What is a grade plan?
A grade plan is a crucial component of every tech pack. It works in collaboration with a size specification sheet to maintain a consistent fit and shape of garments across ranges. These sheets detail which parts of the pattern you want to increase or decrease with different sizes. This allows a size 6 and size 14 to be able to wear the same designed dress and have it fit both bodies proportionally and symmetrically.
A pattern can be graded manually or digitally. Both produce a correct grade although the digital option using grading software is much faster. Especially when producing large amounts of stock. Most businesses outsource a professional to grade their patterns as it can be confusing and time consuming. However if you have already made pattern pieces and know your grading points you can create your own grade plan using CAD Software.
Make sure you have entered your grading points and increments correctly and have had someone cross check them. It is very important the grade plan is accurate as your manufacturer will follow these pattern pieces to produce your garments. If mistakes have been made you will receive back asymmetrical fitting garments.
If you are considering grading your own patterns whether it be by hand or digitally you need to have a good understanding of pattern making.
What to include in a grade plan?
- Details of the measurement points which will grade the pattern
- The total increment used to increase or decrease the size.
|CF to side seam||12mm|
|CB to side seam||12mm|
- A visual representation showing what the final graded pattern pieces will look like. This should include all sizes collaborated on top of one another. Largest at the bottom, smallest at the top. (The below image was created using CAD Software)
- These pattern pieces should be clearly named and numbered.
Common Grade Plan Abbreviations
Within Grade Plans there are some common terms that have become abbreviated over time to allow for ease of communication and to reduce the size of documents. Some of these abbreviations are listed in the table below.
|CF||Center Front – The middle of the front of the garment. This is normally straight and matches the grainline.|
|CB||Center Back – The middle of the back of the garment. This is often straight but can also contain some shaping|
|RSU||Right Side Up|
|WSU||Wrong Side Up|
|RHSAW||Right Hand Side As Worn|
|LHSAW||Left Hand Side As Worn|
|RST||Right sides together|
|WST||Wrong sides together|