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Career profile Fabric Patternmaker

Also known as Automatic Fabric Cutter (Autocutter), Cutter, Designer, Fabric Cutter, Pattern Designer, Pattern Maker, Pattern Technician, Production Pattern Maker, Sewing Pattern Layout Technician, Technical Designer

Fabric Patternmaker

Also known as Automatic Fabric Cutter (Autocutter), Cutter, Designer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Artistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$27,210 - $102,660 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
  • Judgment and Decision Making
Knowledge Areas
  • Design
  • Mathematics
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Create a master pattern for each size within a range of garment sizes, using charts, drafting instruments, computers, or grading devices.
  • Input specifications into computers to assist with pattern design and pattern cutting.
  • Draw details on outlined parts to indicate where parts are to be joined, as well as the positions of pleats, pockets, buttonholes, and other features, using computers or drafting instruments.
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What does a Fabric Patternmaker do?

Fabric Patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts.

In addition, Fabric Patternmakers may also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

What kind of tasks does a Fabric Patternmaker perform regularly?

Fabric Patternmakers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Create a master pattern for each size within a range of garment sizes, using charts, drafting instruments, computers, or grading devices.
  • Input specifications into computers to assist with pattern design and pattern cutting.
  • Draw details on outlined parts to indicate where parts are to be joined, as well as the positions of pleats, pockets, buttonholes, and other features, using computers or drafting instruments.
  • Make adjustments to patterns after fittings.
  • Compute dimensions of patterns according to sizes, considering stretching of material.
  • Mark samples and finished patterns with information, such as garment size, section, style, identification, and sewing instructions.
  • Draw outlines of pattern parts by adapting or copying existing patterns, or by drafting new patterns.
  • Test patterns by making and fitting sample garments.
  • Position and cut out master or sample patterns, using scissors and knives, or print out copies of patterns, using computers.
  • Create a paper pattern from which to mass-produce a design concept.
  • Discuss design specifications with designers, and convert their original models of garments into patterns of separate parts that can be laid out on a length of fabric.
  • Examine sketches, sample articles, and design specifications to determine quantities, shapes, and sizes of pattern parts, and to determine the amount of material or fabric required to make a product.
  • Determine the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material, and mark fabric accordingly.
  • Create design specifications to provide instructions on garment sewing and assembly.
  • Trace outlines of paper onto cardboard patterns, and cut patterns into parts to make templates.
  • Trace outlines of specified patterns onto material, and cut fabric, using scissors.

The above responsibilities are specific to Fabric Patternmakers. More generally, Fabric Patternmakers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

What is a Fabric Patternmaker salary?

The median salary for a Fabric Patternmaker is $49,680, and the average salary is $57,880. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Fabric Patternmaker salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Fabric Patternmakers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Fabric Patternmakers earn less than $27,210 per year, 25% earn less than $34,230, 75% earn less than $76,970, and 90% earn less than $102,660.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Fabric Patternmakers is expected to change by -10.6%, and there should be roughly 500 open positions for Fabric Patternmakers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$27,210 - $102,660
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Fabric Patternmakers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Fabric Patternmaker are usually higher in their Realistic and Artistic interests.

Fabric Patternmakers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Fabric Patternmakers typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Fabric Patternmaker tend to value Relationships, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Fabric Patternmakers moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Fabric Patternmakers moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Fabric Patternmakers moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Fabric Patternmakers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and adaptability/flexibility.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Fabric Patternmakers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Fabric Patternmakers need?

Fabric Patternmakers often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Fabric Patternmakers usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Fabric Patternmakers

  • 24.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 35.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 19.5% completed some college coursework
  • 8.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 10.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Fabric Patternmakers

Fabric Patternmakers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as design, mathematics, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Fabric Patternmakers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

Important Abilities needed by Fabric Patternmakers

Fabric Patternmakers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Fabric Patternmakers need abilities such as visualization, near vision, and originality in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Fabric Patternmakers, ranked by their relative importance.

The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Fabric Patternmakers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Fabric Patternmakers frequently use skills like critical thinking, active listening, and judgment and decision making to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Fabric Patternmakers, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.