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by Alejandro Esparza October 21, 2017 4 min read

What is a Marker?

A markers is a blueprint containing all your design pattern pieces and used in the cutting process to maximize fabric consumption. Having a marker made for each design you need to cut will save you hundreds of dollars in fabric wastage and will allow you to know exactly how many yards of fabric you need to buy to cut for example 100 pair of jeans. 

Before we talk about how to calculate marker efficiency let’s just talk about some of the contributors of factors that may affect our marker efficiency when creating a marker.

• To start, Marker Making efficiency will be greatly affected by the knowledge and experience of manual marker making  and computerized marker making knowledge that he or she might have when creating a marker for a particular product or design.

Marker making method: Marker efficiency will be higher for computerized marker making method than obtained in manual method. But if the marker maker is highly experienced, then manual marker making method may be a good efficient way to make a marker as well. Keep in mind that manual marker making has many limitations including: Not being able to mass produce markers in a fast pace environment the same way a CAD marker making system can, Not been able to store markers in a computer file for future reprints etc…

How many times same size pattern pieces are layout on a marker e.g. (2 Small)  (3 Medium) (2 Large), (2 Extra Large) The more sizes are marked on a marker the more effective our marker efficiency will be.

One way Marker Making: Creating a marker for certain fabric types as velvet, corduroys and any other one way fabric types will reduce marker efficiency  versus a 2 way marker where pattern pieces are lay out on opposite directions without affecting the appearance of a garment or seen any visible shading.

Engineered marker making: Marker efficiency can also be reduce if the fabric is asymmetric then the marker efficiency will be less. If the fabric is cheeked or stripped then marker efficiency will be obtained less.

Pattern Length and Style: If a style or design has  large pattern pieces and less small pattern pieces you will have less marker efficiency. Same scenario is true if your design has only small pattern pieces and you do not have large pattern pieces to cover for empty spaces on your marker. A combination of large and small pieces would be ideal to cover those blank spaces on your marker and to render a better marker yield.

How to Calculate Total Marker Area?

Our marker total area is calculated simply by multiplying our marker length by our marker width. e.g see image above.

Example: Lets say per our image above that our marker length noted as (LN) is 14Y and 16.674 inches or round up to 14 Yards and 17 inches and our marker width noted as (WI) in the CAD system above is 56 inches. Now lets input these number in our equation below to get our total marker area.

Marker Length 14Y 17 in x Marker Width 56 in. = 793.52 total marker area.

How To Calculate Marker Efficiency Percentage?

Ready to get started? Following below we will learn how to calculate marker efficiency percentage in 3 simple steps. Let's see our marker efficiency formula below to see how marker efficiency percentage is calculated. 

Marker Efficiency =   (Area of all patterns pieces in the marker/  Total area of the marker)  X 100

Let's look at image above and let's try to figure out how marker efficiency of 83.333% was the result of a small marker made using square panels for demonstration purposes only. Keep in mind however that CAD marker making systems automatically calculates total area of garment pattern pieces placed in a marker. 

Step 1).  Let's Calculate what is the total area of all our pattern pieces placed in the marker. By looking at the blue pattern pieces panels above we can tell what is the total pattern piece area for each pattern piece contained in the marker. If we add all pattern piece areas we get a total of 1500 pattern pieces area used on on the marker above.

Step 2).  Now, Let's calculate what is the total area of the marker. As explained above on how to calculate marker area you simply multiply the total length used when creating your marker in this case 30" by the marker cuttable width in this case 60" as seen on image above. When multiplying these 2 numbers (30 x 60) we get a result of 1800 total marker area used to create a marker for the blue panels above.

Step 3). Divide all pattern pieces total area used 1500  by total area of marker used 1800 and multiply by 100 simple as that!. Let's switch or input our number results above in the formula below to get our total marker efficiency for the marker above.

Marker Efficiency =   (Area of all patterns pieces 1500 / Total area of the marker 1800)  X 100 = 83.333%

I hope we have learned how marker efficiency works and how by using 3 simple steps we were able to calculate the efficiency of a small marker made above. Computer CAD systems can calculate our pattern pieces total area more accurately and the knowledge of computer marker making plus experience in marker making will all contribute to better marker yields therefore saving you money every time you cut any of your designs or ready to go production garments.

*****Submit A Marker Making Request Now!*****

About the Author

Alejandro Esparza: Co-Founder @ smartpatternmaking.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. Copyright © Smart Pattern Making. All Rights Reserved.

Alejandro Esparza
Alejandro Esparza


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