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How to be a pattern cutter

This week Salma Sodawala, senior consultant for design, production, technical and sales, tells you how to land a job as a pattern cutter.

“To be a successful pattern cutter most people start on a generalist fashion course and then take pattern cutting modules within it before embarking on this area as their chosen career path. Pattern cutters can specialise within manual/flat pattern cutting or system based pattern cutting such as Gerber or Lectra. You can either specialise within a certain product area or be able to turn a hand to all areas, which often comes with experience. Some people prefer to become an absolute genius in one field and follow this through their whole career.

Some of the most talented pattern cutters have learnt the art form in a very traditional way and therefore can make amendments quickly and accurately, minimising the sampling and toiling time. As a pattern cutter you need to be able to be able to work with people on different levels from the creative designers to graders to factories. The designers are looking for you to interpret their ideas and turn them into a reality whilst not losing any of original detail and styling. The graders and factories require you to ensure your patterns are 100% accurate in order to ensure no delays in the chain or hold ups in the manufacturing process.

Pattern cutting is a career path that requires accuracy, dedication and patience. It is sometimes seen as a ‘not so glamorous’ role within the industry, but I truly believe it is one of the most skilful and creative roles available.

Salaries for this type of role range from £40,000 to £55,000.”

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