- Use technology to create clothing patterns in a range of sizes based on original designs and samples
- You'll need excellent technical skills and an understanding of fabrics and garment structure
- Opportunities to move into pattern cutting, fashion design or buying with further training and experience
Most of your work will be on a computer. Digital scanning techniques are gradually replacing traditional hand-drafting techniques and size charts. You may combine pattern grading duties with pattern cutting.
- Laying out a pattern on a digitising table, tracing its outline with a light pen or scanning equipment
- Plotting measurements at key points to feed into the computer to adjust the pattern's size and proportions
- Carrying out quality checks to make sure the final pattern matches the original
- Working closely with the design team to make up sample garments from the pattern
- Sending copies of the final pattern information in the correct format to the manufacturer for production
You'll be based in a workshop or in a part of the main factory where the clothes are made. You'll usually be part of a team alongside pattern cutters and sample machinists.
You'll need the skill to work quickly and accurately, the ability to apply your knowledge of fabrics and their properties, maths skills for measurements and calculations, and technical drawing skills.
Most pattern graders work their way up from a more junior position like pattern grading assistant or sewing machinist.
You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship.
You can take a course in fashion or garment technology.
There are also introductory college courses in fashion covering basic pattern grading and cutting skills.
With experience, you could be promoted to head pattern grader. You could also move into design or buying after further training.