Pattern Maker by location

Use this area to discuss Pattern Maker salaries.

Currently working as a handbag pattern/sample marker in Los Angeles. I’ve been working at this company for four years and only make roughly $35,000/year…not salary by the way. These are handbag pieces, we literally make the patterns and sample all by hand.

I personally feel this is not a fair amount for the work or the time they expect products to be completed.


$35,000 a year! You should look at LV they have 2 locations for the production of their bags one is in San Dimas the other one is in Irwindale. I don’t know if they have an opening but you can move your way up just starting on the production line. They have great benefits and working hrs.

Apparel Patternmaker could make from $28 to $100 per hr. All depend on experience and who you are working for. As a freelance one can make from $50 to $500 per pattern. It all depends on the customer, pattern adjustments, and if software files and grading are included. for example.

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That is way below what a pattern maker should make. That would be the starting pay of a technical designer which is what cut out pattern makers from america in the first place. You should be paid way more for your pattern making experience.


Thank you for all your advice. I’ve always felt I was being short changed, but I’ve kept with this company. I’m currently looking for a new company and will definitely check out LV.

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Thank you, I’m looking into new places.


What is a good hourly wage for a pattern maker (clothing only) with 15+ years experience (LA)?
Does anyone have an websites to show any pattern making capabilities? wondering if that is something PM’s even do…

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LilyAgnes, at least $50 per hour possibly much more depending on your category experience, resume, and market position of the bulk of your work.

I’m an Apparel Patternmaker, worked first 10 years in NYC now 3 in LA. Have worked on primarily elevated product throughout my career. I’ve got a fairly broad category range with a specialty in womens eveningwear.

My salary history looks like this:
years 1-5 worked as an agency freelancer making $12-22 per hour mostly as an assistant or end of season rush PM. I also freelanced on the side but definitely didn’t charge enough.
Years 5-10 started my own pattern and sample service, was able to pay myself 25-50k a year (not really a raise at all) mostly because I expanded too fast and had rent and staff, and taxes galore to pay.
Years 10-13 after I closed my company my salary skyrocketed. Ive made 110-150k in the three jobs I’ve had in this time. I’ve also been laid off three times though.

I’m freelancing now and charging $67-100 per hour depending on the amount of work and professionalism of the client. I expect that I’ll make around 100k for 2020 but those freelance taxes aren’t pretty.


CocoBean - it is important to know your worth. Find salary data online (,, etc) as well as job postings for comparison (fashion-industry specific sites are a good place to start). Talk to recruiters. Since you are in LA, there are a lot of other, higher paying options for you. If you like your job but don’t like the pay, get a job offer from somewhere else and tell your company to match it, or you leave. An entry-level candidate (such as someone who has just graduated from fashion school) would be making approximately $32,000 so that should tell you that your pay is too low. It will be hard to convince your company to pay you fairly since you have accepted low pay for so long (4 years). Know your worth and tell your pattern making friends and associates to refuse to work for low pay - this will bring all of our pay rates up. Good luck!


Thank you kkfashion! I’m currently looking for a new company in addition to getting my name out into the freelance world. The company that I’m at currently has laid so many people off due to the pandemic and lack of sales. Before that we were making MAJOR cut back (no holiday bonus for our department) and letting people go, I don’t see the raise happening, especially since I feel I’m getting (minimum 27%) less than what I should. What I’m going to be asking for they probably can’t but I’m going to ask anyway. I’m giving myself 3 months to find a new place of work.


I’m late to this thread, but wondering, did you find a better opportunity?

I find that data around what patternmakers make seems to be highly skewed. I think part of it has to with other job titles called “patternmaker” in metal/tools manufacturing that have gotten into the data pool.

I’ve been toying with freelance for a few years now, I started out charging only $40/hr, but now charge anywhere between $60 to $75 depending on the product and client (some clients I know will just take me longer or use more of my time on long winded emails etc.).

I know that often at US garment factories or some small, non-coastal towns, companies get away with paying something around $55-$60 a year (or $30/hr). I still think this is insanity and I make that clear to any recruiter who tries to convince me the lower cost of living makes up for the lower salary- it doesn’t. If they want coastal talent they have to pay coastal prices or at least meet me half way.

I feel like patternmakers have gotten the short end of the stick the last few years and I think it’s important that we stand up for what we know we are worth. Patternmaking is hard and it’s not an easy role to fill.

I think a major asset to have as a patternmaker that allows you to charge more is your ability to work with designers who maybe don’t always know what they want or have trouble communicating it, in addition to being flexible in how you work.

Great communication, note-taking records and inter-personal skills go a long ways in getting that extra $$. Lots of people want to be designers but not many people know how to interpret designs and turn them into an elegant garment.

From personal experience, I’ve found I get more clients and get them to pay me more by being open to how they want to work, even if it’s slow or messy or not how I’m used to working. I just make sure I keep track of my hours, they pay for my time, but most of them are so grateful to have someone help them through the process!

I also have a website, which I really should continue to update, but I have some variety of images from finished product on websites that I worked on, or I have some videos of me doing patterns (personal patterns, I don’t show any client work other than finished product). I think websites are great for allowing potential clients get to know you as a person. Making that personal connection is key. So I try to show case my work but also have some photos of myself and a little bit about me personally.

I hope this helps!


What you are saying is totally true, and coming from the design side, I think having a patternmaker who is a great communicator and easy to work with is the key to success, especially for younger/inexperienced designers. I personally have learned so much from my PM team, and the way they can interpret rough sketches and suggest details/construction is an incredible asset we should all be happy to pay for. Know your worth!

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Totally agree with LucyAnn and Twirlgirl- patternmaking is key to getting great-looking and great fitting product! Most people coming out of fashion schools are not experienced in patternmaking at a professional level so skills are in short supply.
Think of your patternmakers as creative engineering partners. Good communication is a big part of successful partnership, keeping in mind that you may have to adapt both to how the designer likes to give info or direction, and how you receive that info.

This helps so much! Thank you! Unfortunately…well actually fortunately, I haven’t found another job because in the mist of searching I’ve decided to move into the freelance world. Your message came at the right time! I’m entering the freelance world as a “newbie” and your tips very helpful! I have a website that needs some rework, I want it focus more my work and what I can do. Also figuring out where the freelance community post/find jobs…the joys of networking.

Your opinion on pricing and the role of a patternmaker was great and confirmed what I was thinking. I’ve had the “lower your rates” conversation and I always felt people don’t realize how important patternmakers are and the role they play.

Thank you again for all suggestions, greatly appreciate it.


I’m so glad it was helpful to you! And congrats for making the leap! It can take some time to get going and build momentum and connections, so don’t let yourself get discouraged if that takes time.

A lot of jobs I get come in rather indirect ways… for instance, a friend of a friend who happens to remember meeting me once several years ago, former employers reach out because they suddenly have too much work and need a hand, etc.

Don’t be afraid to send a cold email or a LinkedIn message to someone, even if they don’t have a job posting. Most of the time you’ll never hear back, but once in a while, you will, and they will respond enthusiastically that they DO need a patternmaker and would love to chat. Or you might just begin a relationship that turns into something later.

I will say, in the beginning I struggled with estimating the amount of time something would take and also often said yes to things that maybe were way too big for me to do in such a short amount of time.

Try to be honest and push back if they try to confine you to a timeline you know isn’t realistic. And always estimate at least double the time you think it will take. However, I also think building up that confidence in pushing back might take time… I think it can be rocky in the beginning but I also think that’s how you learn. It’s not worth working for someone who pushes you unreasonably anyway.

Anyway, please let us know how it goes! I think it’s so important to share stores and salaries and all of it - it’s so easy for patternmakers to get taken advantage of, knowledge is power! :slight_smile: