The view on my computer screen has looked a lot like this for the last few days
I got all the graded patterns back for my new book last week and am currently in the process of getting them ready to go to print.
I know how to grade patterns, but I choose not to do it myself because:
- I don’t have the right software to do it digitally,
- manual grading takes forever,
- it can be quite a boring job and I’d rather be doing other more creative tasks!
When patterns come back from the graders I get a full size set on card to use in classes and a digital set that can go to print.
I always find that the digital patterns require a bit of tweaking, just a bit, but some truing up here and there. Because I can draft and grade patterns myself and have been doing it for a long time, I know what to look for. But I started thinking while doing this job today; I wonder if all pattern designers do this, or for that matter, would even know to check their grading?
I know of pattern designers who don’t even draft their own patterns, so presumably they have no idea how to grade a pattern. I also see people who appear to have only just started to sew releasing their own patterns. How are these patterns checked and trued?
Now, I’m not saying I’m a saint and know all there is to know about pattern drafting and grading, in fact I’m happy to always be learning. But, I do know the importance of trued pattern pieces, carefully placed and matched notches, and I’ve gained that knowledge through years of practical experience.
Unlike sewing, pattern cutting is an exact science; it needs to be right. If the pattern’s out, the resulting garment won’t sew together easily and won’t look right. It’s like baking a cake; you can’t change the quantity of flour without changing the quantity of sugar, eggs and butter (I’m no cook, but I do grasp a few basics!)
But is this ok? We can’t all be brilliant at everything. Why shouldn’t a designer get someone else to draft their patterns and/or do their grading without feeling the need to check any of it? My feeling is that it’s how connected that designer wants to be to their customer. If you want to ask a question about a pattern, think you might even have spotted a mistake in a pattern or want to see a sew-along or pattern hack for a particular pattern, what’s the point in asking a pattern designer who has no idea how it was created in the first place?
What’s your experience? I’d love to know.