4 Questions to Ask Your Pattern Maker in Los Angeles
Looking for a quality pattern maker? Los Angeles, one of the world’s largest fashion hubs, is a great place to begin your search. As a fashion designer, it’s extra important to find a pattern maker who can turn your dream collection to life. But, it’s also important to find the right pattern maker for you. For instance, you need one who will follow your direct specifications to a tee, not rack up unnecessary costs, and be the go-to authority in your niche to limit errors.
Ultimately, it’s the pattern maker who is the middle ground between that special idea in your head and reality. Without their sewing, alteration, and fabric know-how, collections lack a certain “oomph” that ties everything together in a strong way.
But how do you find the right one? What questions should you ask to ensure the best decision? We’ll explore everything below.
What Does a Pattern Maker Do?
You hear a lot about photographers, tailors, and designers in the fashion world, but not much about pattern makers. However, they’re one of the most valuable assets you could have on your team. A pattern maker’s goal is to make sure your idea perfectly matches the end result, although they work less on the creative side and more on the technical side.
With lots of patience, practice, and fashion experience, they’re responsible for the smallest technicalities, like how long sleeves are, where to place embellishments, and at the end of the day, drafting the final production-ready piece. They create the blueprint that sets the standard for your entire collection.
Usually, the pattern making manufacturing process goes along a series of steps, from flat pattern making and pattern drafting to actually draping the patterns on a mannequin or live model. FashionMingle says, “Just one wrong measurement or incorrect placement could result in the entire garment falling apart, so precision is key.”
So even if fashion designers have some basic sewing skills, they can absolutely benefit from hiring a pattern maker. This way they can stay in their zone of genius with the creative elements, instead of wasting energy on actually keeping their piece afloat.
As The Art Career Project states, “Before creating a pattern, a pattern maker must first have a good idea or image of what type of pattern needs to be made.” This is where fashion designers relay their ideas. Then, the pattern makers take the visualization to the next level with drawing, measuring, and cutting out pieces of pattern.
Once a clothing pattern design is complete, they usually sew together a mock-up garment, making any adjustments if necessary. This pattern and those thereafter will be the foundation of your collection, as they portray underlying messages, tone, and your overall creative vision– another reason why having a pattern maker can make or break your collection. After finalizations, the garments are available for production and ready to sell.
Four Questions to Ask Your Los Angeles Pattern Maker
The bad news? There aren’t many designated standards pattern makers have to comply with, which means anyone could call themselves a pattern maker if they wanted to. But with so much on the line for picking an experienced sample maker, you might be wondering where to find skilled clothing pattern makers. Los Angeles has so much to give in respect to fashion. Start here location wise.
Then, use the questions below to narrow down if they’re right for you.
1. What are Their Methods of Pattern Making?
There are multiple methods of pattern making, depending on what you need for your specific collection. So before you approach a pattern maker, have a basic idea of which technique you need to take your designs to the next level. From flat pattern making to drafting, catch up on your vocab.
This way when you approach a pattern maker asking about their methods, you can measure their knowledge and experience.
- Do they have experience with your type of fabric and trims?
- Does their expertise match your needs?
- Do they know the stitch types that affect your pattern?
- Will patterns come with a direction sheet including seam allowances, specs, trims, estimated fabric yields, and construction notes?
The more history they have with what you need, the better, as it means fewer errors and valuable time wasted along the way. Particularly for seasonal collections, things need to move quickly!
Also, during your research, it helps to figure out what your shortcomings are in understanding the process. You can communicate these with your pattern maker, so they have a better idea of what you need from them, and you’ll have a better idea if they can meet you where you’re at. Miscommunication with your pattern maker can be dangerous because it will mirror throughout your collection. So, pay attention to how they respond to you:
- Do you feel heard?
- Is it easy to talk to them?
- How receptive are they to your ideas?
- Do you feel understood?
- Does your vision feel understood?
2. What is the Pattern Making Cost?
The last thing you want is to receive an estimate that is not totally reflective of the actual pattern making cost. Your pattern maker should define the numbers upfront.
WeConnectFashion says, “Less experience often translates to more expensive in the end. A beginner pattern maker can probably handle simple styles but will not yet have a full range of skills to brainstorm innovative ideas.”
It’s worth investing in an experienced pattern maker that will get it right from the beginning, otherwise, you could risk losing out on quite a bit of money. Selling a poor-fitting garment at the start won’t be good for business, especially when every first customer can determine your success.
3. How Many Fittings Will Be Necessary?
Fittings are integral to the pattern making process. Here, you can thoroughly examine how the garment moves and fits on a real body. Sometimes, you need to make a lot of adjustments after fittings, according to the complexity of your designs.
When you have an expert production pattern maker who understands your vision, they can give you a more accurate number of how many fittings you need. This is important because the number of fittings might increase the final cost.
4. What Does the Pattern Maker Need from You to Make You a Production Ready Pattern?
The relationship between the pattern maker and fashion designer is special. Since both bring vital assets that determine a collection’s outcome, open and honest communication is critical. So start your relationship on the right foot, asking what they need from you to make your dream collection happen. Being upfront will open the door to a successful companionship.
The experienced pattern makers will be able to make up for your limitations and help provide ideas, but this doesn’t mean fashion designers need to completely let go of the rains. On the contrary, your consistent input helps pattern makers reach your vision more efficiently.
To make a pattern, your sample maker might suggest getting a better idea of what fabrics, trims, colors, and material placements you want in your collection, although they should absolutely be able to walk you through any questions you have.
Some other things a pattern maker needs from you:
- Deadline dates
- Size of your business
- Communication preferences
Providing your pattern maker with the necessary tools helps them create your production-ready pattern on time.
Choose the Right Pattern Maker in Los Angeles
When it comes to choosing the right pattern maker, Los Angeles offers everything you need and more with The Evans Group. All of our pattern makers are experienced professionals who bring love, care, and attention to detail in everything they do. For over 15 years, our skilled pattern makers have helped fashion designers both bring collections to fruition and hone already-existing ideas.
With skillful methods, zero hidden fees, and honest evaluations from the start, TEG’s master pattern makers are here to make things easy for you, putting your collection’s success first. As one of the finest design establishments on the West Coast, we offer plenty of flexibility and expert insight to meet your needs, no matter the size or niche.