You may think that grading is something that only teachers do for their students' assignments... but you may be surprised to know that grading is an essential term for designing garments!
In knitwear, grading refers to the calculations a designer has to make to adapt a pattern for multiple sizes. I'm given to understand that the same term applies to sewing patterns, also, though I'm no expert in sewing so don't take my word for it :)
Back to grading. Aiming for an A+, right?
Not exactly. When I write a pattern, I typically work it up so that it will fit my size, somewhere in the S-M range. Yet when I prepare my patterns for testing and publication, they include sizes ranging from XS-3XL...which is 6 more sizes than the single size I originally wrote the pattern.
Up until recently, I wrote my patterns as I knit them. The reason for doing it this way was mainly because I didn't have a fully-formed idea of what I was doing until I actually did it.
It sometimes worked.
I realized somewhere around my twelfth pattern--and somewhere around the 18th version of that pattern--that there had to be a better way to do grading. So I read up on some discussion threads about different ways different designers grade their patterns to get some ideas. It seemed that the consensus for the best method of grading was to write the whole thing out first and then to knit the garment. Duh!
I decided decided that I'd give it a try.
Sure enough, despite my eagerness to jump right in to knitting my new design, it worked. And what a difference it makes! My pattern looks much better, I'm designing and even editing with much more ease than ever before, and I'm even able to simplify as I go. It's a win-win.
Curious us to see how well it worked? I'll be posting soon about the test for the newly updated Baton Rouge sweater and also for the Westminster cardigan--both of which have followed my newly discovered method of drafting and grading :)
until next time...
Hi, I'm Emily, nice to meet you!