Pattern Cutter Careers

How to become pattern cutter

What does a pattern cutter do?

Pattern cutters take designers’ ideas to create pattern templates, which are used to make up clothes and garments. Pattern cutting and pattern grading are two separate jobs, but are often done by the same person. 

Pattern cutters may make up the pattern by draping material over a dummy (dress form or stand), cutting and shaping the pieces and pinning them together. When satisfied that it hangs and fits correctly, they use these pieces to cut out a paper or card pattern.

Pattern cutters also use flat pattern ‘blocks’ made of cardboard, which can be altered and developed into a style. In addition, computers are increasingly used to make up patterns and most pattern cutters use a combination of methods to create templates.

Samples of the garment are made up by a machinist. The sample garments are then inspected with the designer to see if any adjustments or alterations are required before deciding on the final pattern.


What's the working environment like for pattern cutters?

Pattern cutters normally work 37 to 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Part-time work and overtime are often available.

Pattern cutters may work in a studio with the clothing designers, or in part of the main factory where the clothes are made up. Working conditions are usually warm and light, but in a factory it could be noisy.


What does it take to become a pattern cutter?

As a clothing pattern cutter or grader you need:

  • an interest in fashion and trends

  • to be able to work quickly and very accurately

  • good numeracy skills for measurements and calculations

  • an appreciation for detail, shape and proportion

  • technical drawing skills

  • excellent practical ability

  • good teamworking skills

  • good eyesight, and normal colour vision for matching threads to fabrics

  • good concentration levels.


Further information

If you would like to know anything about pattern cutting that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Richmond House
Lawnswood Business Park
Redvers Close
LS16 6RD

The Confederation of British Wool Textiles Ltd
Merrydale House
Roydsdale Way

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