Pattern Grading Ninja Wanna-be

30 Apr

Ever since I entered into the world of pattern-making, I have wanted to learn pattern grading.*

*Pattern grading is sizing a clothing pattern up or down.  (Ideally, a pattern is graded into a full range of sizes.)

Actually, I didn’t just wanted to learn the skills of pattern grading, I wanted to MASTER them. I want to be a pattern grading ninja!

Photo credit: Camille Butzen

Most of my sample garments are made for models in preparation for my collections’ runway debut.  This means my patterns are typically created in runway sizes, which doesn’t always make them the most sellable garment.   If I could grade my own patterns, then I could make ALL my garments in ALL the sizes!  My size! Your size!  Yeah, YOU!

Photo credit: Camille Butzen

Omaha Fashion Institute hosted a pattern grading workshop with Isabelle Lott from Pattern Works, Intl.  She is a professional pattern grader.  Isabelle has also developed a pattern grading computer software program.  So, she grades patterns for commercial pattern companies and design companies, she sells pattern grading software, and she also teaches pattern grading workshops.  Now Isabelle Lott is a true pattern grading ninja.

Photo credit: Camille Butzen

Isabelle came to Omaha to teach us some basic manual grading skills.  Since I had already tried teaching myself pattern grading from books a few times, I knew the general idea but needed to get through things that stumped me.  Isabelle answered a few of my questions and I was off rolling.  Everything finally clicked after she walked us through an example or two.  As you can see from the photos, it’s alot of measuring, math and problem-solving.  But, I’m slowly figuring it out.  At the workshop, I worked on grading one of my women’s size medium vest patterns.  Look: I turned it into SO many other sizes: extra-small through extra-large!!!!

Extra small through extra large!

I am so pumped!

I know I’m still not a pattern grading ninja, but I’m finally on my way.  Well, I’m at least in the young-grasshopper-in-training stage.

Pattern Works, Intl:

Photographer: Camille Butzen


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