Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. May also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

  • Create a master pattern for each size within a range of garment sizes, using charts, drafting instruments, computers, or grading devices.
  • Input specifications into computers to assist with pattern design and pattern cutting.
  • Draw details on outlined parts to indicate where parts are to be joined, as well as the positions of pleats, pockets, buttonholes, and other features, using computers or drafting instruments.
  • Make adjustments to patterns after fittings.
Read more about what does a Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$49180 per year

Average hourly wage
$24 per hour

Fabric Patternmakers with little to no experience tend to make between $23360 and $29990 while the more experienced ones can earn over $65230 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
NY $34 $71,110
CA $26 $54,490
MA $25 $52,210
WA $24 $49,670
MD $21 $44,040

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker is to move to a higher paying state like NY. Right now, the highest paying states for Fabric Patternmakers are NY, CA, MA, WA and MD.

However, a higher pay at NY doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at NY might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Fabric Patternmakers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Apparel and Textile Manufacture
Read more about how to become a Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants to work in a friendly non-competitive environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
Salary is below average
Demand for this career is declining

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

50% of Fabric Patternmakers said they were satisfied with their job and 25% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Working experience from Marta Irene Archila Source: Direct

I am in charge of making the patterns that are used in a large or small factory to produce garments. Patternmakers need specialized studies at the industrial level to be able to do their work.

Patterns can be made in two ways: with a computer pattern program or manually, which is how we do it at Sugopetite.

What is your work life like?

When your passion is your job, it becomes easier, but it can be very demanding and stressful. The responsibility falls on the patternmaker to have the patterns made on time, and they must be perfect! There is no room for errors as a patternmaker because it could cost the loss of a full production run.

The passion I have for my work makes working at Sugopetite always something very pleasant as we develop different designs.

What are the pros and cons?

The pros of being a pattern maker is to be recognized for your excellent work and dedication to it; this allows you to have job stability in the company you work for.

The cons are always going to be reflected in the responsibility of making mistakes because it can be fatal when making a production run. Also, it is a tiring job because you spend a lot of time either in front of a computer or at a table working the patterns. Sometimes it is necessary to work overtime since there are productions that are urgent.

The most important thing of all is to be able to work in a pleasant environment and as family as we do at Sugopetite. We don’t even notice the hours we spend working together.

Marta Irene Archila is a patternmarker at Sugopetite.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Artists

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Learn more about Fabric Patternmakers

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