Patterns, Grading and Marking

Dress forms in the design room

Our Expertise + Your Ideas = Success

Pattern Making, Grading and Marking

We work on a state of the art Gerber system to create and customize your patterns. With our network of experienced patternmakers, we have the ability to draft a pattern from a sketch, a sample, or we can digitize and manipulate your own paper patterns. Your digital patterns can be easily graded, marked and archived for future production.

You might be wondering what CAD can do for you.  If you are making paper patterns by hand, the most immediate benefit will be how much time you save.  With paper, even small design changes can suck up huge amounts of time tracing and labeling. Once your patterns are digital, you never have to trace again.

If you think about the value of your time, you’ll realize that hiring a CAD patternmaker has a definite return on investment before you even begin to include all the other efficiencies:

  • Consistency in fit and sizing
  • Patterns standardized for factory sewing
  • Better production fabric utilization/yield
  • A library of easily accessible patterns that don’t take up all your studio space
Email your questions to or call 508-837-6351 for an appointment.


Making patterns on a CAD system such as ours allows for very precise drafting and measurements. But the real advantage is that each pattern is stored on the computer and adjustments can be made very quickly and easily. You can also create new styles from old ones much faster than you can do it on paper. If you have ever made patterns by hand, you know how time consuming simply tracing and cutting out the new pieces can be even if you only made minor changes. Hard copies of patterns get so dog-eared, bent, and generally abused that new copies have to be made often. Hand tracing can create slight differences from copy to copy, which accumulate over time and change the dimensions of the garment.  If your pattern is stored on a computer, printing new copies takes minutes—not hours—and the copy matches the original exactly.  Finally, if you use multiple freelance pattern makers, you may have a problem with sizing and fit varying from pattern to pattern. Using a CAD system eliminates this problem.
By cutting down on waste—sometimes dramatically. Hand made markers are time consuming, and if you change your mind about the layout you have to start over from the beginning. Because you can click, drag and nudge pieces on the screen (rather than climbing around a cutting table and hand-tracing them on paper) CAD systems allow the marker maker to play with the pieces until she gets a good layout that minimizes waste. She can also do it a lot faster. The better the layout is, the less fabric you have to buy in the first place, and much less fabric gets left on the cutting floor. Plus, outsourcing the grunt work allows your designers to spend more time on higher value product development tasks.
Expect to spend anywhere from $300 to $1000 to develop a product. The price of developing a new style and grading the sizes on its complexity: how many pattern pieces are there?  How many different fabrics, linings and interlinings are you using? Are there any special trims or closures, are you matching stripes and plaids, or are you cutting on the bias? Do you need to account for shrinkage or stretch in a particular fabric? Does the pattern need to be set up for a specific kind of sewing machine or technical construction?  How many sizes are you offering?  As you can see, each style is unique, so it's hard to give a blanket estimate online.  We will work with you to discuss each garment and give you a written estimate before we begin work.
Yes. A good sketch will show both front and back views. You should include important design details like the placing of seams, darts, closures and other design features. It is most important that we know what type of fabric you plan to use in this garment. If there is an important detail, add a closeup drawing just of that. If you feel your drawing isn't clear, or you need to give information about linings or other interior features, add notes! Don't worry if your sketch isn't a work of art. Simple flat line drawings are clearest and carry more information than fashion illustrations.
Specs include measurements, fabric sourcing info, colorway charts, information about matching stripes or plaids, lists of trims and closures to be used, and instructions for labels, tags and packaging, and any other detailed instructions specific to your garment. Specs are great when used in addition to sketches, or for existing styles where you change fabrication. The more information you can give our pattern maker up front, the more likely the results will meet your expectations.  Product designers who give us detailed information tend to go through fewer iterations of a design before it is approved for production.  If you are new and don't have specs, we can help you create them as part of our consulting services. Don't confuse specs and patterns though! Even if you have detailed specs, you still need to make a pattern.
Working from preexisting samples is a good idea if you already have a garment that has the fit, silhouette or style that you are trying to achieve, but the closer the sample is to the final product the better--it should be similar in weight, type of fabric, and seam placement (it is very difficult to make a new pattern for a woven set-in sleeve shirt from a knit raglan sleeved sweatshirt)! You can attach notes to explain any changes or adjustments.  Think hard before you purchase someone else's product in a store and copy it though.  You want your product to be yours!
This is the easiest of all. Bring us a pattern and we will digitize it into our CAD system. Once that is done, we can make changes and adjustments immediately.
You really shouldn't use them. For starters, you're probably violating copyright law. If that's not scary enough, it's probably bad for your product line as well--your sizing will be all over the map, and you won't really be providing a unique product. Store-bought patterns are optimized for home sewers with limited equipment, and won't be efficient in a factory setting.  Even basic patterns will have seam allowances that conflict with industry standards, and may cost you extra in production set up, wiping out whatever savings you may have had from buying a tissue pattern.
Absolutely. Our sewing floor supervisor works closely with the pattern maker to ensure that your pattern is 'sewable'. Frequently we can suggest changes to your pattern that will increase production efficiency without changing style or fit.The major advantage to this is that we can make sure right away that it fits right and is easy to sew—and therefore cheaper to produce and easier for you to sell!
You can always get a paper copy of the pattern printed out—in any size you want—on one of our high speed plotters. We no longer offer hand-cut manila paper patterns. We have found that changes are made so easily with CAD equipment that manila patterns have become obsolete!
We can help you develop new grade rules, or we can analyze your past styles and come up with suggestions for updating your current grade rules. It will be helpful if you have a clear idea of who you are making the product for; proportions will vary based on the age and demographic of your customer.
It varies, depending on how much information you are able to give us to start with, our current work load, how complex the patterns are, and how many samples and revisions you have us make before the pattern is approved.  Many of our customers are able to give us a schedule of what they need weeks or months out, and last minute or rush jobs are handled on a first come, first served basis as time in our schedule allows.  If you have a time constraint or deadline, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can schedule accordingly.
Yes. We use Gerber CAD equipment, so we have the capability to create cut files for a wide variety of Gerber's production equipment (and others-just ask). We can also export files and deliver them by email anywhere in the world!
Pretty much indefinitely. We have a reliable server that has plenty of storage space and is backed up daily. If your storage areas get too full of old styles, we can make archival copies here or deliver them to you any way you like. We will never 'throw out' your data.
For the first job, we will give you a written estimate that you must approve before work begins.  If you are a new customer and we have not established credit terms, expect to pay a 50% deposit before work begins.  Once you have established a credit record with us, our standard terms are Net 7 Days. We bill the balance the same day that the patterns, samples or markers are finished and delivered or shipped.  We accept business checks, money orders, and certified checks. We do not accept credit cards.
When your patterns are done, try our sample making services for fit samples and sales samples!