Digitising Patterns

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CAD: Pattern making, digitising & markers in textiles

Let’s Learn

A pattern block is a master copy of a pattern that has been drafted to fit a particular person. It will be used as a starting point for future pattern cutting and saves time. Blocks are often made out of heavy card, and even leather and metal, in order to make them last longer. 

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With developments in computer aided design (CAD) these blocks are often digitised so they can be stored electronically. This involves a specialist mouse clicking over key points on the original pattern. 

Newer developments in digitising technology involves patterns that have been drafted being attached to a special board using magnets and then a photograph being taken which exports straight into the digitising software. 

The video below demonstrates this newer process and also includes a quick snapshot of the older digitising system. 


  • Investigate the i-Digit software further
  • What are the advantages of digitising a block?
  • Create your own block for a top, skirt or trouser either by drafting one from scratch (investigate the books by Winifred Aldrich) or by taking a garment that fits you, cutting it apart and creating the blocks from it. Use the original blocks to create new garment designs and make up toiles to test out your ideas. 
  • Download this #ThinkDo card (click on the image to see it in more detail). Teachers: Why not use this as a lesson starter? 
    Students: After you have done the activities on the card print it out as a revision card and use it to make revision notes on.
ICT paper patterns copy

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