One of these pattern makers is not like the other!

The relationship between a designer and a pattern maker is a unique and close one – it can make or break a range. And as with all relationships, you need to establish great communication.

If you regard a pattern maker as a designer of shapes, lines and angles that are used to create the frame work to replicate your drawing, then you can see how similar design aesthetics are important for a good result. For that reason, I think the way you find and brief a pattern maker is one of the most important steps in design. That’s not just because I’m a pattern maker! I have seen too many lines falter because of communication problems, which could have been solved had the client chosen a pattern-maker with whom they felt comfortable discussing anything.

So, who is right for you? First of all, there are different types of pattern makers, intuitive pattern makers and block/spec pattern makers. Which you choose depends a lot on your own communication style and what you’re trying to make.

ImageBlock/ spec pattern makers are the engineers of the pattern making world. They see the world in terms of maths, lines, measurements and angles and like to have all the measurements and, if possible, a base pattern to work from. This way they can see via a pattern what you are looking for. This is difficult if you do not have this library of information from history or you are looking for a new design.

Intuitive pattern makers are the artistic ones! They are happy to work from sketches, inspiration pictures and discussions, they then use their design knowledge to create the pattern. This way of working is perfect for designers who are not copying store bought samples or they are finding inspiration from the Internet or their own designs.

Now this is the interesting part: neither way of working guarantees a better result. What is important is that you have, or can use, a similar way of thinking to your pattern maker. If you’re an artistic soul who wants a pocket to look “bohemian”, then you’ll have trouble communicating with someone who wants to know how by many millimetres you want it shifted or enlarged. Vice versa, if you’ve got more of a maths brain, you might just feel flustered by a pattern-maker who wants to know about your overall aesthetic before they’ve started the build. Each kind of pattern maker will bring something different to the process, and it’s up to you what you prefer.

ImageSo what are we? We at the Sample Room are more your intuitive pattern maker. We prefer that you bring your design ideas in the form of a garment, a picture from a magazine or a drawn image on a croque. A picture to show your inspiration helps immensely as it allows us to get a very clear picture of the overall look. We then like to sit down with you and plan your range together.

We will talk more in the next post about how to communicate your range to your pattern-maker keep an eye out and please subscribe if you haven’t yet done so!

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