It is pretty obvious that you will get a pattern when you hire a patternmaker – it’s in the name. While the pattern is a big part of the job and an important deliverable, working with a patternmaker can benefit your brand in many other ways. What you get when you hire a patternmaker is actually much more than just a pattern. Here are some additional things you’ll receive.
While the upfront investment of hiring a patternmaker can seem expensive, working with a skilled patternmaker who has production experience can actually reduce your costs and save you money in other areas. A patternmaker will be able to draft your pattern so that it makes use of your fabric in the most efficient way. This means that a good production pattern uses the least amount of fabric possible to make your design. Less fabric means a lower materials cost for you and fewer wasted scraps during production. By looking at your pattern and the fabrics you’ve selected, a patternmaker can make recommendations about ways to reduce material usage even further while still achieving the look of your design.
In addition to helping reduce the cost of materials, a patternmaker can similarly help you optimize your design and pattern to reduce manufacturing costs as well. Small things like changing the type of seam, altering the pocket construction, or adjusting how the lining gets attached can make a difference in how much it costs to get the design cut and sewn. Production sewing is all about speed and efficiency, and a pattern that is optimized for this environment will be cheaper to produce than a similar design that isn’t optimized for factory production. A patternmaker with factory experience can bring your design to life in the most cost-effective way for your brand’s quality and price point.
Peace of Mind
Navigating product development and pre-production with a factory can be overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. There are unspoken industry expectations and ways things work that you only learn by being in the industry and doing it. I’ve met fashion business owners who worry that they will lose their brand’s money or reputation because they don’t know what they don’t know. Patternmakers are the bridge between design and production and speak the industry language of both sides. They know how the product development process goes and can guide you through each step of taking your design from sketch to final garment. With a patternmaker on your side, you’re not walking an unknown path and have peace of mind that you aren’t overlooking a critical step.
Education and Experience
Even if you don’t have years of experience in the fashion industry, you get to lean on the industry experience of the patternmaker you choose to work with. Patternmakers not only know how to make a production-ready pattern, but in working with many different factories and brands, they know what common problems to look out for. With this experience, your patternmaker can advise you on how to avoid or minimize those potential issues. There is not always one right answer, but having seen how other brands have addressed the problem, a patternmaker can present the options and pros and cons of each so you gain experience and knowledge yourself to make decisions that are the best for your brand and situation.
We talked about costing above and how a patternmaker can help you reduce costs. Not only can a patternmaker help reduce costs, but they can help you estimate costs and set pricing at the beginning. While a patternmaker can’t quote you an exact production price as it depends on your factory and production order size, they can give you a ballpark idea of what costs to expect. If you know what your target retail pricing is, a patternmaker can engineer the pattern to meet that pricepoint based on their experience. As development progresses and a pattern is made, a patternmaker can give you the exact materials cost of your design. This will help you accurately calculate your cost of goods and give you solid figures to base your wholesale or retail pricing on.
Control and Flexibility
When you hire a patternmaker, you are investing in patterns that form the backbone of your brand and products. The patternmaker is the one doing the technical work, but it is your brand that owns those finished patterns and they become assets that you can continue to use and build on. Owning your patterns is having full ownership of your brand’s intellectual property.
Having all your patterns production-ready and organized within your brand also means you have control of the product side of your business. When you work with a patternmaker and own your patterns, you aren’t reliant on one factory to make all your products. You have the flexibility to get your designs made anywhere without starting over on development and risking the fit and quality you’ve developed.
When you work with a patternmaker, you are not just getting a pattern. You are benefitting from their experience, reducing unnecessary costs, gaining your own knowledge, and investing in a unique fit that is all your own.
Are you interested in working with a patternmaker to create patterns (and so much more) for your designs? Let’s chat and see if we are a good fit to work together.