Marking and Cutting
When the pattern is ready I have to decide how to lay it out on the fabric so I can cut the pieces. A marker is a big piece of paper the same width as the fabric on which I trace the pattern pieces. Each piece needs to be aligned to the edge of the fabric so that the fabric hangs correctly when you are wearing the garment. After the pieces are all traced out on the marker, I lay the marker on top of the fabric, and cut through both the paper and the fabric. Each fabric needs a different marker, so if one garment uses 3 different fabrics, I need to make 3 different markers.
Grading is the process of developing various sizes for one style. Here you can see some of the pieces from the Wrap Dress. The front and the sleeve are "nested," which means that all the sizes are printed together in a nest so you can see how they relate to each other. You can see other pieces printed individually, ready to be arranged in a marker to guide in cutting. I graded this style with a Computer Aided Design software specially developed for the garment industry. I can also grade by hand, tracing each piece with adjustments to alter the size, an inch less here, an inch more there.