Sewing & Pattern making Terms


In the world of sewing and pattern making, achieving a precise and professional fit is of utmost importance. One technique that plays a vital role in achieving consistent sizing and smooth transitions between pattern sizes is grading. In this article, we will delve into the concept of grading and its significance in the world of garment construction.

What means the term “Grading”?

Grading refers to the process of systematically adjusting a base pattern to create different sizes while maintaining the design and proportions of the original pattern. It involves increasing or decreasing the dimensions of the pattern pieces to ensure a smooth progression of sizes, from the smallest to the largest.

The Purpose and Benefits of Grading

Grading offers several advantages, for example:

  • Consistent Sizing: Grading ensures that a garment pattern is available in a range of sizes, allowing individuals of different body shapes and proportions to enjoy a well-fitting garment. This enables greater inclusivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Proportional Scaling: Grading maintains the original design and proportions of the pattern as it transitions between sizes. This means that not only are the overall dimensions adjusted, but the critical design elements, such as necklines, armholes, and style lines, remain balanced and aesthetically pleasing.
  • Smooth Transitions: By carefully adjusting the dimensions at specific points on the pattern pieces, grading ensures that the transitions between sizes are seamless. This eliminates any sudden jumps or irregularities that could compromise the overall fit and appearance of the garment.
  • Efficient Pattern Development: Grading allows pattern makers to create a comprehensive range of sizes based on a single base pattern. This saves time and effort in pattern development, as the core design and construction details only need to be established once.
  • Accuracy and Consistency: Grading requires meticulous attention to detail and precision to achieve accurate and consistent sizing across all sizes. This ensures that customers can rely on the pattern’s consistency when creating clothes in different sizes.

The Grading Process

Grading typically involves three main steps:

  1. Measurement Chart: A measurement chart (also called sizing chart/table) is created, detailing the key body measurements for each size in the pattern range. These measurements serve as a guide for adjusting the pattern pieces.
  2. Grade Rules: Grade rules are established to determine how much each pattern piece should be increased or decreased in size at specific points. These rules consider factors such as ease, body measurements, and the desired fit of the garment.
  3. Adjusting the Pattern: Using the grade rules and measurement chart, the pattern maker systematically adjusts the pattern pieces to create each size. This may involve adding or subtracting increments at key points, such as bust, waist, and hip, while maintaining the shape and proportions of the pattern.

Professional Considerations:

  • Consistency in Grading: Consistency in grading is crucial to ensure that all sizes in the pattern range exhibit the same level of accuracy and fit. Pattern makers follow standardized grading rules and guidelines to achieve this consistency.
  • Test Fittings: Once the graded pattern is created, test fittings on various body types are conducted to validate the accuracy and fit of each size. Adjustments may be made based on feedback to fine-tune the pattern further.
  • Custom Grading: In some cases, pattern makers may need to create custom grades to cater to specific body types or fit preferences. This requires a deep understanding of grading principles and the ability to adapt the base pattern accordingly.

Grading is an essential process in making patterns that ensures consistent sizing, proportional scaling, and smooth transitions between pattern sizes. By mastering the art of grading, pattern makers can create patterns that cater to a wide range of body shapes and sizes, allowing individuals to enjoy well-fitting and aesthetically pleasing garments.

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Melissa Villegas
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