- Create patterns and sample garments based on a fashion designer's drawings
- You'll need excellent practical and technical skills in creating garments
- With further training and experience you could move into fashion design or buying
As a pattern cutter, you'll use drawings from fashion designers to create patterns for clothing.
Your day-to-day duties may include draping pieces of material over a dummy, shaping and pinning them around the 'body' until they fit correctly, then cutting out a pattern based on the pieces. You'll:
- Alter and shape flat, standard pattern 'blocks' into a style
- Modify non-standard pattern 'bases' taken from the company's pattern library
- Work with machinists to make up samples
- Use computer-aided design programs to make up some patterns
- Use traditional hand-drawing methods
- Work closely with the in-house sample machinist or manufacturer to make up an example garment
- Work with designers and garment technologists to produce the final pattern
You could work in a workshop, in a factory, or in a creative studio.
To be a pattern cutter, you'll need thoroughness and attention to detail, the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure, to work well with others as well as on your own, patience in stressful situations, the ability to work well with your hands, knowledge of manufacturing production and processes, and excellent verbal communication skills.
There are no set requirements. You could start as a pattern cutting assistant or sample machinist with a clothing manufacturer or fashion design company and work your way up.
To get into this role, you could also do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in fashion or garment technology.
You could do a college course in pattern cutting, fashion or garment technology.
You could get into this job through a fashion and textiles pattern cutter advanced apprenticeship.
Alternatively, you can also do short courses in pattern cutting through universities, adult education centres and specialist providers like University Arts London.
To show off your skills and creative ideas, you'll need a portfolio of your work.
With experience, you could progress to head pattern cutter or grader or, with further training, fashion designer or buyer.