Grading & Marker Making
Grading and marker making move into the technical side of the production process and any design that is at this stage is ready to be produced.
Grading is the process of sizing out each pattern piece in a design to a company's size specs.
Marker making is the process of plotting out an order of the styles and sizes requested in an order (or sometimes a record marker which includes one of each size).
The marker is sent to the cutters along with the materials to begin the manufacturing process of cut/sew and/or other processes like dye sublimation, embroidery, or others before all pieces are sewn together to complete each garment.
We use Gerber Technology Accumark V10 apparel CAD software for our CAD services and we can import/export almost any files you have already established. This area can be difficult to navigate as it is very technical. We also work to ensure material efficiency in all of our projects. Our goal is 80% and above. If your marker maker is not working to reach the highest level of efficiency, this is costing you money and it could be hundreds of dollars.
Example: Not all companies work to ensure markers are at peak efficiency and this means that they are not making sure all materials are being used efficiently. You request a marker for an order of 5 styles in 5 sizes each and in 3 color ways, this is an order of 75 garments. If each garment takes an efficient yardage of 1 yard per design, and one yard of material costs 8.00 this equals $600.00 in a single material for that design. If your marker maker doesn't take the time to ensure efficiency and prints a marker with the average yardage as 1 1/2 per design, this makes your material cost $900.00. Most designs have at least 2 different materials and as you continue to work out the costs on this, you can see that an inefficient marker can cost you hundreds of dollars on a single design. If you pay a patternmaker hourly to ensure efficiency, if this takes 2 hours of additional time, it is well worth the investment over the life of the collection.
Questions you should ask regarding CAD services ~
What system of CAD are you running? Gerber, Tukatech, Optitex, StyleCAD, etc.
What is the compatibility to other systems & equipment? Beware - Not all files will convert into other formats and work with cutters and other equipment in the manufacturing process.
What does it cost to import/export files?
What is their efficiency target average?
When Grading ~
What is your company's grade? 1", 1 1/2", 2"?
Do you have established grade rules?
When Marking ~
How are your materials cut? Single ply, Multi ply
Are your materials being sent to multiple manufacturers/cutters?
When working with a manufacture who also does patterns, grading, and marker making in house, be sure that they will provide you a copy of all patterns as many hold these as a way to ensure you work with them, or you have to pay to redo this work. You have paid for these services, they should always give you a copy upon request. You will have to pay for a copy to be printed, but that is much cheaper than paying to have your patterns redone completely. Any company who refuses to do this is not ethical at best.