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I’ve been taking a pattern making course and I absolutely LOVE it :) I’ve been in love with it ever since I started and I feel like I’m ready to start a REALLY small line of silk and chiffon separates.

My only concern is pattern grading. I wasn’t taught ANY grading in my pattern making course and it is an essential part of starting a clothing line. I have read the threads article on grading and have come across a few tutorials online, but they all show the exact same thing the threads article shows: the slash and spread technique on the basic slopers.

what about more complex designs? like collars, circle skirts, capes, and bell sleeves? How would I learn to grade designs like these? And what about the grading technique of using a special ruler?

does anyone here have grading experience and would like to share their tips?


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  • Patti_12-28-2011_large

    Dec 28, 2011, 03.29 PMby patti-r

    Check these out if not go to Library look for books on Drafting, Grading and Scaling Sewing Patterns.



    Meant to add this in:http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/4424/quick-reference-for-cut-and-spread-pattern-grading

    Slashing and spreading an old but very useful information. French Curve also needed, possibly a yard stick I use a metal construction types 48" for certain dresses, skirts, capes and pants.

    Sorry cannot think of a book off hand, I was taught by my grandparents who had a small private couture tailoring school many years ago. Although I possess many of these advanced skills I chose to use them as a Hobby and not as my Professional Career.

    Trial and Error involved, test on muslin’s

    I am sure you will get much more input from other members.

    2 Replies
    • 3031300359_08ff51dde8_large

      Dec 29, 2011, 05.15 AMby Marla Rodriguez

      Thank you so much, Patti :)
      your links are really helpful! Especially the first one.

    • Dscf6507_large

      Feb 29, 2012, 08.00 AMby urbandon

      Patti-r , You are SO on IT. Grading is tricky, and, like you said- should be trialled first.

  • Twitter_photo_large

    Feb 27, 2012, 07.40 AMby tailorstack

    I’ve worked with 2 grades in the past 40mm and 50mm (the first website is a 50mm grade). Im aussie so I’m metric. I find that more generic branding Target, K-Mart, budget brands have a more generous grade and go with the 50mm where as niche brands usually have 40mm. For the sounds of what you are wanting to create I’d go with the 40mm.

    The important thing to know is to evenly distribute the size, not just tack it onto the side seams (if that makes sense). Our base size would always be a 36, make sure that pattern is perfect before grading. Then find a model who is a size 32 and a size 40 to test your grade on.

    A good help is also a size chart – if you have the BurdaStyle sewing handbook there is a great size chart in there that indicates the increase in measurement per size.

  • D_large

    Mar 14, 2012, 04.20 PMby MARILYN LARYEA

    thanx patti for beginners this is a great FYI

  • Missing

    Nov 17, 2015, 07.23 AMby Jason Lingard

    Professional Pattern Grading for Women’s, Men’s, and Children’s Apparel by Jack Handford is the industry standard for learning to grade, but it’s hard to find. Try some libraries and then photocopy it!

    • This is a question
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