Pattern Cutter

Job Description:

Pattern cutters create pattern templates based on drawings from a fashion designer to make clothes.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • follow the designer’s notes and instructions
  • drape and pin material pieces onto a dummy to get the right fit, then cut out a pattern based on the pieces
  • alter and shape flat, standard pattern ‘blocks’ into a style
  • modify non-standard pattern ‘bases’ taken from the company’s pattern library
  • work with machinists to make up product samples
  • use computer-aided design programs to make up patterns
  • use traditional hand-drawing methods
  • check quality
  • work with designers and garment technologists to produce a final pattern ready for production

Working environment

You could work in a workshop, in a factory or in a creative studio.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • physical skills like movement, coordination and dexterity
  • the ability to work on your own (drive)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • specialist and short courses


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in fashion or garment technology.


You could do a college course. In the UK, for example, courses include:

  • Award in Fashion – Pattern Cutting
  • Diploma in Fashion
  • Certificate in Fashion and Textiles


You can do a material cutter intermediate apprenticeship, or fashion and textiles pattern cutter advanced apprenticeship.


You could start as a pattern cutting assistant or sample machinist with a clothing manufacturer or fashion design company and work your way up.

Other Routes

You can do short courses in pattern cutting through university fashion departments, colleges and adult education centres.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 36-38 hours of work. You may be required to work evenings/weekends occasionally.

Career Path & Progression:

You could become head pattern cutter or grader or, with further training, move into fashion design or buying.