Pattern Cutter

A pattern cutter interprets sewn product design briefs and creates patterns that reflect the style, the design and the technical specifications. They need to be creative, have an eye for detail and be able to work quickly and accurately within a team.

What would you do?

Pattern Cutters create patterns based on a designers drawing. They can produce patterns for a variety of products from clothing to medical textiles. They may use various pattern-cutting methods to create the patterns; the most common technique is to develop the pattern from a standard pattern ‘block’. They then be change and develop the block to fit in with the new design. They may adapt a none-standard pattern base or drape fabric over a mannequin and hand-cut the fabric according to the way the fabric falls. Some Pattern Cutters use computer packages to create the pattern pieces, some create patterns manually and others will use a combination of both.

Day to day tasks include:

  • Interpreting given sewn product design briefs
  • Drafting prototype patterns
  • Reviewing and assessing the product samples/ patterns
  • Creating the final master pattern ready for production

Where would you work?

Pattern Cutters can be employed by large, medium, small or micro size textiles business, in a design studio or workroom within a factory. Pattern production rooms are usually spacious and well lit. Those using computerised programmes may also be based in front of a computer screen.

What would you be paid?

For a typical working week of approx. 39 hours

  • A pattern cutters starting salary on average is £18,000-£26,000 per year
  • Experienced pattern cutters salary on average is £35,000-£40,000 per year

Pay rates vary depending on age, experience, location and the size of the company. Additional benefits may include company discounts, pension and health care. Many companies offer overtime and bonuses in order to meet deadlines.

Pattern Cutter Apprenticeships: Employers, by law must pay the government’s apprenticeship minimum wage rate. Research show that many fashion and textiles employers supplement this rate of pay.

Will you need qualifications or training?

Some form of relevant training/ qualification is required, such as a Level 3 Award, Certificate, Diploma, HNC or foundation degree in pattern cutting fashion or garment technology. A Level 3 Pattern Cutter Apprenticeship is also available for those wishing to train on the job.

Qualifications and short courses relating to this job role are offered by a number of awarding organisations including ABC Awards, City & Guilds, Pearson, SQA and UAL, for more detail please follow the links. Degrees and HNDs in pattern cutting and related subjects are also available and should be considered, particularly in preparation for a career in fashion. Click here to see all universities offering fashion degrees relevant to this job role.

What are the career prospects?

Experience could lead to a Head Pattern Cutter position or a move into a related career, such as a pattern grader or product technologist. With additional training a Pattern Cutter could move into design or buying.

Self-employment and freelance work from home is also an option for pattern cutters with significant experience.

How secure is the future of this career?

The UK’s world-class textile manufacture base is growing, thriving and continually investing. Sector employment continues to grow steadily from 97,000 in 2011 to 108,000 in 2016, with an added 19,500 self-employed and research estimates the creation of 20,000 new jobs by 2020.

The number of UK textile & apparel manufacturing businesses has increased annually from 7190 in 2013 to 8075 in 2017 with forecast of further growth.

Textile goods exported across the globe continues to grow with export increases recorded at £250M in March 2016 to £273M in March 2017.

UK Fashion & textile manufacture covers traditional craft to technical textiles and has a production value of £9.1BN, add the wide fashion sector this increases to £28.1BN sector – 4.7% of the total UK economy.

For further information go to:

Vacancies are advertised across the UK with concentration in London, the Northwest, West Yorkshire and the Midlands. Check out the latest vacancies on the site below:

Total Jobs
Drapers Jobs

Pattern Cutter Apprenticeship vacancies:

Some apprenticeship vacancies are ‘open to application’. With details on how to apply within the job vacancy details, these can be found on the job sites listed above Apprenticeship vacancies can also be found via the Find an Apprenticeship’ Service. For further information, advise and tips on how to apply for an apprenticeship vacancy see the UCAS site. (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales) (England)

The websites above are external and the number of job vacancies may vary. Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!


See websites associated to the Pattern Cutter job role below:

Textile Institute
Northern Clothing Network
British Fashion Council