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Patternmaker: Career Information About Becoming a Patternmaker

Education requirements vary for pattern makers. Read ahead to find out more about training, duties and skills required. You can also gain insight into the potential salary and employment outlook for pattern makers, as well as information on related careers.

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Job Description

Pattern makers are a vital part of the fashion and manufacturing industries. In some companies the job title for a pattern maker may be apparel pattern maker or fabric pattern maker. It is the job of the pattern maker to create a pattern either free-hand or with computer aided drafting software. Pattern makers use their knowledge of fabrics, sewing skills and ability to alter garments to draft a pattern that replicates a design concept. Eventually, a pattern maker's pattern is used by an apparel manufacturer to mass produce the garment for clothing retailers. With formal education and experience, pattern makers can pursue careers as fashion designers, manufacturing managers and fit designers.

Become a Pattern Maker

Education Requirements

There are technical and vocation schools online and in most communities that offer a 2-year degree or certificate of completion in pattern making. In addition, junior colleges and 4-year universities and colleges offer courses for students interested in pattern making and the fashion design field. The courses required for being a pattern maker are the same or similar to the courses that are needed to be a fashion designer. Pattern maker students should expect to take classes in design, anatomy, sewing and tailoring, math, drafting and apparel construction.

Job Skills Needed

Successful pattern makers know how to interpret a design concept and put it to paper. They have excellent sewing skills and are very detailed oriented. A pattern maker should be able to draw free-hand and also be familiar with computer software programs like Illustrator.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that a rapid decline (-25%) in jobs for fabric and apparel pattern makers is expected between 2012 and 2022. According to the BLS, pattern makers earned a median annual wage of $38,650 in 2012.

Alternative Career Options

Sewer and Tailor

Similar to the work of pattern makers, this category of workers may hand or machine sew a garment for custom fitting, measure clients and make alterations. Training typically occurs on the job, but taking standalone classes is encouraged. In 2012, the BLS noted that hand sewers earned a median income of $22,820, while tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers had a median income of $26,280 per year. For the 2012-2022 decade, the job outlook for hand sewers was reported as a 9% decline, and a 2% decline in jobs was expected for tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers.

Fashion Designer

Fashion designers usually have some form of postsecondary training prior to entering the industry. Fashion designers may sketch their own designs or use computer-aided design software. A 3% decline in employment was predicted for fashion designers from 2012 to 2022, according to the BLS. In 2012, the median salary of fashion designers was listed as $62,860.

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