The answer to the quiz is in two parts, both included here. First I’ll give the answer, including what the multitude of marks implied on the second photo and then I have some comments on all the responses.
The blue hash marks are related to the digitizing process (CAD). If patterns are made by hand as these were, they’re entered into the system via digitizing. I did say this was arcane and I’d only seen it in one plant. As the person who digitized there was not a pattern maker or grader, the hash marks were placed to indicate where along the pattern edges she was to input a point for the computer to read it. On straight edges, you don’t need any points entered, just corner to corner. In fact, having no hash marks on a line implied the line was straight; it also saved digitizing time. It’s best to not digitize straight lines because the computer can draw them more exactly. Curvy edges need more hash marks and readings to draw the curves well. That’s the first part of the answer to part one, but first:
Is it required to place these marks along the edge? I’d say not. If the person digitizing is a grader, pattern maker or someone who is very nit picky, you typically don’t need to make markings. Digitizing itself though, is a lower level skill. If the work environment is heavy, why pay a higher wage pattern maker to do it, especially if there’s a lot of digitizing to do? A pattern maker would get annoyed having to do something like digitizing all day long. They’d be underutilized. If it’s a slower paced environment, sure, the pattern maker and/or grader could do it.
Now, the unnecessary multitude of blue hash marks on the second pattern piece (below) sent a clear message. Everyone who saw those marks bust out laughing.
Yes it was a curve but these are far more marks than were needed. The excessive multitude of marks meant that yours truly was more than annoyed. It was my way of saying that the digitizer was sloppy. She either wasn’t hitting all the points she should have been or she was doing it poorly, not lining up the puck in the cross hairs. It was my way of saying, “be more accurate”. Not that I did this all the time. Having extra marks meant the line would be more accurate. She was a nice woman, we got along well. She just hated our boss. I almost wonder if she did that in retaliation but it only slowed us down and had to be redone. I keep saying I’m going to write about our pattern supervisor some time but I never have. There’s some lessons there.
Here’s my comments on comments. There’s a learning opportunity in explaining why some of the guesses were off target.
The red ink: If I’d known the red ink was going to draw so much commentary, I would have picked another pattern piece. I asked about the little blue hash marks. I’m a bit surprised so many didn’t know what the red ink meant; it’s been discussed frequently and is also in the book in numerous places (pg. 179-180 >production pattern making >color coding). [Amended: Stu’s comment which came in after I finished writing this identifies this correctly; I’m not more specific because then you won’t look it up and read those entire sections again which you should.] The reason why the number 21231 was in the red box is because the red line protocol only applied to it, it did not apply to the 21118. Otherwise, the pattern piece you saw is used for both styles. The 21118 didn’t need it, being a heavier material than the 21231. Alison (more below) mentions the red lines are a visual cue that mostly, only the pattern department will see. This is correct. It’s used as a check to make sure all the pieces pertaining to the style have been created. If a pattern isn’t outlined in red, the digitizer or cutting room supervisor won’t be looking for pattern pieces that don’t exist. Also, if the pieces are outlined in red, they will look for those pieces and hunt you down if they don’t have them.
Pattern walking. Nope, not that although JC correctly mentioned that you don’t match up edges when walking a pattern, just the seam lines. If you match cut edges, your walk will be off. So, just walk on the seam lines.
Visual cues: Several mentioned the hash marks could have been some sort of instruction or visual cue to the person sewing it. As Alison mentioned, in a commercial environment, the person sewing rarely- if ever- sees the pattern. Instructions are usually imparted via notching, truing and drills (see that whole section on production pattern making in my book). Those elements are the only instructions most of your stitchers will ever get. Minor nag: never ever design a pattern according to your preferences and practices. They must be designed to fit the standard practices of those who will use them most. I know you own the company but the majority rules.
Matching stripes: This is also illustrated in the book, page 180 with that big drawing at the bottom of the page. This is the best way to mark stripe match placement. It must be precise and obvious.
Ease: Again, the person sewing rarely if ever sees the pattern so it’d be a wasted exercise. Ease is most often indicated via notching. A partial answer is found in a tutorial that mentioned easing the front lining onto the facing. The best thing is to review pages 154-156 of my book. That section explains how to draft lining patterns and how you must place those notches for easing.
Notch size and depth: 21118/21231is a leather die pattern. A proto leather pattern takes regular notches usually 1/4″ deep by 1/16″ wide for the sake of accuracy (if they looked any larger, it was an effect of the photo). Unlike fabric patterns, you can’t grade leather patterns and leave them in the computer for markers.Once a leather style is approved for production, oak tag patterns are made for the garment in all sizes so dies can be made. For a complicated reason specific to the die making process, a fatter notch is needed (1/8th wide by 1/4″ deep). So, you can tell at a glance if a pattern is made for dies by the notches. Once dies are made, these oak tag patterns are rarely used again except as a check as to die integrity. If dies are used a lot, over time, their metal edges will splay or reshape due to the pressure of a 20 ton press coming down on top of them. If the sewing line starts experiencing problems, the oak tag patterns used to make the dies are pulled and used to check the accuracy of the dies.
Have ideas for future quizzes? Something got you stumped that you later figured out? I should do these at least once a week.