Complete Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Brands

This is the complete guide to patternmaking for fashion brands, fashion entrepreneurs, budding seamstresses, and seasoned dressmakers.

This patternmaking guide covers all the essentials you need to know, including:

Let’s break it down…

Why the Need for a Guide to Patternmaking?

As a fashion entrepreneur, one of the most important skills you can have is knowing how to create patterns. Whether you’re starting a clothing line from scratch or taking over an existing brand, being able to design and construct your own patterns is crucial to ensuring the quality and fit of your garments.

In this guide to patternmaking, we’ll cover all the basics from an overview of the different types of patterns to more advanced concepts like grading and marker making. By the end, you’ll have a solid foundation on which to build your patternmaking skills and take your fashion brand to the next level. 

What is a Pattern? 

A pattern is essentially a template that is used to create a garment. Patterns can be made from paper, muslin, or another fabric, and they are typically created by draping fabric on a dress form or live model. Once the desired shape and silhouette have been achieved, the pattern is then cut out and used as a guide for cutting the fabric for the actual garment. 

What are the different kinds of patterns?

There are two main types of patterns: flat and constructed

  • Flat patterns are created by folding fabric and then cutting it out.
  • Constructed patterns are sewn together from smaller pieces of fabric.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, which we’ll go into more detail later on. 

What Are the Four Basic Components of a Pattern ?

Every pattern has four basic components: the grainline, notches, darts, and seam allowance:

  • The grainline is a line drawn on the fabric that indicates where it should be placed on the body.
  • Notches are small cuts made at specific points on the pattern that correspond to points on the body; they help with aligning pattern pieces when sewing them together.
  • Darts are V-shaped folds that help give shape to garments; they are usually found at the bust or waistline.
  • Finally, seam allowance is the amount of space left between the edge of the pattern piece and the stitching line; this allows for errors when cutting out the pattern as well as giving you room to adjust the fit of the garment once it’s been sewn together. 

What is Marker Making ?

Once you have your basic understanding of patterns down, you’re ready to start marker making. Marker making is the process of creating a layout plan for cutting out fabric using your patterns. It’s important to do this step carefully in order to minimize waste and maximize efficiency when cutting out your garments. 

What Are the Main Methods for Marker Making?

There are two main methods for marker making: flatbed spreaders and automated spreaders:

  • Flatbed spreaders are manual machines that lay out your fabric in layers; they’re typically used for smaller runs of garments (under 500).
  • Automated spreaders are computer-operated machines that can handle larger runs of garments (500+) with greater precision. 

Whichever method you choose, there are a few key things to keep in mind when marker making: balance, efficiency, waste reduction, grain direction, markings/notches, etc. 

Types of Patterns

There are three main types of patterns: flat patterns, draping patterns, and slopers. 

Flat Patterns

Flat patterns are created by laying out the fabric on a flat surface and then cutting and sewing it together. The advantage of flat patterns is that they can be easily reproduced and mass-produced. The downside is that they can be less flattering than draping patterns since they don’t take into account the contours of the body. 

Draping Patterns

Draping patterns are created by draping fabric directly on top of a dress form or model’s body. The advantage of draping patterns is that they can be very flattering since they take into account the contours of the body. The downside is that they can be more time-consuming and expensive to produce than flat patterns since each one is unique. 


Slopers are basic templates that can be used to create other patterns. They don’t include any design details such as darts or pleats; they are simply basic shapes such as bodices, skirts, or pants. Slopers can be either draped or flat, but they are typically drafted from measurements (we will discuss how to do this later in this guide). 

Now that we’ve covered the different types of patterns, let’s move on to taking measurements. 

How to Take Measurements for Patternmaking

There are two main types of measurements in patternmaking: body measurements and finished garment measurements:

  • Body measurements are taken directly from your body using a measuring tape.
  • Finished garment measurements are taken from an existing garment that fits you well using a ruler or “Flexible Curve Ruler”

Both types of measurement types are important for creating a well-fitting garment.

Patternmaking is an essential skill for any fashion entrepreneur serious about starting or running their own clothing line. In this guide to patternmaking, we’ve covered all the basics of patternmaking, from an overview of different types of patterns to more advanced concepts like grading and marker making.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating beautiful garments that fit perfectly and reflect your unique vision for your fashion brand.


Catch the Builders.Build podcast with my best friends, Colin and James, to discover more about our individual TikTok perspectives and entrepreneurial journeys across brands, products, websites, and more.

Thank you for reading this guide to patternmaking!
If you found this content insightful and helpful, please be sure to like and share this article with your circle. Also, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter for more product development tips!
– Oren

There’s never been a better time to start your own brand than right now. Browse the Product World library for more guides, expert tips, resources, factory links, and brand insight now.


Be sure to share your thoughts and ideas with me everywhere you see my personal brand displayed: @OrenMeetsWorld. You’ll find 5,000+ links to my creator content on:


​​NanoFlips – Learn the art of buying, growing, and selling websites with James Camp:
Free Smoke –
 A Cannabis business newsletter by Colin Landforce:

Join thousands of happy readers already on my Product People newsletter when you subscribe. I’d be excited to have you in the community!


A Guide to Using Personas in Product Development
Personas help product teams focus development efforts on preferred customer types. Learn more about using personas in product development now | Product World

A Guide to Using Personas in Product Development

Using personas in product development can help your product teams focus on the

How to Start a Jewelry Brand
Now's the time to start a jewelry brand! This is the guide that'll help you differentiate your product in a competitive market | Product World

How to Start a Jewelry Brand

In the ever-changing landscape of the fashion industry, jewelry brands are more

You May Also Like