7 Pattern Design Tips For a Successful Fashion Collection

Published On: April 20, 2020

Every fashion designer, whether they can sew or not, will benefit from reading our pattern design tips. Fashion design patterns are the foundation for a strong collection that’s able to be made precisely to your specifications.

Patterns influence the big picture of your collection and the small details of your designs. Ensuring that these make their way to production without errors is of the utmost importance. Fortunately, you can implement several pattern design tips to ensure flawless execution. And if you need more guidance, The Evans Group (teg) is here to help. We have experienced experts, project managers, and in-house patternmakers that can help your collection come to life.

Creating A Pattern Design

Pattern making design is an art form developed through patience and practice. These templates are the basis for turning sketches, ideas, and visions into reality. Some techniques ask you to rely heavily on replicating your patterns exactly, and others are more fluid and forgiving. Flat pattern making, pattern drafting, and draping are the foundational pattern making choices.

Closeup of Patternmaking process

Fashion design patterns are often created in a series of steps. The process begins with first drafts or preliminary patterns. After fittings and adjustments come the final production-ready patterns.

TEG has expert patternmakers that can assist with every aspect of pattern making or hone the ideas and designs you already have.

With full apparel development packages for a range of budgets and needs, we make it easy to perfect your production-ready patterns without any hidden fees.

7 Pattern Design Tips For Your Next Collection

If you want to learn more about making a pattern design for your next collection, we can help. We have pattern design tips to aid you in the process from beginning to end. From the essential tools to communicating effectively, we want to set you up to design a successful clothing line.

Have the Right Tools For the Job

If you want to know how to draw patterns and designs, it helps to have the proper tools. The Creative Curator suggests a few items that we agree are essential to every designer’s toolbox.

Pattern paper is a must-have. The translucency makes it easy to trace and refine your patterns with ease. A curved measuring tool called a ‘pattern master’ or ‘French curve’ can help you create contours, necklines, and other organic garment shapes.

A great pair of pattern scissors is essential, as are sharp, smudge-free pencils, a tape measure, and a straight edge ruler. Other small but impactful items are the awl, pattern drill, tracing wheel, pattern notchers, tape, and glue.

Of course, you can’t forget the dress form. Simply choose from adjustable and fixed forms that best fit your customer. 

Research Apparel Patterns

Whether you take your inspiration from Grandma’s vintage McCalls patterns or you prefer the digital e-pattern kind, it’s essential to research and study apparel patterns. This is a great way to get a feel for constructing garments and how the pieces are puzzled together.

You can use the basics as a backdrop to expand your own designs to create something unique to your brand. They’re also great for understanding scale and real-life sizing, including petite, regular, plus size, big and tall, and beyond.

Establish Deadlines

It doesn’t matter if you’re working alone or with a patternmaker; it’s crucial to set deadlines and stick with them. Seasonal collections have to remain current and on-trend and to have your collection season-ready, you must have a plan of action.

TEG Team Sat around Table Discussing Ideas

Solo designers still need accountability and timelines. Otherwise, it will be too tempting to continue tweaking and adjusting your patterns. Working with a patternmaker like those at TEG can help you set and meet realistic deadlines for your collection. 

Create Manufacturing Contracts

Creating a manufacturing contract means you must choose a factory, and before you can select a factory, you have to know what you want it to do. The Guardian explains that designers must decide whether they want their manufacturer to do “cut-measure-trim” or “full package production.”

They also wisely suggest doing your research. Know the company from the inside out before signing on the dotted line. Look at their track record, their reviews, and their results. TEG has been in the Los Angeles Arts District for more than 15 years and has a couturier studio in San Francisco. The relationships with our designers are intended to be enduring rather than one-off interactions.

Choose One Consistent Sample Size

When creating fashion design patterns, it’s essential to think about consistency. Within a single collection, you will have a variety of pieces, each requiring its own pattern. One element that should be maintained across all of your pattern designs is the sample size. Upon deciding the size that best fits your customer, ensure that your tops and bottoms fit the same person.

Design on a fit model

If you’re working with a fit model, a resource TEG can supply its clients. Then you will want all of your sample sizes to fit that person before they go to production. These fittings are where you can truly study the way a garment moves and drapes on a natural body instead of a dress form. Size 0 isn’t always the goal, either. A garment produced for the public is best accomplished by using a pattern that falls somewhere in the middle, usually around a size 8.

Mock Up the Pattern Design

As we mentioned earlier in this article, patternmaking involves a series of patterns ranging from preliminary to production-ready. Sometimes called a toile, a mockup is a great way to refine your patterns before sending them off for manufacturing.

An earlier version of your garment is “mocked up” using your pattern and a more affordable material than that of your final fabric, such as twill, broadcloth, or even a bedsheet. It’s best if your mockup fabric has a similar drape to the fabric you’ll use during production.

Fitting mockups are always best accomplished in person, but they can also come in handy when your fit model or client isn’t in town. Mockups can be mailed, tried on, and photographed to see where the fit needs to be adjusted.

Clear Communication With Your Manufacturer

Any miscommunications between you and your patternmaker will be reflected in your collection. Possibly the number one characteristic to look for in a manufacturer, aside from their reputation, is their style of communication. Do you feel heard? Are they easy to talk to? Are they receptive to your designs? Do they “get” you and your vision?

Fashion ideas being discussed

Choosing a fashion production company that values open and effective communication will make a world of difference throughout the pattern making process.

Bonus Tip: Copyright Your Pattern Design And Products

One of the lesser-known fashion designer tips and tricks is that you can (sometimes) copyright your products. Copyright Alliance explains the ins and outs of securing copyright for your fashion designs. 

Color is not covered under copyright law, but original sketches are. That means, says Copyright Alliance, “that no one can copy, distribute, publicly display, etc., your sketch without your permission.” It only protects original  works, however, and “does not necessarily prevent others from creating fashions that resemble your sketch.”

Graphic design and textile design are generally covered under copyright law. That means two-dimensional designs and layouts (combinations, positioning, and arrangements), and the unique design of your textile print is protected.

How to Choose the Right Patternmaker for Your Next Line

As you can see from our pattern design tips, it’s essential to do your homework. Whether you’re expanding on your pattern making skills as a designer or you’re trying to find the perfect company to entrust with your collection, experience and knowledge are key.

Patternmaker working on fashion design

TEG has lived and breathed this process time and time again. Pattern making is a way of life for our experts here, and they couldn’t be more thrilled to help see your collection through to fruition.

With apparel development packages that include some of the finest pattern making services in Los Angeles, we make our services accessible to every designer. No matter the size or genre of your project, TEG always puts the success of your collection first.

For all inquiries and questions, please call or fill out the below form, and we will respond within 1-2 business days. Thank you!

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