Category: Style

The Pattern Cutter


ehind the creations of any designer lurk individuals who get little recognition for the essential and vital work they contribute to the fashion industry – the pattern cutters! These are the hard working, behind the scenes, an invisible team of people, who inhabit the design department of a manufacturing company. Their skill and ability will ultimately bring into existence the finished clothes worn by the buying public, from the simple skirt, the trousers, the casual shirt, the sheath dress to the prom dress or the sharp man’s suit.

Sweetheart Long Prom Dress on Pennzer
Sweetheart Long Prom Dress.

The designer produces the original illustrations, but these usually give little indication of how the pieces of a garment fit together, if at all, and may even be unworkable. The pattern cutter must then work his or her magic and translate a ‘pretty sketch’ into workable pattern pieces or templates. These are cut in calico, sewn up to create a toile and fitted over a tailors dummy to give an idea of what the garment will look like.

A pattern cutter will work closely with an expert machinist so together they can do the necessary alterations needed to the toile, before machining the final sample clothes. Only then will the fashion designer analyze the samples before deciding what pieces are wanted for the collection or should be put into production.

Other methods used by the pattern cutter include (1) draping pieces of material over a dummy, shaping and pinning them around this ‘body’ until they fit correctly (termed as draping), then cutting out a pattern from the pieces.

(2) Taking a flat standard pattern block and altering and shaping it to the desired style (3) Using an existing pattern base from a company’s pattern bank, and then modifying it as is necessary. Alternately, some pattern cutters will use computer-generated models, CAD, to get a sense of how the patterns will look or importantly see how the different shapes can best be laid on a width of fabric to make an outfit cost effective.

A pattern cutter will work with a diverse selection of fabrics, from cotton, linens, silks, wovens, jersey, knitwear and synthetics, which will be used in the manufacture of tailored garments, lingerie, casual wear across the broad spectrum of womenswear, menswear or childrenswear.

The designer may achieve fame and recognition, but the pattern cutters have the necessary talents to produce wearable, beautiful or functional garments out of a ‘sketchy’ idea. Their vital talents will encompass an interest in fashion and trends, the ability to interpret a designer’s drawing, team-working skills and be able to work quickly and accurately. Additionally, math’s skills are needed for measurements and calculations, and a good eye for detail, shape, and proportion. Finally, technical drawing skills, either those of computer or hand are needed.

The pattern cutter certainly is a person of great talent and someone to be lauded!

Off White X Jimmy Choo

Off -White’s collaboration with Jimmy Choo is classy, colorful, dramatic, and according to Vogue “the most exciting new thing to happen between the ankle in quite some time”.

Off White Jimmy Choo Spring 2018 Paris launch
Off-White x Jimmy Choo collection. Spring 2018 Paris.

Off-White have been on the collaboration circuit for a while now, and have created collections with Nike, Vans, and Converse. It seems collaborations and partnerships are the way to go these days. The designer Virgil Abloh of cult fashion label Off-White is now moving towards interior design and has announced an upcoming partnership with IKEA. But it’s all about his teaming up with luxury shoe brand Jimmy Choo on a spring collection, that’s causing ripples.

Jimmy Choo was perhaps an interesting choice for Off-White to add to its long list of collaborations, but Jimmy Choo embraces shoe designs that comprise of (very pricey) conceptual plastics, tulles and bold floral prints.

Shop for clothes online

There is a lot to be said for shopping for clothes online such as convenience, but going online to find the perfect fit can be a nightmare – especially if you have to send everything back. While online shopping can be risky, not being able to try on clothes before you buy them can become a real annoyance, dresses that can be too long or too short, or fabric that you can see your underwear through. But when you do dare to shop online, there are some good tips for buying clothes online – from working out what size ruffle skirt you want to the perfect size bag you need.



Faith Connection ruffle skirt on Pennzer

Checking the measurements

One of the best ways to check the height measurement of any model is to notice if she is wearing heels or flats. This helps to judge the length of skirts, trousers, and dresses. Online fashion platforms such as Farfetch have Fit Predictors to help you gauge your fit compared to a similar designer that fits you, and you can also get information on the height of the model. A skirt that sits above the knee for a model who is 6ft could sit around your ankles if you are smaller. Cropped trousers that look calf-length on a model, might end up full-length on you if you are petite in size.

ASOS Design skirt on Pennzer

Watching a video

If there is a video of a model wearing the item that you want to buy – watch it. The video can give you a really good idea of not only the quality of the fabric but the weight of the fabric as she walks around. Asos have catwalk videos of almost everything on their site.

Chloe ruffled printed mini dress on Pennzer

What’s my size?

If you are shopping on sites like Asos you can use their How to Measure function, and this will help you to choose the correct size for you. Zara have “What’s my size?” function and you can enter your height and weight, and select your preference for clothes that are tighter or looser. This will then tell you what size garment that people of similar dimensions buy – but also the percentage of sales that were successfully kept by them, and not returned.

Theory Classic Parka on Pennzer

Trust Classics

It can be hard to keep up with the latest fashion trends or the next forward-fashion item, and classics are a good option if you are sale shopping. Consider classic tailored jackets, shirts, and trousers that won’t date easily. Although some non-classic offers that are on sale might be hard to pass up, there is often a reason why they are on sale, and it’s possible that a particular trend might not actually be that hot by the time the next fashion season starts.

Stella McCartney Classic Blazer on Pennzer

Judge a garment by it’s laundry label

It is always a good idea to check washing instructions, if there are any, on the site. Buying something that’s discounted or a bargain could cost you throughout the year if the item is dry clean only.


Casadei Blade Pumps on Pennzer

How high should you go?

If you are buying heels, consider measuring the height of shoes that you already own, and that you can comfortably wear. Don’t be tempted to buy anything bigger even if they look like the perfect party shoe. There might be a good reason that they are on sale, and that’s because they will be completely useless to walk in when you get them.

Michael Kors crossbody bag on Pennzer

Your dimensions

It’s a good idea to check the dimensions of accessories before you buy them, and most sites will supply product measurements to check the dimensions of your make up bag or whatever else it is you want to buy. Items like bags can be much smaller in reality than they look online, and the depth is really important if you want to know how much room you will have for your purse, keys, and phone. Shoulder bags and crossbody bags can look big online but in reality are a lot smaller than they look.

Returning items

Sies Marjan creased trench coat on Pennzer

Buying in bulk

The majority of sites offer free returns so that’s something to take advantage of when you are considering buying online, and rather than making lots of little purchases, think about buying once and in bulk. This is a good idea if you are sales shopping, and try doing this early so you don’t have to worry about items selling out. You can also try on items in various sizes and send back the items that don’t fit you the way you want them to. Always be sure to check the sites returns policy before you fill up your shopping cart.

Closed camouflage shirt jacket on Pennzer

Options for deliveries and returns

There are some options to help take the hassle out of returning items, and sites like Doodle can help make this process a little less painful. Their returns service is quick – you just drop your package in, and then you get an email from them with your tracking receipt. Some of their partners are Asos, Amazon, Missguided, and Farfetch. You can Google to find out where your nearest branch is to drop your package in. Asos offer a fantastic delivery and returns service and offer Premier Delivery (in the UK) for only £9.95 a year for unlimited next-day or nominated-day delivery with no minimum order value for a whole year.


Fashion Goes for a Ride

Quite liking the Tom Ford edgy spring-summer 2018 campaign as captured by fashion photographer Steven Klein. With a vintage car and scenes of day and night well captured by Steven Klein’s intimate camerawork.

Dark Doings in a car trunk with Tom Ford’s spring-summer 2018 campaign.
Tom Ford’s spring 2018 advertising campaign with Fernando Cabral, Joan Smalls, Karen Elson and Imari Karanj.

Suddenly reminded of a song from a long long time ago by The Specials – Ghost Town, as they drive around day and night. It’s funny how certain things can provoke a memory.

The Specials – Ghost Town.

Renaissance in Irish Fashion

It’s great to see a renaissance in Irish Fashion happening right now and how more and more designers are making Ireland a base for both their talent and latest offerings and moving Irish fashion forward in the process.

Dublin is a city abuzz with a mix of independent boutiques, cafes and galleries – known as the Creative Quarter. There are many shops on three parallel streets – Clarendon Street, South William Street and Drury Street – featuring both local designers and artisans. New developments have also helped create a concentrated destination for contemporary Irish design.

Irish Design Shop

From jewelleryy, housewares lines to cute crotcheted Farmyard animals, the Irish Design Shop offers the best in Irish Craft & Design. This cosy retail space was designed by Dublin based Sticks Fine Furniture to feature jewellery, textiles, ceramics, glassware, print and stationery all designed and made in Ireland.

Irish Design Shop at 41 Drury Street, Dublin.


Located in Powerscourt Centre, a Georgian-era mansion that holds more than 40 shops. Atrium is an inviting concept store with selections of award-winning Irish and international designers. Filled with beautiful design sourced from independent labels.

ATRIUM in Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin, Ireland.


Carousel is a unique little Irish boutique offering vintage-inspired fashion at affordable prices, including its own women’s brand, Circus, characterized by A-line skirts, waist-nipped dresses and flowing blouses in floral, polka dot and geometric fabrics.

Carousel at 20 Exchequer Street in Dublin.

Theo + George

Dublin is a very young, very vibrant place to live.

The owner of the recently launched Dublin-based apparel brand Theo + George is Philadelphia born designer Katie O’Riordan and she describes her clothing company as a capsule of collection for women on the go, while adhering to the rules of sustainability. Theo + George sells online only to ensure luxury at an affordable price. They also have occasional pop up shops throughout the country.

Theo + George. Embracing quality and sustainable fashion in Dublin, Ireland.


Snáithe soon to air on TG4 channel – an Irish public service broadcaster for Irish-language speakers. The series will be exploring Irish Fashion past and present and begins February 14th, 2018. The presenter is Ciara O’Doherty,  and the series conceived, created, managed, produced and directed by Ciara Nic Chormaic a graduate of Irish and Celtic studies from NUI Galway. She is also a freelance producer of art and history documentaries for the past 10 years and the series marks her directorial debut. This promises to be a very exiting series with contributions from one of Ireland’s most successful designers Oral Kiely, Irish fashion designer Richard Malone, Una Burke and many more.