Patternmaking and Tailoring Wiki

Pattern drafting is the process of creating a pattern by taking measurements from a person, form, or model, in order to then create a foundation, which is a pattern used as the basis for the design.

The steps in this process are:

  1. Measurement
  2. Pattern drawing
  3. Pattern set creation


The measurements are taken based upon a model, which is either a human being or an approximation of one, and depending upon the type of garment to be made, the measurements differ depending upon which parts of the body the garment seeks to cover, the type of garment it is, the gender of the person, and if they're female, the type of body shape they have.

When taking measurements, there are some which are shared in common between men and women as body proportion and size remains the same. However, there are other measurements which are completely unused for men for obvious reasons, such as the bust, the rib-cage and so on; these are used specifically to cater to the female physique.

Measurements needed depend upon the garment that is being produced, because the more elaborate or large a garment is, the more pattern pieces are required to create it. The collection of pattern pieces together, which are used to create a garment are called the pattern set.


When taking measurements..
it is always a good idea to use something like a spreadsheet to list the measurements in the order they were taken as the "base" measurements, and then again when the measurements begin to become split into eighths or quarters when the pattern is drawn.

Pattern drawing

Once the measurements have been taken, the foundation or basic pattern is created. This starts off with a wire frame which generally outlines the length and width of the pattern piece, and then is gradually developed into one of the pieces of the pattern set.

This process can be done either by the use of manual or electronic pattern making tools. When performed manually, the pattern is transcribed onto pattern paper, and then at the last, pinned to fabric. When performed using electronic means, such as by Fashion Computer Aided Design (Fashion CAD), the pattern set is designed and then printed onto paper, cut and pinned onto fabric.

Pattern set creation

With manual pattern making, the pattern set is usually not developed in a "block" method; individual parts are drawn onto pattern paper one at a time, and then assembled onto the material from which the patterns are being cut. Using electronic means usually begins from the dimensions of the material which is being cut as the size of the CAD document being developed.

In a non-industrial setting, the pattern would still be developed within CAD and printed to paper, but it would be manually set onto material, pinned, and then cut.

In industrial settings, individual layers of fabric are not cut with scissors, but rather, several hundred layers are laid on top of each-other and made rigid, and then a computer-aided cutter follows the pattern preset via CAD and precedes to cut out shapes from the material without the requirement of printed patterns.