Pattern Making for Female Clothing

Pattern Making Academy provides innovative, easy to use training manuals to produce well-fitting female garments.

Welcome to Pattern Making Academy (PMA)

We are an Australian owned and operated business

PMA was founded by Dr Kathleen [Kath] Berry whose career in education and training in the discipline of fashion spans 5 decades. Kath’s main focus has always been to produce well-fitting female garments. To achieve this goal Kath has developed pattern making systems based on body shape and not body size for five different female figure types. Each system is easy to learn and is an effective foundation for designing clothing for an individual, or for mass-production.

The PMA systems are well-suited for educational institutions, registered training organisations, industry stakeholders, students, entrepreneurs, fashionistas, and anyone who has a passion to design and make their own clothes.

Innovative training manuals available in eBook and physical book format address the relevance of different female body shapes and provide all the knowledge and skills needed to produce well-fitting garments for the five PMA figure types.

The systems not only address the relevance of different female body shapes but also present solutions that can be applied both manually and digitally – therefore simplifying the transition from manual [flat] patternmaking into the digital [CAD] world. However  PMA recommends that the block making systems are mastered manually prior to transitioning to the digitally process.

Manual [flat] Pattern Making with PMA instructions

Digital Pattern Making using a CAD System with PMA instructions

Why Choose PMA?

PMA publications are designed to:

  • Show the way to master new directions in product development of female garments
  • Provide resources that are focused on forward thinking for the 21st century
  • Present easy to follow systems with step-by-step instructions for self-paced learning
  • Use data that has been comprehensively researched
  • Employ proven technical processes
  • Apply the findings of many years of study, research, and field experiments
  • Encourage industry sustainability & ecological conservation
  • Emphasize the basics that are essential for transition into the digital realm
  • Help users to make better fitting garments across a range of body shapes
  • Facilitate the upgrade of knowledge & skills as well as broaden employment opportunities
  • Use body shape systems as opposed to conventional sizing
  • Show comprehensively how to identify & apply essential elements of pattern making
  • Offer real world education and training

Who is PMA for?

  • Education and training providers
  • Industry product development personnel
  • Retail brands forced to design and produce their own ranges
  • Students
  • Upskilling
  • Reskilling
  • Libraries
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Anyone who is passionate about making better fitting garments

“The Fashion Design System is the result of a major conceptual break-through, moving away from “size” classification to “shape” classification of female garments. Garments produced with the method described in this book will better fit a much larger number of women than garments produced with any other traditional methods because the new system recognises actual shapes of women rather than just saying that some women are small and some large”

Maciej Henneberg PhD, DSc
Wood Jones Professor of Anatomy
The University of Adelaide

Utilizing the systems and methodologies of PMA has allowed us to develop our own unique master blocks based on the shape of real women. We have, and continue to use these master blocks as a basis for many of our clothing designs in our Love Lily Range. PMA and the work of Doctor Kath Berry has given us an edge to offer clothing that fits and suits the needs of our customers which is revolutionary for the fashion industry.

Carolyn Shelley

Hi - Just a shout out to Kath Berry at Pattern Making Academy.

We have been using Kath’s sizing system for some time now with great success for our own ladies clothing label. Using the sizing system by body shape is genius.  Thanks to Kath our Brand is selling through our own stores and has been an amazing success.

Sue Bowering
Sea Elements Noosa

"The PMA has been an integral part to my education in pattern engineering systems and I highly recommend PMA products to anyone interested or involved in female pattern systems. Doctor Kath Berry’s findings are clearly communicated and demonstrated in engaging visuals. Overall, has been a positive educational experience."

Anabele Galagher (Fashionista)

I have been using Pattern Making Academy’s pattern engineering system for several years.

I am a professional dressmaker and my niche market includes bridal, evening wear and special garments for end of year senior school proms etc.

I can now make patterns for individuals with varying figure types and body shape with success.

Using the essential elements such as: anatomy, body shape, how and where to take measurements, the step by step drafting instructions are very useful, as they have minimized the time spent on fitting.

I also conduct sewing classes and I am excited to be able to pass on my knowledge and expertise to others. I get great satisfaction seeing the student achieve results particularly with only one fitting for skirt and pant.

Thank you, Pattern Making Academy, for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Helen Wilhelm
Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology
Barossa Valley SA

Rudaina [Jordan, Southwest Asia] messaged: "When I quickly started flipping through the book and reading here and there, I became speechless. It is a very fabulous, unique book. What caught my attention is the new, fresh approach you had in drafting a sewing pattern.

For the first time I see a pattern making method that takes into consideration shape and the anatomy of the female body as a primary element in drafting, and it makes sense. I also think that each fashion designer and pattern making engineer should have some knowledge in anatomy, and it would be a good idea if it is included in the curriculum at university.

Thanks to you, measuring shall be more accurate and much easier. A person will know where, and why to take them is important.

It is also interesting that you rely on shape not size. As you have explained in your book, each body shape has unique specifications and is important in fitting as well in drafting.

Drafting to shape not size is very convincing and the nice thing about your book is that you mention these specifications in each drafting process in a table.

It is magnificently detailed and you have not forgotten a thing! It takes you step by step through each stage and reminds you of other things you should be aware of. It is especially good for a beginner. The coloured lines have a great advantage in the learning process. The book is visually oriented and that is what it should be like. Some things need to be visual .... for clarifying points, especially drafting".

Pauline [Brisbane, Qld] designs and makes female garments for her fashion range. She says that the PMA resources, with their particular emphasis on shape, are really beneficial, as her range is focused on the fuller figure. Pauline reports that applying the body shape concept produces well-fitting garments for her target market.

Jane [UK] teaches students to design and make garments. Jane has messaged: "I'm having the time of my life reading through the Pattern Making Academy material. This is exactly what I've been needing - particularly as regards the different (modern) body types; and your explanations are so clear. Enormous thanks for all your work, and for giving so much helpful detail.  There'll be no stopping me now!"

Eileen [South Ayrshire, Scotland] has emailed:  "I was really impressed by the Fig H blocks - the bodice block and the dress block fitted so well with only the most minor of adjustments, so I thought I would get the complete book as I have all shapes and sizes in my sewing class and it will allow me to make custom blocks for my ladies. (I love drafting and fitting blocks). I look forward to diving into The Fashion Design System book when it arrives."

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 female garment fit issues that continue to frustrate consumers.

The mantra used continually by the apparel industry today is


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 systems CAN and SHOULD be combined.

A key reason for emphasizing this point is that traditional skills like hands-on measuring, are needed to supplement digital measurement obtained using 3D scanners and mobile phones. These digital approaches have limitations currently [a] due to their inability to access certain body dimension and [b] other measurements can only be taken manually. [Unit 12 outlines this aspect in more details.

"Fast Fashion" has been singled out as a main contributor to poor fitting clothing. The results, far too often end up as massive wastage of garments on landfill.

The oversupply and discarding of ill-fitting garments add to existing environmental sustainability concerns, not only about mountains of landfill, but also depletion of valuable resources like water, and pollution of waterways - all of which are irrevocably connected to garment manufacturing. You can read more commentary about this in PMA eBook Unit 12.

Side note: The Australian Broadcasting Commission [ABC] recently filed a report on 'Dead white man’s clothes' in South Africa. 
PMA is strongly committed to the practice of sustainable fashion and has therefore added the link  for those who may be interested.

PMA’s printed and electronic eBooks presenting Pattern Engineering Systems for five female figure types are provided in an innovative, easy to understand 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.

PMA addresses a range of interests and needs:

  • Body shape as opposed to outdated sizing systems [female figure shapes have changed dramatically over the past 5 decades]
  • Guides for brands to develop new blocks for an evolving target market
  • Average measurements for 5 female body shapes;   instructions presented in a self-paced learning format
  • Colour coding for body type recognition
  • Easy to follow step by step instructions with scaled diagrams
  • How to draft master blocks for bodice, sleeve, dress, skirt and pant for each figure type
  • Stand-alone drafting instructions for each body shape
  • PMA essential elements that highlight anatomy [skeletal structure]; morphology [body shape]; geometric shapes; and anthropometry [how to take measurements]
  • Fascinating snippets about pattern making and pattern engineering history, and possible future scenarios
  • 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 well as transferability 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 are a recommended prerequisite before commencing PMA pattern engineering systems
  • We have ensured that our books are affordable and accessible and can be purchased on our website.

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.

Product Shipping: We provide Australia-wide and international shipping. All of our books are also available as instant download eBooks.

What our Customers say...

Pattern Making Academy

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