Pattern-making: Why is it so important?
A pattern is essentially the template from which a garment is created.
The term ‘pattern-making’ refers to the process of creating all the correctly sized pieces needed to create a garment.
Patterns are generally made out of paper or cardboard & consist of many different shapes which are then traced onto fabric, cut & assembled to form a garment.
This means that the size, proportions & shape of the garment are all dependent on every piece of the pattern being perfect - just one incorrect measurement could result in the whole garment failing.
That is why we spend so much time modifying, revising, tweaking & perfecting our patterns to ensure that every one of our garments is tailored to fit & flatter as many people as possible.
The manual pattern-making process is the most time consuming & costly part of garment production. This stage itself can go back & forth for months.
While some patterns can be simple relatively simple, others can be extremely complex containing 40 to 50 seperate pieces, all of which need to come together perfectly.
The number of pattern pieces ultimately dictates how long it takes a garment to be sewn. More pieces mean the garment will take longer to cut, assemble & sew but if done correctly it will produce a better fit.
This is one of the many reasons that clothing prices can vary greatly. Brands trying to sell cheap, mass produced garments will reduce the number of pattern pieces in their garments to save time & money. This practise negatively impacts the shape & fit of their garments & ultimately means they produce inferior products.
By comparison high quality brands won’t sacrifice pattern pieces to reach a low price point or fast turnaround. Understandably, the cost involved in creating garments that have many pattern pieces will often impact the retail price.
The fit, feel & look of the garment are all dependant on the accuracy & skill of the patternmaker - an inch under the arms to ensure the sleeves don’t pinch, a dart in the fabric to create the perfect drape, etcetera.
Pattern-making requires a high level of skill & technical ability as well as a deep understanding of how a garment needs to be constructed to serve the person wearing it.
In short, the pattern is what allows a simple sketch on a piece of paper to become a reality.