What is a cutting ticket

This is the third entry in the tracking your production run series. The links to related entries are at close but the two that directly precede this one are What is a sketch sheet and then What is a Bill of Materials (BOM). This entry on cutting tickets is sure to be a rousing crowd pleaser just like the previous two if the number of comments left on those are any measure. In this section we really need to talk about three interrelated things.

  • Cut order
  • Cut number
  • Cutting tickets

Cut order:
Cut order is the whole shooting match. It’s better defined as a purchase order with specifications for the cutting of a production run of one given style. Depending on the product complexity, you can have a cutting ticket for each fabrication used in the product. Cutting tickets are a part of the cut order. Even if you are sending ten styles to be cut and you’re using the same fabrics, each style gets its own cut number. The only exception is if you have a mixed marker in which case it’d be the same cut number. It’s likely the cut number would be appended with a hyphen to indicate the different styles. Technically, the other styles would be a separate lot or batch. Unfortunately, lot or batch as currently defined under CPSIA is another animal entirely and best left to discuss another day.

Cut numbers:
Every cut order needs a number so slap one on there (and a date). Note: it is very common for the cut order number to be called cut ticket number, cutting ticket number or a lot number. Whatever you call it (everyone will understand any of these terms), this number will be very important later when we discuss batching. Every cut of every production run needs its own number, these aren’t repeated. Even if you do ten separate production runs of the same exact style in the same colors in one season, each cut will get its own number. What you may not realize now is that the cut number will be used from here on out to track that particular production lot.

Cutting tickets can vary from the very simple to complex. In essence, it’s (mostly) a list of pattern pieces to cut. Keep in mind that the cutting ticket is a working document and there is no certain way to know that all of the ordered items will be cut. This can happen if the fabric is shaded or damaged. Following are some examples of scenarios and cutting tickets.

Very Simplistic example:
You need 50 units of one style, in one size, one fabric, one color and the pattern has only a few pieces, let’s say four. Further assuming you can stack the fabric in 50 plies and the pattern is so simple that it can be chalked directly on the top layer of fabric, you don’t need a marker. In this case, you probably won’t need a cutting ticket. Rather, you or the cutter will use the cutter’s must (that must be included with the pattern) to do a cutting ticket in your/their head. It’d be pretty hard to mess up a lay like this but it could be if your cutter’s must was wrong. If you have a good cutter and have a style with more pieces and a variety of sizes, they can still do a mental cutting ticket but they must have the cutter’s must to do it.
Very Simplistic Summary: cutter’s must –> cutting ticket.

Still simplistic example:
In this example you need a marker because you have orders for 100 pieces in three colors. The only question is who is making the marker because the first step is to make a cut order plan (pg.114-120 in my book). If you have a service making it, you don’t have to worry about anything. Kind of. Don’t fret just yet. If you’ve been doing this already, you already know that what you want and what you get are two different things. You might only want 100 but it’s more typical to get plus or minus 5%-10% of your target order. The service that makes your marker should provide you with a cutting ticket that lists the amount of needed fabric and the number of layers to lay of each color. The cutter will compare the units listed on the cutting ticket with the pieces laid out in the marker. They will count X number of pieces per size per fabrication per ply. So, the cutting ticket will reflect the quantities laid out in the marker.
Still Simplistic Summary: cutter’s must —> cut order plan—> marker—> cutting ticket.

More realistic example:
You need more than one marker because you have a contrasting collar and interfacing for this style. This means you need a total of three markers and three cutting tickets. Maybe. Confer with your cutter, they’re usually pretty flexible with small orders provided you’re otherwise organized. Cutters can work off of one sheet provided it’s complete. You can create your own manual form using something like this as an example if you are making the marker or the service hasn’t neglected to do it. Make certain that the cut order is on every cutting ticket or document that relates to this cut.
Summary: cutter’s must —> cut order plan—> marker(s)—> cutting ticket(s).

Common example:
With computing, it’s more common that the cut order is more robust. All of the items listed in the BOM are included in the cutting ticket. Obviously the cutter won’t need to cut something like buttons or care labels but having all of the inputs and needed quantities of each (based on the cut order plan) is a handy inventory of all components going into the product. This would even include the amount of needed thread. This is really important because while you may have intended to only cut 100 units, based on the cut order plan, you may end up with 108 so your cutting ticket will need to be inclusive of the additional zippers and buttons etc. I’m running out of time today but I’ll make up a sample of what a simple one would look like later.
Summary: cutter’s must —> cut order plan—> marker(s)—> BOM—> cutting ticket(s).

Note to CPSIA afflicted:
There is one big caveat with regard to lot or batch numbers as it applies to children’s products producers. I will hold off on discussing it because the CPSC is voting on a stay for the labeling and tracking requirement in two days. Most of the stays have been approved with the vote of the two commissioners.

Related Entries:
What is a cutter’s must? (pattern or direction card)
What is a sketch sheet?
What is a Bill of Materials (BOM)?
What is a tech pack?

How to move up to another level
CPSIA and tracking label requirements


  1. Valerie Burner says:

    Kathleen, just because we don’t reply, doesn’t mean we haven’t been reading or gleaned anything from your posts. Quite the contrary. These past few posts have helped inspire me. Sometimes it’s the mundane, everyday (basic) things like this that help spur us along. I even got your book out again today and did some reading! (For the 3rd time!)

  2. Anne says:

    I was just thinking, “How does she read my mind?” I’m planning my first production run right now, so these entries could not be more timely and useful. This kind of information is just what people like me need to know. Thank you for taking the time to explain it all.

  3. kathleen says:

    Valerie, after 1,600 entries, I’ve figured out that the info laden ones get few or no comments but I make cracks about it because I think it’s hilarious. In fact, if a dense entry gets a lot of comments, I wonder what I did wrong.

  4. Sandra B says:

    Once again, just what I needed, when I needed it. Last week I wrote up a brief introduction to paperwork for my new patternmaking class, and then here it is, much better. I threw mine out and just told them to read these entries. Thank you for doing my homework for me.

    I got that you were kidding, but it did look a little bare down here at the bottom of the page, so I added my 2 cents worth.

  5. Taylor says:

    this was very helpful i am sitting at my office racking my brain while trying to make a cutting ticket for my first production run… thank you for sharing your knowledge.


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