Industrial pattern making is a blue print for constructing the export readymade garments. It is an outline, a template to create all of the components of a garment needed to form a complete unit of clothing. Industrial patterns, regardless of size or shape, include important markings necessary to sew the pattern pieces together so that they fit precisely. These markings includes: darts, seam allowances, notches, and punch holes for trims, pockets button and button- hole placement.

Industrial pattern making is the link between design and production that turns overseas buyer's designer's sketch into a three-dimensional functional garment. A pattern is the way of interpreting the design regardless of the style, size, shape or number of pattern pieces. A two-dimensional process is called flat pattern making. When the pieces are sewn together, fitted on the dress form, the pattern is then translated into a three-dimensional form.

Industrial pattern making is a highly developed technical skill, requiring precision in the drafting and development process. It also necessitates an understanding of overseas buyer's specification and measurement size chart. Measurements mentioned in the size chart means that the garment is ready to wear and the sizes include necessary ease and tolerances required to fit the design or style feature of the given garment.

Industrial pattern makers must have an understanding of human body proportions and their measurements. Tasks for an industrial patternmaker:

  1. Examine flat sketches, design specifications to ascertain shape, size of pattern parts,
  2. Examine positions, cuts and pattern, using scissors, notch maker and knife.
  3. Trace outline of specified pattern onto material (and cut fabric, find the fabric requirement of a single size garment using scissors)
  4. Mark finished pattern with garment size, section and style information.
  5. Draw lines between reference points, producing outline of graded pattern.
  6. Draw pattern for range of garment sizes, grading master pattern for each size, using charts or grading device.


Each size pattern parts are put onto cardboard pattern and pattern is cut into parts to make template. After the pattern making is completed and approved, it is transferred onto the fabric from which the first sample garments are made. The dress forms are tried on live models and then altered for fit, balance, style and shape.

In the next step corrections are made to pattern on paper. The process of adjustment, fit and correction is repeated as it is necessary to get the perfect pattern. Industrial pattern making is the back bone of the apparel industry. Pattern masters are playing a vital role in pattern making. Buyers place orders again and again only because they receive the garments which are of best quality and fit.

Sometimes international buyers send their pattern blocks to the pattern makers. Industrial pattern makers must re-arrange the necessary pattern components as per spec-measurements and final pattern parts are made with greater accuracy. Once the pattern parts are confirmed, the same patterns are used many times for repeated orders placed by the international buyers.


A garment is a three dimensional product, whereas the raw materials such as the fabric are two dimensional. So to convert into a three dimensional garment, industrial pattern makers must introduce the depth and fullness to the fabric in specific area in order to get a proper fit for the human body. This process is done with the help of the industrial pattern making.

Industrial Pattern making contain the following details:

The seam lines are marked properly on these pattern parts and notches are to be indicated by means of a small device called notch-maker. To stitch the garment correctly the following instructions must be marked on the pattern:

  1. The name of each piece.
  2. Centre back and centre front.
  3. The number of pattern pieces to be cut.
  4. Folding symbol.
  5. Balance marks: these are used to make sure pattern pieces are sewn together at the correct points.
  6. Seam allowances: these can be marked by lines around the pattern or notches at each of the seam end. If a pattern is neat (has no seam allowance), mark clearly on the pattern.
  7. Construction lines: These include darts, button holes, pocket placing, tucks, pleats and lines. These are marked on the pattern or shown by punch holes.
  8. Grain lines: To achieve the effect as required, one must understand the principle of placing a correct grain of the fabric and mark the grain line with an arrow. Further, mark the grain lines on the working pattern before it is cut into sections. Once it is cut into pieces it can be difficult to find the correct grain on complicated pattern sections.
  9. Pattern size.
  10. Style number.

The professional industrial pattern makers must arrive at the workplace with all the tools needed for pattern making. Each tool is marked with a identify symbol and transported in a carrying case for convenience and production.

Tools: Awl, Mechanical pencils, Tailors square, Metal-Tape, Measuring-Tape, French curve, Flexible curve, vary form curve, Hip-curve, French curves, Long-ruler, Measuring wheel, Paper weights, Stapler and remover, Hand-punch, Marking chalks, other pencils and pens, erasers, notchers, Tracing wheel, Yellow and blue carbon papers, Push pins, Straight pins, Pin-cushion, Plastic ruler, Circle template, Masking-tape, Compass, Pattern paper.

Industrial pattern makers are considered to be the back bone of the apparel manufacturing industry. A good garment is always created by experienced industrial pattern makers. They must be well-versed in making patterns to suit the individual.

R.S. Balakumar has M.A (Sociology), MLM. He is a member of the Council of the ISTE member, New Delhi and specializes in Garment Technology.