Patternmaking Speed


I’ve been dabbling with freelance outside of my full time job (and hoping to go full freelance at some point). I’m curious if there are other patternmakers and how much time it usually takes you to do pattern corrections.

I’ve been working with a client who is doing tailored pants. They are kind of simple but still have pleats, darts, pocket & shaped waistband with a fly extension and fly shield. It’s not rocket science but I’m finding that each pant correction takes me longer than I am hoping (I’m doing a lot of different sizes for them specific to model measurements of varying body types).

I feel like they are pressuring me to be done faster and maybe I’m just slow! But it’s also a lot of specs to hit and pieces to notch… I’m curious if anyone out there can give me some ideas of how quickly they usually work and what they feel is possible?

It’s a little hard to judge without specific updates and hours involved, but maybe I can help with some perspective?
When I worry about whether I’m fast enough, I keep this in mind: if they were working with a pattern service, the turnaround on updates are about 4-6 weeks (pretty standard in my experience for LA based pattern services, if anyone else has different information, I’d love to hear it).

Pants can be a challenge to fit, and you want to make sure that you get them right. You can’t rush a good fit, sometimes it just takes multiple iterations. I’ve gone up to double-digits of prototypes to get the fit correct on really complicated pants.

I’m not sure what kind of time-frame you are estimating at the beginning, but whatever your first instinct is, double it, and add a few more hours of cushion, so if it does take that long, they were expecting it, and if you are done early, then it reflects well on you.
Be diligent about tracking your hours, and your ability to estimate will get better with time. Working in a hurry doesn’t benefit anyone, and can lead to more mistakes.
Keep in mind as well that what you hope you can do in X amount of hours isn’t the same as what you can actually do in X number of hours.
I’m sure it will get easier with experience, I hope this helps, and the best of luck to you!


Thank you so much for sharing your experience, this is so helpful- I will definitely keep all this in mind!!