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Career and Education Opportunities for Garment Patternmakers in San Jose, California

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for garment patternmakers in the San Jose, California area. Currently, 2,300 people work as garment patternmakers in California. This is expected to shrink by 13% to 2,000 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for garment patternmakers, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 27.2% over the next eight years. In general, garment patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts.

Garment patternmakers earn about $24 hourly or $50,180 per year on average in California and about $18 per hour or $37,760 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Fabric and Leather , people working as garment patternmakers in California earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Fabric and Leather nationally.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of San Jose where you can study to be a garment patternmaker, among fifty-nine schools of higher education total in the San Jose area. The most common level of education for garment patternmakers is a post-secondary certificate. 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 San Jose include:

  • Engraver. Engrave or etch metal, wood, or other materials for identification or decorative purposes. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.
  • Prepress Technician. Set up and prepare material for printing presses.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Garment Patternmaker Training

Canada College - Redwood City, CA

Canada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94061-1099. Canada College is a medium sized college located in Redwood City, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,775 students. Canada College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Apparel and Textile Manufacture.

West Valley College - Saratoga, CA

West Valley College, 14000 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070-5698. West Valley College is a large college located in Saratoga, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,585 students. West Valley College has an associate's degree and a two to four 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.


San Jose, California
San Jose, California photo by Leslie

San Jose is situated in Santa Clara County, California. It has a population of over 948,279, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in San Jose, 163, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Jose are priced at $163,800 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred fourteen new homes were built in San Jose, down from three hundred twenty-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in San Jose are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 31.6% of San Jose residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in San Jose is 13.2%, which is greater than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of San Jose residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Almaden Hill United Methodist Church, Almaden Valley United Methodist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are some of the churches located in San Jose. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Muslim Estimate.

San Jose is home to the Evergreen Ranch and the Rosegarden Branch San Jose Public Library as well as Almaden Winery Park and Albertson Park. Shopping malls in the area include Almaden Plaza Shopping Center, Almaden Via Valiente Plaza Shopping Center and Foxworthy Shopping Center. Visitors to San Jose can choose from Atrium Gardens, Best Western Airport Plaza and Best Western Inn Airport Plaza for temporary stays in the area.