How to Work With Your Patternmaker to Get the Results You Want

Building a solid relationship with your pattern creator is one of the biggest elements of a successful fashion line. While you are more so responsible for the creative aspects of the collection, your pattern maker is responsible for the technicalities that ultimately decide if the garment is a professional-looking fit. 

For budding designers in the early stages of business, you definitely need a strong start to build a solid client base. However, even if you’re an established designer, collections need to continue to live up to your name.

This is where having a pattern maker who understands your needs is incredibly useful – one who can take your creative process and turn it into the precise reality you’re looking for. The big question is, how do you get those highly sought-after results that set you apart from the rest? Here’s your guide on how to work with your pattern maker to bring your dream collection to life. 

Give Them Clear Directions

Designer giving directions to patternmaker

First and foremost, as with any successful relationship, communication is key. To communicate effectively, you need to have a thorough vision of what you want so you can relay it to your patternmaker in a clear way. 

Prior to you initiating communication, it’s important to do your own research and draft up as many sketches as you need to reach your vision. This way, when you bring your sketches to your sewing pattern maker, you already have ideas for what you want and how to go about it. 

Of course, you probably won’t know the exact steps for creation. A good sample maker will be able to meet you where you’re at. Remember though, it’s a partnership. Help them help you. 

This might mean figuring out where your shortcomings are in the manufacturing process and sharing that with them as well, so they have a better idea of where they can support you. Clear communication also means sharing your creative process with them. It helps the pattern maker step into your shoes to see your worldview, then apply that perspective to the perfect pattern.

At the end of the day, have as much information about your project as possible, from your design sketches to branding to those unique creative elements you don’t want to lose in the manufacturing process. Then, be thorough when you relay the information to them to avoid unmet expectations. 

Having detailed directions on hand is crucial to your design being made in your intended vision. The last thing you want is your collection to come out in a way you’re not happy with, which then delays your launch and costs extra money in production costs, labor costs, and more!  

Provide all the Necessary Technical Specs

Designers reviewing technical specs

Preemptive preparation is everything when you’re about to kick off a relationship with a pattern maker. You’re going to have to provide some technical details. Simply put, you’re going to have to gain some working knowledge around these specs. The first step is to know what kind of sample-making method you need to take your design from sketch to fruition.

One of the most basic techniques is flat pattern making, where the sample maker takes precise measurements from a figure or dress form, then you can turn those measurements into a pattern using paper. One of the many benefits of using this strategy is that you can create multiple other designs just from this one basic fashion design pattern.

Another pattern making technique is drafting, where you use measurements from standard sizing presets or a fit model. Then, the first drafts are completed on paper. 

Traditionally, the final option is draping. This method uses a live model or mannequin while you drape the fabrics around the body, pinning where necessary to bring the design to life. In this stage, you can actually see what your design would look like and make any modifications you see fit.

Once you figure out what kind of garment pattern method you need and discuss it with your sample maker, then you bring them the necessary tech specs. Most pattern creators and manufacturers won’t take your order unless you provide a tech pack. 

According to the Fashion Business Coach, “A tech pack can go by many different names, such as technical specification, specification pack, spec pack, BOM (bill of materials) or GWS (garment worksheet). Essentially it is a document referred to by you or your garment technician and the factory or person making your patterns and manufacturing the clothes.” 

It includes details like materials, a measurement table, a 2D technical sketch, and a label file. All of the details necessary to bring your design to life on paper.

However, we found a way around tech packs and utilize specification sheets instead. Although it does help when you have an idea of material placement, colors, fabric, and trim, we can assist with narrowing down the specifics, no matter where you are in your design journey. 

There’s more to a design than its technicalities. And again, this is where a communicative relationship comes into play. The more you involve your professional pattern maker in the process, the better they’ll be able to create the results you want. 

Be Realistic

Pattern maker planning production

Being realistic will help you plan your launch better and set reasonable expectations, so you don’t end up disappointed or stressed out. For instance, designers need to be realistic given a certain budget and the manufacturer and pattern maker’s capacity to achieve optimal results.

In fashion, timing is everything, especially for seasonal collections. So when you’re working out your timeline, consider things like the fashion pattern making process, sample making times, shipping, and if your pattern maker is in a different country, overseas delays. 

Law On the Runway says, “If you have a set deadline, let the patternmaker know. Your estimated timeline might not always be reasonable considering his existing workload, so make sure to decide on a deadline that is convenient for the both of you.” 

Normally, pattern makers can give you a reliable lead time because they know how vital transparency is to your success. Sometimes, pattern creators have rush rates with faster delivery, but it’s typically at a higher price.

To avoid racking up costs, get as organized as possible, and be strategic with your planning skills. Ask for a detailed pricing estimate, so you don’t end up with hefty surprise fees that affect your budget. 

Be Consistent 

Pattern makers reviewing samples

To achieve that high level, pattern making for a perfect fit, you shouldn’t change your ideas too frequently. This is where having accountability with strict deadlines can help, otherwise, it can be too tempting to continue tweaking and modifying your patterns. 

When you work with skilled pattern makers like those at TEG, not only do you save money in the long-run with fewer mistakes, but you also have people on your side with your best interest in mind. They can help you set and meet realistic time frames for a smoothly run process. 

Choose the Right Pattern Maker in Los Angeles

Designer and pattern maker hugging

When working with a pattern creator, you get out of the relationship what you put in. The more communicative and transparent you are, the better results you’ll see. Keep in mind any misunderstandings with pieces will reflect in your finished collection.

When it comes down to it, relationships are a two-way street, which is why choosing the right pattern maker can make or break your designs. Our pattern makers here at TEG offer everything you need and more to succeed with expert techniques, full price transparency, veteran communication skills, and the loving accountability that gets your work into the world.

We’ve been serving both emerging and established fashion designers in Los Angeles for over 15 years, and we can’t wait to help you, too.

For all inquiries and questions, please call or fill out the below form, and we will respond within 1-2 business days. Thank you!

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