What is “Apparel Grading”?

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Are you creating an apparel line? You might have heard of grading. Pattern grading is rather complex if you are not an expert. However, learning the basics is necessary if you are planning on putting out a clothing line. You may be asking what grading is, why you need it, or how to find someone who can help you with it. Let’s break it down:

What is Grading?

Grading, or pattern grading, is the process of creating a range of sizes for a single apparel style. The purpose of grading is to properly fit a pattern to a range of sizes. Grading will not create shape, but will only increase or decrease size of original shape.

After you have your pattern and your fit is approved for a middle-sized size, the pattern is “graded” for the range of sizes you want. The “grade rules” will allow for manufacturer to systematically increased or decreased the middle-sized pattern based on desired size. The “grade rules” refer to the amount of change between sizes, for each measurement point. Grade Rules usually go 1″ from 0-10, 1″1/2 from 12-16 and 2″ up from the 18 with a 1/4″ length from size to size. So a size 4 will only be graded down 1″ (1/2″ in the front and 1/2″ in the back) to produce a size 2.

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Who Grades?

This isn’t something that most designers and entrepreneurs will need to know in detail. There are professionals that specialize in getting your fit and grade right, so your collection yields the right sizes.  Start searching Maker’s Row’s for over 300 factories that specialize in grading.

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