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PATTERN GRADING

Pattern grading is a complex process that is essential for clothing manufacturers. It involves taking a standard pattern and adapting it to different sizes so that the same design can be used across a range of sizes. Pattern grading is a precise and time-consuming process, but it is essential to producing well-fitting garments in various sizes. Whether you are a fashion designer, a pattern maker, or someone who just wants to learn more about pattern grading, this guide will provide you with the necessary information.

sample mannequins for clothes' pattern grading

UNDERSTANDING PATTERN GRADING

Pattern grading is a crucial process in garment construction that involves adjusting the size of a pattern to fit various body types. Simply put, it is the process of scaling a pattern up or down to create different sizes of the same garment. Pattern grading is essential because people come in different sizes and shapes, and a garment that fits one person may not fit another. Therefore, pattern grading ensures that a pattern fits the largest range of body sizes and shapes possible.

To achieve the best results in pattern grading, one must have a solid understanding of the human body and its proportions. With this knowledge, it is easier to grade a pattern in a way that maintains the design integrity while also accommodating different body shapes and sizes. Additionally, pattern grading can help to minimize the number of pattern pieces required, which can be beneficial in production processes.

TOOLS REQUIRED FOR MANUAL PATTERN GRADING

Pattern grading requires specific tools to ensure accurate and efficient results. Here are some of the essential tools that are commonly used in pattern grading:

1. Grading rulers: These rulers have multiple measurement lines that correspond to different size increments. They are used to measure and mark the necessary grading points on the pattern.

2. Curved rulers: Also known as French curves or hip curves, these rulers have curved edges that are helpful for drawing smooth and accurate lines when grading patterns.

3. Tape measure: A flexible tape measure is essential for taking body measurements, which are necessary for determining the grading points and creating the different sizes of the pattern.

4. Marking tools: These include pencils, pens, or fabric markers for marking the grading points on the pattern. It's important to choose tools that won't leave permanent marks or damage the pattern.

5. Pattern weights: These are used to hold the pattern in place while grading. They can be in the form of heavy objects or specialised pattern weights made of metal or plastic.

6. Cutting tools: Scissors or rotary cutters are necessary for cutting out the pattern pieces once grading is complete.

7. Tracing paper: Tracing paper or pattern paper is used to create additional pattern pieces for different sizes. It allows the original pattern to remain intact while the graded sizes are created.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF PATTERN GRADING IN GARMENT CONSTRUCTION

Pattern grading is an essential part of garment construction that determines the fit and shape of a garment for various body sizes and types. The importance of pattern grading lies in the fact that it enables manufacturers to create garments that fit perfectly on a range of different body types. With pattern grading, designers can take their original pattern design and alter it to create different sizes for different customers. This means that manufacturers can produce garments in multiple sizes, thereby reaching a wider audience and catering to diverse body shapes. 

A poorly graded pattern can result in an ill-fitting garment, which can cause discomfort, affect the aesthetic appeal, and ultimately lead to a loss of sales. By accurately grading a pattern, manufacturers can avoid these problems and create garments that fit well and look good on a wide range of customers. 

 

Pattern grading can help save time and reduce costs in garment production. It eliminates the need to create separate patterns for different sizes, saving both time and materials. Additionally, manufacturers can adjust the pattern based on customer feedback, allowing for a quicker turnaround time in the design and production process. 

Pattern grading is a critical aspect of garment construction that plays a crucial role in the fit, comfort, and appearance of the final product. It allows manufacturers to cater to a wide range of body shapes and sizes while saving time and costs in production.

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TOOLS REQUIRED FOR DIGITAL PATTERN GRADING

In the digital age, many designers and pattern makers have turned to computer software to make pattern grading more efficient and accurate. There are a variety of software programs available for digital pattern grading, but some of the most popular options are Letra, Gerber, and Vetigraph.
 

Letra is a powerful and intuitive software that is well-suited for designers and pattern makers of all levels. Its easy-to-use interface makes it easy to input and manipulate pattern measurements, and it includes a wide range of tools and features for creating, modifying, and grading patterns.
 

Gerber is another popular software option for digital pattern grading, with a wide range of tools and features for creating and modifying patterns. Its advanced 3D simulation tools make it particularly useful for designers who want to see how a pattern will look in different fabrics and colours.
 

Vetigraph is a powerful software option that is particularly well-suited for designers and pattern makers who work with complex designs and multiple pattern pieces. Its advanced tools for creating and modifying patterns make it a popular choice for designers in the fashion industry.
 

In addition to these software programs, digital pattern grading also requires specialised hardware such as a digital cutting machine, a digitiser, and a plotter for printing full-size patterns. While these tools can be expensive, they can also save time and improve accuracy in the pattern grading process.

PATTERN GRADING RANGES

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PATTERN GRADING FOR WOMENSWEAR

Pattern grading for womenswear involves specific considerations to cater to the various body shapes and sizes of women. Women's bodies can vary widely, from hourglass figures to apple or pear-shaped bodies, and pattern grading takes these differences into account.

When grading patterns for womenswear, it is important to consider the proportions of the body, such as the bust, waist, and hip measurements. The grading rules may differ based on the garment style and the intended fit. For example, a dress may require grading that emphasizes the waist and accommodates curves, while a blouse may require grading that provides ease across the bust and waist.

Pattern grading for womenswear also considers variations in shoulder widths, sleeve lengths, and overall garment lengths. These adjustments ensure that the garments fit properly and are comfortable for women of different sizes.

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PATTERN GRADING FOR CHILDRENSWEAR

Pattern grading is a crucial part of garment construction, and it's especially important when it comes to childrenswear. Kids grow quickly, which means that patterns need to be graded with that in mind. 

When grading patterns for childrenswear, it's important to consider the different stages of growth that kids go through. It's also important to consider the weight and proportions of children. For example, the sleeve and bodice measurements will differ for a 2-year-old child compared to a 7-year-old.

When it comes to grading patterns for childrenswear, it's important to work with a detailed set of measurement charts and guidelines. It can be helpful to use standardized sizing systems like those used by major retailers so that your patterns will be consistent with industry standards.

 

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PATTERN GRADING FOR MENSWEAR

Pattern grading for menswear follows similar principles as grading for womenswear but considers the unique characteristics of men's bodies. When grading patterns for menswear, it's important to consider the proportions of the male body, such as shoulder width, chest circumference, waist size, and hip measurements. Men's bodies tend to have less pronounced curves compared to women's bodies, so the grading rules may focus more on adjustments for a straighter silhouette.

Pattern grading for menswear also considers variations in sleeve lengths, pant lengths, and overall garment proportions. These adjustments ensure that the garments fit properly and are comfortable for men of different sizes and body types.

 

Some men prefer a looser fit, while others prefer a more tailored or slim fit. These fit preferences can be reflected in the grading rules to ensure that the garments cater to a wide range of customer preferences.

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PATTERN GRADING FOR TALL RANGES

Pattern grading for tall ranges is essential for creating well-fitting garments for individuals who are above average height. Tall ranges can vary, but typically start at 6 feet or above for men and 5'8" or above for women. These individuals require additional length in various areas of their clothing, such as the sleeves, torso, and legs. 

When grading patterns for tall ranges, it's important to add extra length while maintaining the original shape and proportions of the garment. This can be done by extending the lines of the original pattern and adding extra inches to the hem, sleeve, and torso length. It's important to ensure that the extra length is added in a way that looks proportional to the garment.

Another important aspect of pattern grading for tall ranges is the position of certain design features such as pockets, buttons, and zippers. These need to be moved to suit the new dimensions of the garment, and care needs to be taken to ensure they are still easily accessible and usable. 

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PATTERN GRADING FOR PETITE RANGES

When it comes to pattern grading, it's important to understand the specific needs of each type of garment or body type. One area that often requires specific attention is pattern grading for tall ranges.

 

This is because taller individuals typically have longer armed and legs, and a different body proportion than standard-size garments. 

To accommodate these differences, pattern grading for tall ranges often involves lengthening specific areas of a garment, such as sleeves, pant legs, and torso length. This can be done by using specialized grade rules that are specific to tall body types. 

Additionally, it's important to consider the specific style and design of the garment when grading for tall ranges. For example, a fitted shirt may need to be graded differently than a loose-fitting tunic. 

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PATTERN GRADING FOR STRETCH GARMENTS

Pattern grading for stretch garments is a little different than grading for non-stretch garments. The stretch factor of the fabric needs to be considered during grading to ensure that the garment fits properly. Stretch fabrics usually have a percentage of stretch factor, and it’s important to know the percentage to avoid overstretching or under-stretching the fabric during grading.

When grading stretch fabrics, the size of the grade must be reduced because the garment will naturally stretch to fit the body. For example, a shirt pattern for a size medium may only need a 2-3% grade in width to fit a size large when made from a stretch fabric. This is because the fabric will stretch to accommodate the larger size.

It’s important to note that different stretch fabrics have different amounts of stretch.

 

For instance, a jersey knit may have a different amount of stretch compared to a spandex blend fabric. As such, it’s important to know the fabric type and stretch percentage to achieve accurate grading.

STEPS INVOLVED IN PATTERN GRADING

Pattern grading is the process of scaling a pattern up or down to create different sizes. This involves a few key steps:

1. Choose a Base Size: The first step in pattern grading is to choose a base size. This is the size that the original pattern is created in and will be used as a reference point for grading up or down.

2. Determine Grading Increments: Once the base size is chosen, the next step is to determine the grading increments. This is the amount that each size will be increased or decreased by. For example, if the base size is a size 8 and the grading increment is 2 inches, each size up or down will be increased or decreased by 2 inches.

3. Grade Each Pattern Piece: The next step is to grade each pattern piece. This involves measuring the original pattern piece and using the grading increments to adjust it for each size.

4. Check for Fit: After grading each pattern piece, it's important to check the fit of each size. This may involve adjusting the pattern to ensure a good fit for each size.

5. Create a Grading Chart: Finally, a grading chart is created which shows the measurements for each size and the corresponding pattern piece adjustments. This chart is used to create patterns for each size in the graded range.

DIFFERENCES IN GRADE RULES FOR DIFFERENT BODY TYPES

Pattern grading is an essential part of garment construction that involves increasing or decreasing the size of a pattern to fit different body types. When it comes to pattern grading, it's important to understand that everybody is different, and different body types require different grading rules.

 

For instance, plus-size bodies require different grading rules than straight-size bodies. Plus-size bodies have different proportions than straight-size bodies, and therefore require more width across the chest, back, and hips, while still maintaining a flattering shape. On the other hand, petite bodies require a shorter sleeve length and smaller waist and hip circumference.

Another body type that requires specific grading rules is the athletic body type. This body type is characterized by a well-defined waist and broad shoulders and requires grading rules that maintain a balanced look. In contrast, hourglass figures require grading rules that emphasize the curves and fit comfortably around the bust and hips.

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