Digital Patterning


This site is for industry professionals interested in faster, more profitable pattern making with digital patterning.

Going, Going, Gone... What Happened to the Pattern Makers?

Going, Going, Gone... What Happened to the Pattern Makers?

Seriously, where are the pattern makers?

  • The pattern making crisis is real. Pattern makers are disappearing.
  • If your business makes patterns you will be affected.
  • Already affected? It is not too late to act, there are remedies.

What’s the problem anyway.

Local pattern making skills  are vanishing:

  • Simply put there are fewer pattern makers.  
  • Remaining pattern makers are older - at or nearing retirement age.  
  • Training and apprenticeship programs lag industry demand.
  • Young workers are choosing other professions.

Bottom line is the shrinking pool of pattern makers has to be addressed.  Here are 4 options to consider:

Option 1: Invest in Training for Legacy Manual Pattern Making

This is an obvious solution, but not immediate.  It requires full, and ongoing commitment, not half measures.  One issue is that you freeze productivity around a legacy pattern making approach.  This may result in a weakened position against competitors who pursue more automated solutions.  

training is legacy manual pattern making skills

Bottom line:  Doable? Yes.  Sustainable? Yes. Competitive advantage? No.

Option 2: Outsource Pattern Making to Low Cost Markets

Many companies have already used this option since it can be significantly cheaper.  However sending patterns 8,500 miles  over seas also has some significant issues.  Design intent, and production time are two of the biggest.

Outsource legacy manual pattern making to overseas vendors

Producing patterns consistent with design intent is tricky enough when stakeholders are close, let alone overseas.  

  • Designs are sent over seas.
  • About two weeks later, patterns are sent back.  
  • The patterns often don’t fully reflect the original design intent.  
  • They are re-sent and several iterations later the design intent and the produced patterns are consistent.  But this takes significant time. Which is the second issue.  

8,500 miles back and forth at 2 week intervals can light your time on fire and burn it to the ground. To alleviate this many stakeholders make biweekly, or monthly overseas visits to increase areas of control that lead to faster turn around.  Making it work may cost more money despite the initial attractive price.

Bottom line: Doable? Yes.  Sustainable? Yes. Competitive advantage? No.

Option 3: Implement Digital Patterning

The digital revolution has already delivered remarkable benefits in so many areas.  It is now so mainstream, it is taken for granted.  In pattern making, the advancements involve using 3D digital designs as direct input into the pattern making process.  

Digital patterning technology has fabric simulations which account for shape, stretch, and seam positions to flatten 3D designs into 2D patterns.

Digital Patterning 3d to 2d Flattening

Option 4: Do Nothing and Pay Premium Salaries to Attract Pattern Makers

No explanation needed. Certain industries are in a position to pay more.  Those that can, will.  Those that can’t will be forced into the options listed above.

Bottom line: Doable? Yes.  Sustainable? Only for some. Competitive advantage? No.

Does Your Pattern Making Leak Profit?

Does Your Pattern Making Leak Profit?