Career Profile: Patternmaker
Patternmakers in this unit group create master patterns for the production of garments, footwear and other textile, leather or fur products.
Examples of Occupational Titles
-fur garment patternmaker
-leather products patternmaker
-textile products patternmaker
Sources of Employment
Job opportunities will result mainly from the need to replace patternmakers who will be retiring or leaving this occupation to work in other occupations or because they have been promoted to fashion designer or management positions in the clothing industry.
People can advance their careers somewhat within the same occupation. Thus some applicants in this occupation start out as graders responsible for adapting patterns to different sizes, before obtaining positions as patternmakers.
According to census data, in 2006 more than 75% of patternmakers – textile, leather and fur products worked in manufacturing, primarily in the clothing industry (approximately 68%). As well, 12% worked in the clothing retail and wholesale trade and 6% in design services. Since jobs in design services and in retail and wholesale trade are also related to the manufacture of garments, generally in companies that sell clothing, and design clothing lines and prepare their own patterns before contracting out the production, it can be concluded that in 2006 more than 85% of jobs in this occupation were related to the manufacture of clothing.
There are proportionally many more patternmakers in the women’s and children’s clothing industries than there are in the men’s clothing industry. In fact, the men’s clothing industry usually has a much smaller selection of varieties and styles, and is characterized by mass production.
Education and Training
It is possible for candidates to find work in this occupation if they have extensive experience in the clothing industry. However, considering the growing use of computer tools in this occupation, successful completion of specialized training is increasingly required.
Thus employers usually require at least a vocational diploma (DEP) in apparel design. A diploma of collegial studies (DEC) in fashion design are sometimes required. The DEC is an important asset for promotion to fashion designer or supervisory positions.
Basic knowledge or experience of garment construction may be required, as patternmakers are sometimes asked to sew samples and to alter patterns in order to maximize the cost-effectiveness of sewing activities.