Pattern making and grading resources

In response to the exorbitant pricing I reported yesterday, I’ve become more proactive in collecting resources to whom I can refer you. Please note there is a section on the resources page for pattern services. I sent out a bid solicitation letter requesting a bid for grading. My request read:

I would appreciate it if you could provide a grading quote for the following:
A man’s shirt, 2″ grade, sizes SMLXL
The piece inventory:
2 fronts
1 back
2 sleeves
2 facings
2 collars
With no match points, allocation or anything like that. In simplest terms, what is your minimum charge for grading per size?

Thus far, I’ve had 4 responses (I sent it late Friday afternoon). I’ve reviewed the sites, policies and pricing of the following companies and can freely recommend them to you. You will also note that quite a few pattern makers hire other pattern makers for grading or overflow. Two pattern makers in this sampling use Stephen Singer in NY (profiled yesterday). Another thing I look for is the kind of software and hardware they use. A company with a 36″ plotter and home-sewing CAD is not what you want because other than professional quality service and industry prices, you will also need to have markers made. As you visit these sites, you’ll note the offered services are quite comprehensive. The responses follow:

Anyway, this is what one service wrote:

I charge by the major pattern piece, i.e. front, back, yoke, sleeve, etc.and the number of sizes. Needless to say, the more pieces and sizes the higher the charge. For the example you gave that would be only 4 pieces, the front, back, sleeve and collar. If I were making the first pattern it would be $30.00 a piece to make the pattern and $15.00 a size to grade it (do not count the base). 4 X 30 = 120.00 + 3 X 15.00 = 45.00 total = $165.00 for making the pattern and grading it. If I were digitizing an existing pattern, I would charge $5.00 a piece to digitize the pattern and $15.00 to grade it . 4 X 5.00 = 20.00 + 3 X 15.00 = 45.00 total $65.00.

We also provide Marking, Plotting and Sample Making services as well.

[comments: uses Gerber Accumark. ] The contact information of this service was deleted because he got a lot of negative feedback and an unsatisfactory BBB rating. I left the information for his quote in the interests of providing corroboration of fee schedules among providers.

In response to your email I find it very hard to understand the pricing of grading for $960! I have been in the apparel business for 50 yrs making patterns, grading, making markers and consulting for companies such as Charming Shoppes. Limited Stores David’s Bridal, Eagle Eye, Cozy Toes, Mullberribush, and many other leading manufacturers of the day that are no longer in business. I’ve also made my own as a manufacturer of sportswear.

I provide pattern making, grading, and marker making services
Charges for a 6 pc shirt Frt(2) Bk(1) Slvs(2) Facing(2) Collar(2) is $10.00 per size. 4 Sizes $40.00 plus Nest $10.00.

[comments: Gerber Accumark; complete price list on his website. His info also deleted for negative feedback from visitors]

The services I quoted in yesterday’s post:

Stephen Singer Pattern Co
Computerized marker and grading; highest quality photocopies, email patterns and markers worldwide and pattern making referrals
260 West 36th Street
NY NY 10018
tel: 212-947-0107
fax: 212-967-2996

Pattern Works Inc
Services include pattern design (StyleCAD), grading, making markers and detailed technical packages. A truly exemplary service, you can find out more about them here.
Pattern Works Inc
Humberto Ortiz
1117 Baker Street, Suite A
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Tel (714) 884-3678
Fax (714) 884-3681

And last but not least, my own company:
Apparel Technical Services
The Sewing Factory School
410 Old Coors Dr. SW
Albuquerque NM 87121
T: 505-877-1713
C: 575-635-8131
Patterns for men, women, children and sewn products with an emphasis on more complex products such as suits, coats, leather and other lined garments and products. Services include pattern design (StyleCAD), grading, marker making, digitizing, sample making and small lot production. Also available are pattern transfer to hard copy (oak tag), training in my factory or yours and of course, consultation.

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  1. Another pattern resource

    I got another response to my bid solicitation (see postings here and here) which I’ve reprinted below. Please note that yet another pattern maker has referred us to her pattern grader. Although many designers are surprised to learn that pattern…

  2. R & P Apparel Mark says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    Thank you for listing pattern grading and marking services in your web site. It is a shame that someone would be charged so outrageously when there are other options.

    Apparel Mark has been in business since 1988. We use Greber equipment for Grading and Marker Making. I have graded everything from Bra patterns and Suit Coats to Backpacks and Dog clothes. We have a Pattern Maker and a sample sewing line on site for first patterns and sample garments.

    The shirt pattern you ask for a Quote:
    Grading shirts(10pc or under)is $16.00 per size
    Marking shirts(10pc or under)is $ 6.75 per size

    Total grading for this shirt $64.00
    Marking one each size would be $27.00
    Copies of an existing marker are $1.00 per yard.

    Our prices a little lower for Pants and Skirts and higher for Jackets and Coats.

    Please give me a call for the answers to all your grading questions.

    Barbara Bean
    R&P Apparel Mark
    2931 Rosa Ave.
    El Paso, Tx. 79905
    915-313-0065 phone
    915-532-5715 fax

  3. Update on pattern makers

    The previous entries to the pattern grading and making series are here, here and here. I asked a company I use for grading to submit a quote. I’ve been very pleased with the service which has been professional, expiditious and…

  4. Michael Symington says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve been working on an idea for a backpack design. Unfortunately I have no experience in sewing or patternmaking.
    can you give me any advice as where to start learning for this type of product

    yours sincerely

  5. Samira says:

    How can i find a measurement chart for dress making to make sizes 0-12, my aunt already is making prototype designs of the dresses I am designing but we want a detailed size chart most upscale designers use so she can produce these sizes. I would desperately appreciate an answer to know specifically what to do or where to buy these measurents from

    thank you

  6. Siobhan says:

    Dear Kathleen
    My name is Siobhan and I am amazed you could be quoted so much. I use a Lectra system and I am based in Ireland.
    I have been computer grading in the industry for
    12 years and set up myself 4years ago.

    If the pattern is given.
    I charge 40 euros for 5 pieces this is for digisting grading and layplans.This would be a full shirt frt/back/sleeve/clr and cuff.
    is extra at 1.50euros per meter.

    Your Sincerely
    I you have any questions please email me at

  7. ami says:

    I’m working on an idea for summer dresses. Unfortunately I have no experience in sewing or patternmaking.
    What does grading mean? What is the difference between a designer and a pattern maker and who is responsible for grading? Can anyone briefly walk me through this process? Any help at all will be appreciated.

    I was wondering if you could provide some insight in this area. I need to produce some dresses and I know the first step will be to develop prototypes. I’ve already had someone produce the sketches for me. Is it better for me to try and link the different processes/people (freelance) together or should I just provide the sketches to a pattern
    making store who’ll take care of everything and come up with dresses I’m looking to produce?

  8. Kathleen says:

    What does grading mean? What is the difference between a designer and a pattern maker and who is responsible for grading? Can anyone briefly walk me through this process?

    All of these things are discussed in great length in The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing. No other book goes into as much detail about the nuts and bolts of manufacturing a sewn product (there are 40 five star reviews on Amazon) or you can read sample chapters and view a table of contents. Select “my book” for selections.

  9. Kate Coxworth says:


    My name is Kate Coxworth and I saw your older posting about pattern making and grading. I just wanted to let you in on an experience I had with a company that responded to your email request.

    I hired AAA Patterns and Marking on 1/8/2007 to do all my patterns for women’s blouses. I flew down to Ozark Alabama to give Michael Smith a proper hand off and explanation of styles. Everything went well. I received an invoice from him on 1/19 for a 50% deposit ($1183.00) of the total. He cashed my check on 1/29 and guess what? No patterns! Currently we are in collections and he is not responding to any emails, letters, or phone calls after the initial contact with the collection agency and it is now 5/10/07. We are pursuing the matter and are thinking of suing him for fraud as he advertises on Apparel

    I just wanted to give you the heads up on this matter. I have reported him to the but wanted to make sure that nobody else is fooled or taken advantage of.

    Kate Coxworth

  10. Nickey says:

    Hi, I goggled the name Cherie Bixler and this site popped up, I went to look her up on here, but she has been removed! I would like to know why and has an one done work with her. I found her on the Apparel Search, but AAA is also on there, and I see the comments about him. I have asked her for references, but she has not given me any, is that common..basically asking would you recommend her company. Thanks!

  11. Jody Sims says:

    Rick’s Grading Service in the Dallas area is extremely thorough, knowledgeable, and fair. I’ve been a production patternmaker for 30 years and I recommend his work without question.


  12. Becky says:

    Hi Kathleen-

    I’m a Fashion Design student in Los Angeles at FIDM. I am almost done with my program and just got a small freelance job from a client. She doesn’t know anything about sewing or pattern making. Since I’m still in school, I told her I am charging 15$ per hour- whether I’m making the patterns out of her existing dress, cutting, or sewing. Is this reasonable? She’s implying to me that it is a lot. Also it is difficult for me to estimate how long it’ll take without first making it. Any suggestions? Should I make a contract for her to sign to protect myself?

  13. Andrea Frost says:

    The same thing happened to me that happened to Kate with Michael smith of AAA Patters and Markings. He took my patterns and cashed my check and now I have nothing. I am going through small claims court and filing a police report.

  14. Kathleen says:

    For obvious legal reasons, I can’t say one way or another about AAA or Cherie Bixler in a public place. Suffice to say that if you want to know the specific complaints levied against them (or any others you haven’t mentioned) you should consider joining our members forum which is private to get first hand information from people who had to learn the hard way. There are requirements to join. If there weren’t then it’d really be a public forum.

    This entry already said there was a negative rating about Michael before Kate ever added her comment. Please, DO expect problems! I’ve edited the entry to make the warnings stronger but really, I can’t force people to read. All I can do it publish it. You have been warned.

  15. Santosh says:

    Dear Kathleen,

    We are based out of New Delhi ( capital of India ).
    We offer flat prices for grading.
    For a shirt like what you mentioned our price would be as follows :

    $ 1.5 per part digitized
    $ 30 for grading of shirt . We will send you a soft copy which can be printed by you at a bureau close to you or alternatively courier it back to you on a white paper or oak tag ( $ 2 per meter )

  16. Janet Caterina says:

    Working overseas and still trying to get my prices straight for hand-drafted hard paper patterns. I have paid $35 to $100 a pattern in Canada. I think the prices quoted here are for Gerber digitized grading plans and the paper is the printout, not comparable to hard paper. Here I am using bristol, not oak tag, but have to charge what the market can bear and not lose money. Any suggestions?

  17. Tyler osborne says:

    I currently am trying to find someone who offers digital pattern making services. I have some existing templates I would need digitized, and then graded. Seems like this would be a place to find people who could help with that. I am im Canada, but as I said I have digital copies, and only require digital graded templates back. So I could really work through email with people from anywhere.

    Thanks in advance for any help!

  18. Santosh says:

    Hi Tyler,
    We could do this. What format do you have your templates in ? Generally accepted format which can be read into most apparel CAD systems are AAMA DXF or ASTM DXF .

    Do you also have techpacks or measurement sheets for the designs you would like graded ?

    Best regards

  19. Tyler/Santosh:
    We no longer permit job sourcing on the site, it must be done in the forum. Reason is, some people were taken by some bad operators and the question arose as to whether I was liable because I allowed their information to be posted in comments. I regret this but I can’t afford the liability. I can only stand behind my own services and my colleagues I’ve worked with (and listed publicly here). If none of these practitioners are an option for you, you could always consider signing up for the forum. Fwiw, sourcing is but the smallest benefit.

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