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2.2.8 Pattern Grading

Grading is a technique used either to maximize or minimize the size of a pattern. This becomes necessary when large numbers of different sized garments have to be produced in a relatively shorter time as is done in the garment industry (Hulme 1944; Knez 1994; Joseph-Armstrong 2004). The different terms associated with grading are as follows:

1. Suppression grading: The controlling features of the garment like darts, pleats and gathers when decreased in size undergo suppression. To suppress the girth measurement, of say No 28″ size in relation to the girth of 26″ waist size, only a tuck has to be placed at the waist. This has nothing to do with styling.

2. Three-dimensional grading: This technique is commonly used for tight fitting and knitted garments. This involves not only suppression but also the changes in girth and height.

3. Two-dimensional grading: In this simple and easy method, only girth and height measurements are changed without altering the shape.

4. Cardinal points: The points where the grading increments are applied are called cardinal points.

5. Balance: This refers to the perfect relationship between the units as explained earlier. It explains that when the increase is done in the front, then care should be taken to increase at the back also.

6. Nested or stacked grading: In this method, the difference in the increase in size is made visible by superimposing one size to another. The progression of sizes can be more noticeable. Types of Grading


Systems There are two types of grading systems commonly used.

1. Two-dimensional grading

2. Three-dimensional grading Two-Dimensional Grading

The two-dimensional grading could be done using two techniques:

1. Draft technique: This involves the increments being applied to the actual pattern draft. For example, if you are grading for one size up at the front bodice, the sloper is taken and the measurements to be added at the different cardinal points like shoulder, armscye, center front, etc. are added simultaneously.

2. Track technique: This involves applying grade increments to individual pieces of pattern by moving the base pattern piece along predetermined tracks. In this method, the pattern is altered section by section along the predetermined tracks. Let us take the example of grading the pattern for one size up at the shoulder, neckline, center front, etc. The tracks are drawn on a separate sheet of paper and the pattern is moved as follows:

a. Shoulder: The pattern is moved along the track for grading the shoulder, and then returned to the original track.

b. Neckline: From the original track, again the pattern is moved for grading the neckline, then again returned to the original track. The process is continued until all the sections of the pattern are graded. Three-Dimensional Grading

Three-dimensional grading is used not only to increase a pattern for size but also to increase or decrease suppression in the following areas:

1. Bust to shoulder

2. Hip to waist

3. Elbow to wrist