To understand the relationship between pattern making and sewing, we're going to first look at the basic lifecycle of a new garment that you purchase from a store, AKA ready wear. We'll also look at the basic garment creation roles that each person performs. Sometimes these roles are handled by the same person, especially when a designer is just starting. However, many indie pattern makers also fulfill each of these roles themselves when they first launch a pattern line.
- The designer creates a sketch of a design
- The pattern maker creates a 2D pattern that represents the design
- The cutter cuts the fabric to match the shape of the pattern
- The sewing machinist sews the fabric together according to the pattern to create a 3D garment.
The Role of the Designer
If you've ever watched Project Runway, you probably understand that the designer is the one that sketches the designs for the garment. However, unlike on Project Runway, where the designer also has to sew the garment, most designers outsource this process to a pattern maker.
The Role of the Pattern Maker
The pattern maker creates a 2D pattern representing the design that the designer sketched. If you are reading this article, you probably fall into this category since our site is primarily about learning to create patterns.
The Role of the Cutter
The role of the cutter is to use the pattern to cut out the fabric. In large factories, this is often done with large saws as shown in the video above or here on YouTube. For many small designers, the work of cutting is often handed off to the sewing machinist.
The Role of the Sewing Machinist
The role of the sewing machinist is probably the most universally understood steps. Those outside the industry even understand this process. Universally people understand that in constructing a garment, sewing is when two or pieces of fabric are joined together using needle and thread. Sometimes that's done by hand, and other times it is done using a sewing machine. The sewing machinist is usually responsible for attaching all the fastenings and trims and pressing the garment.