by Alejandro Esparza September 21, 2018

In the industries of sewing and fashion designing, a pattern forms the basis of the garments produced. A pattern serves as the template. It is used to trace parts of a garment out onto the fabric. This helps in the cutting and assembly of the garment as per the design. These patterns may be in the form of paper usually. However, patterns are also found in a sturdier form such as paperboard or cardboard. This helps with the repeated use of a pattern, making it more durable. Patterns are important in every scale of production of garments. If garments are being designed at home, they may be known as a sloper pattern. When patterns are used in industries, they are known as block patterns.

Sloper patterns and block patterns are in custom fitting to form a basic pattern. This pattern is later used to create many different styles and sizes. This is the process of changing the size of a finished pattern without altering the scale, balance, and style of the garment. There are different methods for grading up, increasing the size of the garment, and grading down, decreasing the size of a garment.

Pattern Grading Important Steps

Step 1: Measurements

Before you start grading with the use of any method from the ones mentioned above, it is important to take down the measurements of the garment and the body size you are adapting your garment too. With this essential information in your mind, you can plan the grading process to see whether you will be required to carry out grading up or grading down. This will also help you establish the measurement of the changes you need to make.

Step 2: Grading vs Alterations

Another key piece of information that you should remember is that there is a difference between grading your garment pattern and resizing the garment pattern. It is a very fine line. The difference between garment pattern grading and garment pattern resizing is that garment pattern grading focuses upon increasing or decreasing the size of the garment pattern based on the overall difference that exists between the current measurements of the garment and the body measurement. On the other hand, garment pattern alteration or resizing is used to adapt a garment to one person’s body type, figure, and shape.

While garment pattern grading focuses upon ensuring that the essence of the garment pattern is maintained by increasing or reducing the size of the garment pattern to adapt to the intended measurement, garment pattern alteration does not keep this in consideration. It is important to keep in mind that garment pattern alteration will not preserve this, and it will change the shape of the garment being altered.

Step 3: Choose Where to Start

It is important to see what patterns you can do best with no prior experience. Start with the basics first, these include the garment front and back, the length, and the waist and hips. Once you are confident with garment pattern grading in this departments, you can move on to more complex designs. It is true that in the garment pattern grading quest to adapt your vintage garment to your particular taste, it will do well to practice until it is perfect. It is a game of trial and error. A continuous effort will ensure your skills of garment pattern grading are honed. In any case, with any of these three methods under your belt, you are ready to increase or decrease the size of your vintage garment without affecting its vintage element.

Step 4: Choose Your Technique

Among the easier methods, we have the cut and spread technique. This technique is essentially the foundation of the other two. The cut and spread grading technique is also relatively the easiest amongst the three. In order to employ the cut and spread the grading method to grade your garment pattern, you start by cutting the garment fabric. Thereafter, you spread the fabric according to the measurement you want to use to grade your garment pattern if you want to grade up your garment. Otherwise, you overlap the fabric in the case of grading down.

The second method, as we advance up the ladder, is known as pattern shifting. The pattern shifting technique relies upon expansion of the overall measurement of the garment pattern. This method can be used to grade up or down, or to shift a pattern left or right. In order to create these new measurements, a special ruler can be used. The original shape of the garment can be redrawn using this special ruler in order to create the same pattern as used by the cut and spread technique.

The third basic method that can be used to grade your vintage garment up or down is an advanced state of the art technology that makes use of technological advancements. It involves the use of computer software which can scan patterns and resize according to new measurements to help you grade your garment pattern. Although garment pattern grading software is usually industry level, cheaper alternatives are developing to allow home tailors make use of software to grade garments.

 

Alejandro Esparza
Alejandro Esparza


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