<< back to Learning

The Plight of the Quality Pattern Cutter


A highly skilled pattern cutter is invaluable asset to any design studio or brand, understanding patterns for mass production is a skill that affects every step of garment production, Digital Pattern Cutting Consultant, Maggie Stott explains…

“The pattern cutter has been side-lined and yet it is the most important part of garment development. You can have all the latest equipment, trained cutters and machinists, good fabric, a high tech factory.  But if the pattern is not of the highest quality there will be problems every step of the way.” 

When working with a factory and high volume orders it is essential for the pattern cutter to have a very close relationship with the factory, Maggie continues:

“The Pattern Cutter used to have a very close relationship with the factory, a direct two-way link, where factory practice could feed back to the pattern cutter, and the pattern cutter could verify construction methods required.  Now, the Pattern Cutter is often shut in a studio miles from the manufacture, with communication fed through third parties and language translators.  From first-hand experience I can tell you that this is frustrating.”

Another major problem occurring with today’s garment manufacturers is that quantity has surpassed quality, a notion that does not sit well with a professional pattern cutter:

“It takes time to make a pattern that will not require endless amendments and corrections,” says Maggie. “I have seen recruiters ask: ‘How many patterns can you make in a day?’ I can make a few, perhaps three or four tee-shirt patterns in a day but a brand new coat may take two days?  So how do I answer that question?”

“Patterns are valued on the completely wrong criteria,” Maggie adds. “And it shows a lack of understanding on the recruiter.  Ask perhaps, ‘how many patterns do you make which only require a tweak before production, due to your work rather than design amendments required by the buyer or designer?’ Pattern cutters make the templates for production runs for thousands of garments. It’s a huge responsibility, and the pattern needs to be correct for very element of that production run.” 

It’s time to change how the industry values the role of a pattern cutter and recognise how important and skilled the role is to the entire production process and ultimately sales on the shop floor. Maggie concludes: “Give these young pattern cutters the recognition they deserve along with the training and support that is needed to become a quality pattern cutter.”

Maggie far right teaching at the Fashion Technology Academy

Are you a pattern cutter that would like to develop further skills and expertise? Then click here to find out about Maggie’s CPD courses held at the Fashion Technology Academy in North London.



<< back to Learning