Pattern grading

And it worked!

For those of you who don't know what I am talking about (aka everyone), my previous post was about bringing one of my patterns into the digital world. I needed to print the file to check it was correct in both scale and accuracy, and wooohooooo it was!

pattern pdf

It's like magic watching it come out of the printer and then piecing it together like a puzzle to make a pattern (potentially the simplest pattern in downloadable patter history, but still a pattern all the same). 

sticking together pattern pdf

I have decided that the next step is to transfer this pattern into a range of different sizes (i.e. grade the pattern). I haven't had the opportunity to practice pattern grading much, as at university we made everything to the one size and though I dabbled in at one of my internships, I still don't feel entirely confident about grading. 

I scoured a range of blogs to ensure I was planning to go about it the right way and then got started. I decided to do it digitally (using Adobe Illustrator) as it is much quicker and saves a lot of paper, but I used the same method as if I was doing it by hand. 

I won't go into too much detail  as there are many great tutorials out there in Blog Land that will get you grading in no time, but will outline the method I used - please feel free to email me if you would like me to go into more detail!

pattern grading

I divided the bodice up into segments (both front and back) by drawing guide lines through the neckline, shoulder and underarm (parallel to the centre front or centre back) as well as through the armhole and body (perpendicular to the centre front or back). This means that you are able to distribute the extra length and width throughout the pattern evenly.

grading 1_2.jpg

I then cut the pattern into the segments made by the guide lines using the scissor tool in Illustrator. To make it easier to keep in control of the segments I labelled each piece with a number and transferred each segment onto a new layer.

grading a pattern with illustrator

I then took my trusty calculator and moved each section the designated amount to distribute the grade throughout the pattern.

Once each piece was in the correct place I traced over the pattern with the pen tool to fill in any gaps. 

And voila! My size ten pattern became a twelve.

digital pattern grading