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Career and Education Opportunities for Garment Patternmakers in Birmingham, Alabama

Garment patternmakers can find many career and educational opportunities in the Birmingham, Alabama area. There are currently 150 working garment patternmakers in Alabama; this should shrink by 35% to about 100 working garment patternmakers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for garment patternmakers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 27.2% over the next eight years. Garment patternmakers generally draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts.

The income of a garment patternmaker is about $13 hourly or $28,640 per year on average in Alabama. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $18 hourly or $37,760 annually on average. Earnings for garment patternmakers are better than earnings in the general category of Fabric and Leather in Alabama and better than general Fabric and Leather category earnings nationally.

The Birmingham area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree as a garment patternmaker. Garment patternmakers usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be a garment patternmaker if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Garment Patternmaker

Garment Patternmaker video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, garment patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. They also may also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.

Garment patternmakers draw details on outlined components to indicate where components are to be joined, as well as the positions of pleats and other features, using computers or drafting instruments. They also mark samples and finished patterns with data such as garment size and sewing instructions. Equally important, garment patternmakers have to draw outlines of pattern components by adapting or copying existing patterns, or by drafting new patterns. They are often called upon to position and cut out master or sample patterns, using scissors and knives, or print out copies of patterns, using computers. They are expected to consider layout specifications with designers, and convert their original models of garments into patterns of separate components that can be laid out on a length of fabric. Finally, garment patternmakers test patterns by making and fitting sample garments.

Every day, garment patternmakers are expected to be able to visualize how things come together and can be organized. It is also important that they be creative and generate new ideas.

It is important for garment patternmakers to examine sketches and layout specifications to establish quantities and sizes of pattern components, and to establish the amount of material or fabric used to make a product. They are often called upon to decide on the best layout of pattern pieces to minimize waste of material, and mark fabric accordingly. They also trace outlines of paper onto cardboard patterns, and cut patterns into components to make templates. They are sometimes expected to compute dimensions of patterns in line with sizes, considering stretching of material. Somewhat less frequently, garment patternmakers are also expected to trace outlines of specified patterns onto material, and cut fabric using scissors.

And finally, they sometimes have to develop a paper pattern from which to mass-produce a layout concept.

Like many other jobs, garment patternmakers must believe in cooperation and coordination and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Garment Patternmaker Training

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has a less than one year program in Apparel and Textile Manufacture.


Certified Environmental Drycleaner: CPD must demonstrate their knowledge regarding professional drycleaning and the implements of prescribed drycleaning standards for physical plant facilities and safe equipment operations.

For more information, see the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute International website.


Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.