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Pattern Grading: How to Grade a Sewing Pattern

How a pattern grades and how grading rules are apply around a pattern piece affects how well a bigger or smaller size pattern fits on a person's body after it has been cut and sewn.

Pattern grading is the process of taking a finished pattern and increasing its proportions to make different size patterns. To have proper fitted garment you must know how the body proportions change around the body in order to get a pattern that will fit correctly.

To know how much a pattern grades we will need to know first how much a garment needs to be increased or reduced in proportions around the body and how we need to breaks down the measurement around a pattern piece. In the example above, we can see how much a pattern grades by looking at the measurements on the pattern pieces that have been broken down to grade (1 ½”) around the body. It is important that the pattern grader in charge of grading a particular design or style do this preliminary process to establish correct proportions and to know how much will a pattern increase in size before deciding which grade rule table should be used if one exist or grading a pattern point by point in the case of not having an existing grade rule table that could be applied to a particular design.

Coordinates. Two mutually perpendicular straight lines XX’ and YY’ XX' and YY' coordinates are related in the way they describe a point in the coordinate system also called the Cartesian coordinates. In the Fig. above, we can see how the axis XX’ is called an x-axis and the axis YY’ an y-axis. The point O where point x and y intersect is called the origin of coordinates. Another interpretation of this is that The Y coordinates determine if a point is north or south depending on whether it is positive or negative number and the X coordinate determine if the direction is east or west depending on whether it is negative or positive number

Grading points are applied around a pattern piece to make sure that the pattern receiving the grading will increase in size according to the parameters set in the grading rule tables created before applying the grading points around a pattern. In the example above you can see how all the grading points applied to the front pattern panel correspond to the ones of the back panel. This means that both the front and the back panels will be graded in the same manner a cording to the grade rule applied to that specific point or corner in the pattern piece.

To ensure grading accuracy, Before beginning to grade any pattern it is important to check the accuracy of the master pattern, the amount of pieces and the pattern markings of the master pattern. Once the master pattern has been checked for accuracy and completeness, it must be graded according to grading specifications given by the costumer. Next, all the graded pattern pieces must be checked on the computer screen and a  plot out of of all the graded sizes also called a nest must be made to check against the master pattern to verify the accuracy of the grading.

About the Author

Alejandro Esparza: Co-Founder @ smart pattern making.com /Professional Pattern Maker/ Technical Designer/ Startup Advisor and acknowledged in the garment industry as authority in pattern making and pattern design process. He has the ability to work with small entrepreneurial companies’ private label customers and large organizations. Alejandro is a graduate of Los Angeles Trade Technical College Fashion Design Program. He has over 25 years of apparel garment industry experience and is part of Expert Ezine Articles Authors community since December 25, 2008 and has published multiple articles about the garment industry.

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1 Response

Evelyn Dili
Evelyn Dili

July 10, 2018

Please I need help with this question. What’s are the points to be considered when grading and why?

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