Pattern Making Academy

Pattern Making Academy (PMA), is an Australian owned and operated business centred around pattern engineering systems for the production of female apparel.

It was founded by Dr Kathleen (Kath) Berry after many years of investigating and researching the fit of female garments.

PMA was developed with the goal of addressing major fit issues in female garments, by offering innovative simplified pattern engineering systems based on body shape as opposed to garment size. These systems are combined with essential scientific elements, to provide the pathway for producing better fitting outcomes.    

From PMA’s perspective, SHAPE is the key, and product development is the focus! 

The ongoing technological explosion has delivered many benefits to the apparel production industry. However, the cost of progress has been the gradual sacrifice of traditional pattern engineering skills and practices. Many traditionalists would claim that sacrificing these skills contributes to the garment fit issues that are currently prevalent. 

The mantra used continually by the apparel industry today is DIGITAL, DIGITAL, DIGITAL.

The question is: Can Traditional Systems be woven into Digital Technology? Can new digital technology be combined with traditional knowledge and skills?

PMA believes that Digital and Traditional CAN and SHOULD be combined.

Digital’s greatest advantage is the time that can be saved from the initial design stage to the finished garment. For example, moving from 2D to 3D, and taking advantage of the combination of 3D body scanning and virtual technology has the potential to address countless product development issues digitally and bring about a marked reduction in massive wastage. Testing garment fit prior to production is one of the many benefits of virtual technology.

However, for small to medium stakeholders who are not yet able to access 3D technology, for whatever reason, PMA offers an approach that combines science and technology with creativity, and provides users with tools to make better informed decisions about body shape and achieve better fitting garments efficiently and sustainably. Unit 1: Essential Elements of Pattern Making outlines these tools using an innovative and comprehensive approach.

The essential elements of pattern making / pattern engineering are a combination of visual and practical processes that provide a wealth of information about a client or fit model.  The process includes 4 photographs taken with a mobile phone or iPad, whilst the client or fit model is wearing the measuring garment. Details obtained include a record of the body shape, natural posture and stance of each participant, and the identification of specific characteristics that may affect garment fit. 

Other key elements of garment fit are the body measurements used, and how they are applied in pattern engineering systems.  These two elements were a priority for the early artisans and tailors, and PMA believes that these elements are equally important today.

Different body shapes mean different body measurements. How and where these measurements are applied in pattern engineering systems is crucial. For the record, evidence shows that using the SAME measurements with different pattern engineering systems can produce a markedly different fitting outcome [more on this in Unit 12 Part A and Part B pages 51-57].

In terms of application, the PMA pattern engineering systems not only address the relevance of different body shapes but also offer solutions that can be applied both manually AND digitally.

The step-by-step procedures and specifications for drafting manually and digitally are the same. However, the digital process requires in-depth CAD expertise, AND experience with the menus and functions of a Pattern Design System [PDS].

If the PMA systems are to be used digitally, it is recommended that the method and procedure are tried manually prior to commencing the digital process.

Manual Tools

Computer knowledge and skills

AccuMark  PDS (Pattern Design System)

Additional Features

  • PMA’s publications have been produced with an emphasis on cost to reach a wide range of users.
  • Small and medium businesses are the primary focus of PMA. Interestingly, according to a reputable domain name registrar, small business makes up nearly 98% of all businesses in Australia.
  • PMA is strong on transferability. The FD~CS engineering systems can be used not only for the five featured figure types, but also for other body types that correspond in shape, but not necessarily in measurements.
  • PMA is also strong on versatility as the systems can be used to make patterns [with slight modifications] for children and teenagers.
  • The Principles in Unit1: Essential Elements of Pattern Making provide a pathway to PMA’s transferability and versatility.

Pattern Making Academy’s vision is a commitment to promoting the sustainability of pattern engineering by combining the science of pattern making with the creative art of fashion design while continuing to research and support new initiatives in the field of product development.

Pattern Making Academy’s mission is to develop a range of publications that share time-honoured knowledge and innovative skills for addressing many of the challenges encountered in the design and production of female garments. Current challenges include sustainability concerns centred around garment fit issues, resulting in poor sell-throughs, waste of material and creating an excessive amount of landfill.

Three Popular/Suggested Products

PMA’s printed and electronic eBooks presenting Pattern Engineering Systems for five female figure types are provided in an innovative, simplified format. The small, stand-alone units use colour-coding and step-by-step instructions to create master blocks for an individual, fit model or your target market.

The books also cover KEY elements identified by the author as the foundation of pattern engineering; a fascinating look at the history of pattern engineering; and a comprehensive literature review of opinions and predictions about the directions pattern engineering and the fashion industry may take in the future.

Pattern Making Academy