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Pattern grader

Pattern graders take original clothing designs and adapt the measurements to produce a range of different garment sizes.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 39 per week

1. Entry requirements

Most pattern graders work their way up from a more junior position like pattern grading assistant or sewing machinist.

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You can take a course in fashion or garment technology. There are also introductory college courses in fashion, covering basic pattern grading and cutting skills.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the skill to work quickly and accurately
  • the ability to apply your knowledge of fabrics and their properties
  • maths skills for measurements and calculations
  • technical drawing skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • laying out a pattern on a digitising table
  • tracing its outline with a light pen or scanning equipment
  • plotting measurements at key points to feed into the computer to adjust the pattern's size and proportions
  • carrying out quality checks to make sure the final pattern matches the original
  • working closely with the design team to make up sample garments from the pattern
  • sending copies of the final pattern information in the correct format to the manufacturer for production

Most of your work will be on a computer. Digital scanning techniques are gradually replacing traditional hand-drafting techniques and size charts.

You may combine pattern grading duties with pattern cutting.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000 to £16,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37 to 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. You'll be based in a workshop or in a part of the main factory where the clothes are made.

You'll usually be part of a team alongside pattern cutters and sample machinists.

6. Career path and progression

Becoming a member of the Textile Institute may improve your career prospects.

With experience, you could be promoted to head pattern grader. You could also move into design or buying after further training.

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Last updated: 09 October 2018