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Short courses
The Arts

An Introduction to Pattern Cutting


Course overview

Pattern cutting is an important part of the garment manufacture process, enabling a fashion design to be interpreted from a fashion sketch into a 3D garment. This course is designed to introduce students to the basic techniques and technical aspects for womenswear pattern cutting. Working with basic blocks, students will explore various techniques to create garment styles and develop technical knowledge. Students will develop research enabling them to identify fashion trends to inform garment design sketches and apply knowledge to develop a final design and pattern.

We are no longer receiving applications for this course. If you have a conditional offer based on completing this course please contact

Where you study

This course is delivered online.

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Course details

What you study

This online pattern cutting course is designed to allow you to experience and gain understanding of constructing basic blocks and how to manipulate a block to transform it into a pattern.

We will be working all blocks and patterns in half scale. All measurements used in are half of a standard size 12 block construction. This will allow the patterning to be done easily on a surface such as a kitchen table at home.

What is pattern cutting?
It is creating a pattern for a garment that fits the body from a flat paper shape. The body is a 3D shape and the construction of a pattern allows a flat 2D shape to be sewn together transforming into a 3D garment fitting the body. We will be constructing basic blocks which will then be used to do a number of style adaptations. A block is just a starting point to making a pattern; its darts and construction lines create a close fitting shell of the body. Areas of the body (i.e. bust, waist, hip, armholes and neckline) are defined on the blocks. These lines give a reference point against the body and changes in design lines i.e. different necklines can be measured and changed from a known starting point.

To complete the practical tasks on this course you will need a few pieces of equipment. These are listed under
'entry requirements'.

How you are assessed


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

As this is an online course it is necessary that you have access to a computer and that you are comfortable learning via an online platform.

International applicants must have an IELTS overall score of 5.5 or equivalent.

To complete the practical tasks on this course you will need a few pieces of equipment, this is a list of the basic items that you will need.

Essential equipment requirements:

• Setsquare (minimum size 20cm).
• Paper (minimum size A3).
• H2 pencil, pencil sharpener, rubber and pen.
• A flexible metric tape measure (dress making type)
• Clear sticky tape.
• Paper scissors
• Glue stick
• Card to transfer your block patterns onto. This can be thin cereal box card, heavy paper or ticket card. The blocks need to be transferred onto card to make them durable to use when drawing around them for the pattern manipulation tasks that you will be doing.

Optional equipment

The following pieces of equipment are great if you are wanting to develop further patterning skills. They are the professional tools used in pattern studios.

Grading pattern cutting setsquare or Pattern Master setsquare. Examples can be seen here and here. These can be purchased from other online outlets, but ensure they are metric measurements and not the small sized products (cheap prices can often indicate smaller sized products).

A3 dotted paper or A3 graph paper are great options for drafting the blocks.

Pattern paper can be plain wallpaper such as lining paper. This is wide enough to do the pattern drafting on. Coloured paper can be used to show where the darts have been moved, for a more visual illustration of the patterning tasks. If you are wanting to do full sized patterns you will need larger paper, a roll of pattern paper, spot and cross paper or brown craft paper.

Tracing wheel. This is very useful for transferring pattern lines from drafts to pattern development and final patterns. You can see examples here or here. When buying a tracing wheel from any other supplier make sure that the wheel points are long and thin spikes. There are others with less spiky triangular wheels, which are much less effective.

A bradawl is a useful tool for transferring dart points and the marks from patterns, blocks and garments.

Reference books that you may want to buy:
Pattern cutting by Dennic Chunman Lo
Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich



2020/21 entry

  • Length: Credits: 10, Level: 4, Fees: £50.00
  • Online
  • Enrolment date: Starts Monday 6 July, Mondays & Wednesdays for four weeks, 6.00pm-9.00pm