern which interprets the design in the form of the garment components (Cooklin).


A pattern is flat while the body is not. The body has height, width and depth. With in this roughly cylindrical framework there are a series of secondary curves and bulges, which are of concern to the pattern maker. Darts are the basis of all pattern making. They convert the flat piece of cloth into a three dimensional form, which fits the bulges of the body.


A patternmaker typically makes a pattern from a flat sketch with measurements or a two dimensional fashion illustration. The basic pattern is the very foundation upon which pattern making, fit and design are based. The basic pattern is the starting point for flat pattern designing. It is a simple pattern that fits the body with just enough ease for movement and comfort (Shoben and Ward).


Methods of Pattern Making


Pattern making involves three methods-

  • Drafting
  • Draping
  • Flat paper patternmaking


Drafting: It involves measurements derived from sizing systems or accurate measurements taken on a person, dress or body form. Measurements for chest, waist, hip and so on, and ease allowances are marked on paper and construction lines are drawn to complete the pattern. Drafting is used to create basic, foundation or design patterns.


Draping: It involves the draping of a two dimensional piece of fabric around a form, conforming to its shape, creating a three-dimensional fabric pattern. This muslin is transferred to paper to be used as a final pattern (Armstrong). Ease allowances for movement are added to make the garment comfortable to wear. Advantage of draping is that the designer can see the overall design effect of the finished garment on the body form before the garment piece is cut and sewn. However, it is more expensive and time consuming than flat pattern making.


Flat Pattern Making: It involves the development of a fitted basic pattern with comfort ease to fit a person or body form. A sloper is the starting point for flat pattern designing. It is a simple pattern that fits the body with just enough ease for movement and comfort (Shoben and Ward). Five basic pattern pieces are used for womens clothing. They include a snug-fitting bodice front and bodice back with darts and a basic neckline, a sleeve and a fitted skirt front and back with darts. However, as fashion changes frequently womens styles fluctuate frequently. These basic slopers are then manipulated to create fashions.