Product Development + Production
Created on:
October 7, 2020

Your Guide for the Perfect Production-Ready Pattern and Marker

Every brand needs to know the specifics to make or identify production-ready patterns in order to take your garments from sample to full scale production*! This means that you need to translate your construction details onto each pattern in a way that cutters, seamstresses, and technical designers can understand. Here are the guidelines that you should follow when drafting your patterns:

What is a production-ready pattern?

A pattern is a collection of pieces of a fashion apparel item that make up the base building blocks of your product. It is typically drafted on pattern paper initially.

What makes a perfect production-ready pattern?

  • Never use “cut-on-the-fold” patterns. Garment pieces are laid out on stacks of fabric so that multiple pieces can be cut at a time for maximum efficiency. Manufactures at scale cannot fold fabric in half.
  • Always mark your grain line on each pattern piece.
  • All seam allowances should be clearly marked.
  • Always notch your seam allowances. This notch lets seamstresses know the exact seam allowance for each piece.
  • Always notch connecting pattern pieces. This minimizes the risk of a pattern pieces being sewn together incorrectly.
  • Always mark pleats and indicate the direction the fabric should be pleated.
  • Always mark ruching.
  • Always mark the name of the garment, your brand, and pattern piece reference number on each pattern piece.
  • Always mark the size of the garment on each pattern piece.
  • Always mark the fabrication the pattern should be used to cut (i.e. shell or lining) on each pattern piece.
  • Always create a separate pattern piece for each cut of fabric that needs to be made. Do not mark “cut 2” or “cut 1 self, cut 1 lining.”  In order to maximize efficiency, make a separate pattern piece for each piece of the garment.
  • Always square off corner edges to a full 90 degree angle.
  • Always true and mark darts.
  • Always indicate the direction fabric should be folded within a dart.
  • Always record the number and types of patterns that you have in the cutter’s must for each garment.

What is an apparel marker?

True to its name a marker is a guide used in the cutting process. A marker is a digitized version of your pattern laid out in the most efficient way possible on pattern paper like a giant puzzle. Markers are often made by computer grading programs and printed out on a plotter. You won’t typically need a marker until you are going into production.


In order to get a marker, you first need to digitize your pattern. Typically, a manufacturer will be able to do this for you (for N.A.bld subscribers, we have manufacturers and grading partners who can digitize patterns for you). Once you are ready to go into production, the marker is digitally laid out in accordance to the width and grain of your fabric and then it is printed on plotting paper. The marker paper is finally laid on top of the fabric allowing manufacturers to cut all of the pattern pieces at once.

NOTE: Typically, markers are unique to each production run since the layout is unique to the size run you are doing and the plotter paper will be cut once the fabric is cut!

What makes a marker production-ready?

Pattern-making is a detailed process, but it is the backbone of your product and production. When in doubt, work with an expert to avoid complications down the line. If you require any support creating or grading a pattern or marker, please check out our additional services and suppliers and contact us! We have a number of experts ready to help!