Industry insiders will tell you that a good pattern cutter is a rare gem. He or she will support your brand and translate your ideas effectively. It can be quite a challenge to find a pattern cutter that is suitable for your brand and goals, but it’s not impossible, you just need to know what to look for. We have been in the fashion business for over twenty years and would like to share our top tips for finding the perfect pattern cutter.
Choose a pattern cutter that is a pro in your garment group
Pattern cutters have areas of expertise, some may specialize in children’s wear, other in outdoor clothing and gear and other in wedding dresses and so on. Each garment group requires unique equipment and sewing and cutting techniques. It also has unique challenges and pitfalls. Partnering with someone who knows the ins and outs of your garment group is the best way to ensure that your brand reaches success, it can also minimize potential problems during the production process. Many brands opt for using only one pattern cutter for their entire collection, but this is a big mistake that can lead to unforeseen expenses and lower quality products. If you are using a product development company, like ours, be specific about your collection so that you can be matched with the correct cutter. Study the website of the company you would like to use, pay attention to their previous work to see if they have experience in your range of garments. If you want to work with a freelance pattern cutter, you might need to work with two or more depending on your design range. It is important to look for someone that knows your garment group in order to save on expenses and get the best expertise on your collection.
Choose a pattern cutter according to your production goals
Pattern cutters can be creative or geared up purely towards production patterns. They have different approaches (flat pattern cutting, draping or a mix of both) and might make patterns manually or use CAD software. You should decide which of these will best support your brand and look for a pattern cutter that has the resources and expertise to match.
If you are planning to develop a range of hoodies and t-shirts, distinguished by bold prints and you want to work with a production facility abroad, it might be better to work with a pattern cutter who can create digital patterns. Digital patterns are easy to send to a production factory. If you’re a bridal gown designer and perfect fit is your brand’s strength, you would need to look for a pattern cutter who can help achieve the perfect fit. You should look for someone who has experience with internal structure and draping of the garment. It is important to know what your production goals are and to pick a pattern cutter that can assist you on your journey.
Do your research
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to pattern cutters, and a pattern cutter who worked well with other fashion designers might not be right for you. It is important to do your own research based on your needs and not just rely on reviews or word of mouth. You should try to set up a meeting with your prospective pattern cutter at their studio, or alternatively, have a video call. It is good to connect with people face to face to talk about goals, values and branding. This is an important step that will allow you to evaluate their suitability and establish a relationship. If you would like some help with the questions you need to ask during this meeting, go to our next post.
These are the three biggest factors to take into consideration when choosing a pattern cutter, but here are three more tips on choosing a pattern cutter:
- Work with a pattern cutter that you can see in-person. It makes fittings and communication easier. Don’t be tempted by lower prices overseas, especially if it is your first time, it can turn into a steep and expensive learning curve.
- Further along the line you would need to produce tech packs and measurements charts for your production. Not all pattern cutters do that. Double check if they offer this kind of support or if you would have to get help somewhere else.
- Most pattern cutters offer a rough estimate for services, charges might change and vary depending on how proactive you are through the process. Contrary to many studios we offer set service prices for packages, you can have a look at our offers here. Remember that price should not be your only consideration when deciding on a pattern, look for someone that offers true value, support and encouragement for you and your brand as you grow and expand.
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