PATTERN MAKERS - A RARE COMMODITY
process of drafting patterns requires an amazing amount of mind-processing
of mathematical, geometric, past experience knowledge and visual intuition.
It requires a totally focused mind to perform without mistakes. Mechanical
technical accuracy in drafting is very important. The combination of
artistic mind-power and fondness for technically accurate detail required
for pattern making does not commonly occur in human beings. For these
reasons, truly good pattern makers are a rare commodity.
Set designers and technicians, as well as management, tend to assume
that the patternmaker's skills have a direct parallel in those of the
set designer/technical director. What they do not understand is that
the set designer and technician is almost always dealing with a media
that is ridged and therefore has a constancy in its "fit properties":
whether it is a form of wood, metal or plastic, a section of 12' x 12'
will fit into an opening that is 12' x 12' and it is ridged.
Anyone who has experience working with garment making and textiles,
however, knows that every piece of fabric has a different "hand"
(flexibility) and "fit" quality. When one purchases a bolt
of textile from a manufacturer that is purported to be the same "model",
but not from the same "run", one cannot be sure that it will
have the same "hand" (not to mention the same color).
Like all art forms, haveing a "feel for the hand of the fabric"
is something that some rare individuals are born with. Most of us develop
this skill over years of experience in handling a wide variety of textiles
in a wide variety of construction and fit situations. It is unfortunate
that the general public and most of our employers have so little knowledge,
understanding of this and therefore place little or no value on this
skill. There are fewer and fewer patternmakers who can afford to dedicate
the time needed, at current pay rates, to develop the high level of
skill needed to be an efficient patternmaker.