What Your Patternmaker Will Ask at Your First Meeting and Why

Starting to work with a patternmaker is a big step towards bringing your design to life and being able to produce and sell it. Once you reach out to a patternmaker and set up a meeting, you may be wondering what you can expect. At your first meeting, your patternmaker will need to ask you questions about your design and business. Here are some questions your patternmaker will ask and why the answers are important to the success of your design.

Who is your customer?

Your patternmaker will want to know details about who your customer is. What age are they? Where do they shop? What do they value? What lifestyle do they have? Understanding who your customer is will help your patternmaker advise on fit preferences and confirm that you have a clear vision.

How will you be selling your product?

Will you sell direct-to-consumer online, sell to boutiques, or work with large retailers to sell your products? Depending on how you plan to sell, the development timeframe will be different. Selling wholesale versus retail will also affect the order and priority of certain steps in the development process as wholesale markets are so far ahead of season and happen before production.

What is your target release date?

What season are you designing for? Is there a certain wholesale market you will show at? Do you have a retail website launch date planned? These answers help your patternmaker work backwards to determine a timeline that will meet that deadline and confirm that it is realistic.

Do you have a thought-out design?

Have you thought through what the front, side, and back look like? Where do you want design details? How will the customer put it on? Is the silhouette supposed to be fitted or oversized? As the designer, you are expected to decide what you want the design to look like in all aspects. A patternmaker will figure out how to make your design look that way. Detailed information about the look helps your patternmaker understand your design and your intent for the fit.

Do you have a detailed sketch or photos/samples that show the details you want to include in your design?

Visuals are always helpful. Whether it is a napkin sketch, photos, or reference garments from your own closet, patternmakers like to see a picture of the design details or silhouette you want. This makes sure both you are on the same page about your design.

Do you know what type of fabric(s) you want your design made in?

Do you imagine this garment to be stretchy? Will it be woven and tailored? Will it be light and flowy or structured? If you have an exact fabric picked out, please bring that along to your meeting. If not, bringing an example garment with the type of fabric you are thinking of using is very helpful. Different fabrics can change the fit and feel of a pattern drastically as well as affect how the garment needs to be sewn. To prevent unwanted surprises and delays later in the development process, your patternmaker must know from the very beginning what type of fabric will be used for the final design.

What sizes do you want to offer?

Are you wanting to offer numeric sizes (2,4,6,8…etc.) or alpha sizes (XS, S, M…etc.)? What range of sizes do you want to offer? Will there be any special variants like petite or tall? Sizing, especially in women’s clothing, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your patternmaker will need to know what sizes you want to offer for your product so they can fit and grade the pattern accordingly.

What is your target price point?

In what price range do you plan on selling the finished product to your customer? If you are selling wholesale, what price range do you need to hit for your wholesale price? What price are your customers willing to pay for the type of product your design is? Pricing is hugely important both for your business and the development process. Working backwards from your target retail price will help determine what design details, finishes, and construction types you can afford to put in your design while keeping it profitable. Your patternmaker will need to know these details so they can make your pattern specific to your price point.

Do you have an answer to these questions? Are you ready to start working with a patternmaker to get your design made? Contact me to schedule a meeting.

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