Pattern Grading Frequently Asked Queries.
(085). These are some of the queries we are asked about pattern grading.
What Is Pattern Grading ?
Pattern grading is the process of creating different sizes from the base pattern, once the base pattern has been perfected. The pattern is graded proportionately up and down in sizes.
It is important that the graded patterns maintain the fit, shape, balance and look of the original. The graded pattern pieces also need to fit exactly together in the same way as the original size.
Please check our pattern grading page for more information.
Is Manual Or Computer Grading Better ?
Grading is done either manually, or by computer. Generally if you are grading a lot of sizes, then computer grading would be cheaper and more reliable. If you are just grading a few sizes, then manual grading may be the better option.
Manual grading is only really viable if you just need a simple grade with a few sizes. It is very time consuming and expensive in comparison to computer grading. Computer grading requires a certain amount of time plotting the pattern and setting up the grading rules. You may be charged a setup fee on top of the grading price.
Computer files can be stored, and transported round the world easily. The factory would still need physical patterns in order to cut the garments out. If your factory does not have access to the equipment necessary, then you would still need to supply physical patterns to them.
Digital pattern grades can be easily copied.
How Many Sizes Do I Need ?
The amount of sizes you need depends on a number of factors, including what your intended market is, the age group, their lifestyle, garment function, and your budget. Some designs only really suit a given size range.
Most established fashion brands would have 5-6 sizes. Functional garments may require more sizes. Their designs tend to have more longevity, so warrant a bigger range of sizes.
How Much Does Grading Cost ?
Grading costs vary according to a number of factors, including the number of pattern pieces, how complicated the pattern is, and the size of the pieces.
Different graders use different methods for pricing. Some charge per hour, some charge a per piece rate. Others use a flat rate per garment type. Some will charge a setup fee on top.
As a rough guide a pattern with up to eight pieces may cost around £30 – £40 per size. A lined, tailored jacket may cost around £60 – £70 per size.
One thing to be aware of with some types of complicated patterns, such as tailored jackets or technical garments is that there may be a lot of small pattern pieces for pockets, or internals like fusing. If you dont know about garment construction you may not be aware of these.
What Are Grading Rules ?
A grade rule is the specified amount that a pattern is increased or decreased by at a given point, in order to make the next size. This grade rule may apply to every size within the range, a range of sizes, or just one size.
Can I Trust A Factory To Grade My Patterns ?
Generally it is unwise to trust a factory to grade your patterns correctly, without providing them with a size chart. Factories will not necessarily have sufficiently experienced graders to ensure that they grade your sizes accurately. Often they will just increase a chest size by extending the side seam.
Sometimes this can prove disastrous, especially where a large size range is concerned, or childrenswear, or anything that is not standard. Most factories will not use professional graders
Foreign factories are not always familiar with UK sizes. We have seen many grading problems due to this, especially in childrenswear.
Can I Do It Myself ?
It depends on how complicated the pattern is, and how many sizes you want to grade. If you are grading a simple pattern just a few sizes, then it is possible to do it yourself with a little knowledge quite easily.
If you want to grade a tailored jacket up and down one size, this would be possible with a little knowledge, and if you were not concerned about precision.
Grading is not very difficult once you understand the basic principals, although complicated styles may require more learning.
If you have your designs are made in three sizes, such as small, medium and large, then it is possible to do the grading yourself with some basic learning and a little care. One of the important things with grading is checking.
Do You Offer Grading Tuition ?
Yes, we offer some short pattern grading courses from our studios in Greenwich. If you would like some more information, please feel free to call or email.
All our pattern grading courses are one to one classes, although we can accept two students per class.
Do You Grade Childrens Patterns ?
Yes. We have extensive knowledge of childrens grading and grade rules.