Pattern Grading, Grading Plan Overview

Pattern Grading

Pattern Grading – Pattern initially is made in only one size. In order to produce clothing that fits various body types and sizes, the pattern pieces must be increased or decreased geometrically to create a complete range of sizes. The process of resizing the initial pattern is called Pattern Grading. Each company determines its own grade specifications for each size, and size specifications vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer.

Pattern Grading – Although many small firms still use traditional grading methods, grading, like pattern making, is becoming increasingly computerized. Using a CAD system, the pattern can be resized according to a predetermined table of sizing increments (or grade rules). The computerized plotter can then print out the pattern in each size. Because the productivity gains are so great, small- to medium-sized manufacturers are beginning to acquire their own CAD systems for grading.

Alternatively, they may use an outside grading service to perform this function.

Pattern Grading – How to Grade Patterns

Grading a pattern is really scaling a pattern up or down in order to adjust it for multiple sizes. Industries use this technique, first by making a pattern in a standard proportioned size using a model, and then adjusting the size for others in even calculated measurements. This is generally how we get S M L XL XXL sizing. Many plus size clothing companies size from plus size models and grade accordingly. This offers a better fit for plus size wearers instead of grading to plus from a straight size.

Pattern Grading – A true way to see grading a pattern is on modern patterns, where they build multiple sizes in one pattern. You see where they scale armholes, the chest, the neck and shoulders; all crucial areas for getting a great fit. Those patterns are great learning tools.

Pattern Grading – Now, you may notice that you get something and it fits great around the a waist, but the bust is too big, or the chest is fine, but the arms are too tight, etc. Grading is a standard, not precise to the wearer, cause we are all different.

Pattern Grading – Grading Plan

Pattern Grading Plan involves using a master pattern and moving it according to a set of grading rules and measurements that are predetermined by industry and other bodies to increase or decrease the size but to retain the proportion of the original master pattern. As a grader you must prepare a grading plan to allow for proportional distribution of measurements, according to the style or design of the master pattern.

Pattern Grading plan is then followed by the Pattern Grader who moves the master pattern, marking in all the grading points. All pattern movements are of 90deg to either the Centre Front, Centre Back or Straight Grain of all pattern pieces. A circular path (either clockwise or anticlockwise) is followed when marking grading points. Then finally these points are blended together to produce a pattern piece/s of the required size.

Pattern Grading Methods

patterns may be graded with all sizes showing on the one sheet. This is called a Nest and finished pattern pieces will be taken from this at a later stage. Some of the commercial patterns are sold in this manner with sizes grouped together in a nest.

Another method of Pattern Grading allows for the pattern to be graded one size at a time, the new pattern piece cut out and then used to make the next size etc. This is the method that I use all the time, I find that it works the best for me.

There is also another way to Pattern Grading and that by using the master pattern to make all the sizes without cutting each one out first. So you would use for example the master pattern size 10 to make 8,12, 14, 16, without cutting out the previous size always using the master patterns.

Before beginning to Pattern Grading it is important to check the accuracy of the pattern, the amount of pieces and the pattern markings of the master patterns.