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Occupational Certificate: Apparel Pattern Maker and Grader 
115455  Occupational Certificate: Apparel Pattern Maker and Grader 
Development Quality Partner - FPMSETA (MAN) 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Manufacturing and Assembly 
Undefined  291  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  EXCO 04170/20  2020-02-26  2025-02-26 
2026-02-26   2029-02-26  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as an Apparel Pattern Maker and Grader. An Apparel Pattern Maker and Grader produce sets of master patterns following sketches, sample articles, and design specifications, and cuts out patterns for garments.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Create a basic block for a master size in all clothing's.
  • Read and interpret a brief/design of a garment demonstrating a visual understanding of the requirements.
  • Develop and create a working pattern, pre-production sample and final pattern according to the design and customer requirements.
  • Test the pattern on the fabric by making and fitting the first sample garment and doing an assessment of the first sample against the pattern (which could be in conjunction with the sample machinist).
  • Grade patterns for different size garments.

    Sophisticated garment construction and manufacturing processes within a competitive and challenging environment characterised the clothing manufacturing industry. The garment products manufactured must meet a wide variety of specifications, related to quality, customer and consumer, contextual (i.e. leisure, sport, work, fashion) and even safety specifications. The industry has to respond to quality issues and increasing competition in export, import, and domestic markets while ensuring the global competitiveness of products and profitability of the companies. Within the garment construction and manufacturing industry, people working as patternmakers and graders require specialised technical skills and knowledge about the construction of garments and the properties and characteristics of the textiles used meeting garment specifications critical to the manufacturing process, quality assurance practices. Patternmakers and graders need to put processes in place to adapt to and meet the requirements of the constantly changing manufactured products.

    Patternmakers and graders form part of the backbone of the fashion/clothing manufacturing industry since the patterns they create are very important to produce the final clothing product.

    This qualification provides an opportunity for learners who exit the schooling system, but who wish to continue to obtain occupation-specific knowledge and skills to develop such competencies and also to receive formal recognition for the skills they have acquired in this specific occupational area. It creates the opportunity for learners to improve their employability and at the same time creates opportunities to study further in their chosen field. It also presents an opportunity for persons who have been operating in the industry, without the formal qualification as recognition for their skills and competencies acquired in the workplace. Other suitable employment opportunities will include production assistants, merchandise assistants, specification technicians and assistant stylists.

    Because of the ongoing support by the government, the sector is in a growth phase due to new employment opportunities. Employment will be mainly with clothing manufacturing companies and government initiatives. However, self-employment is another possibility which could lead to a sustainable small business. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
  • RPL for Access to the External Integrated Summative Assessment.
  • Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result or certifying a work experience record.

    RPL for Access to the Qualification:
  • Accredited providers and approved workplaces may recognise prior learning against the relevant access requirements.

    Entry Requirements:
  • NQF 4 qualification with Mathematical Literacy.
  • NQF Level 1 (AET Level 4) with assessed three years' experience as pattern grader or design room assistant. 


    This qualification is made up of the following compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skills and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • Knowledge, 683202-003-00-00-KM-01, Introduction to Fashion, Garment Design, Pattern-making and Grading, Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • Knowledge, 683202-003-00-00-KM-02, Raw Materials, and Manufacturing of Clothing, Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • Knowledge, 683202-003-00-00-KM-03, Pattern-making Principles, Methods, and Equipment, Level 5, 30 Credits.
  • Knowledge, 683202-003-00-00-KM-04, Constructing Blocks, Principles and Methods, Level 5, 15 Credits.
  • Knowledge, 683202-003-00-00-KM-05, Garment Types and Respective Requirements for Pattern-making, Level 5, 15 Credits.
  • Knowledge, 683202-003-00-00-KM-06, Pattern Grading Principles, and Methods, Level 4, 15 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 87.

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 683202-003-00-00-PM-01, Create a Set of Basic Blocks for a Master Size in all Commodities, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00-00-PM-02, Analyse the Brief/Design of a Garment to Identify Implications for Patternmaking, Level 5, 10 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00-00-PM-03, Change the Base Pattern into a Style and Create the Pattern, Level 5, 40 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00- 00-PM-04, Convert Original Briefs/Designs of Garments into Patterns of Separate Parts that can be laid out on a length of fabric, Level 5, 20 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00-00-PM-05, Construct a Set of Graded Patterns According to the Sizing System, Level 4, 30, Level.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 105.

    Work Experience Modules:
  • 683202-003-00- 00-WM-01, Pattern-making and In-company Garment Making Process Induction, Level 5, 25 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00-00-WM-02, Customer and Design Specifications for Pattern-making, Level 5, 10 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00-00-WM-03, Pattern-making Processes in the Pattern-making Department, Level 5, 28 Credits.
  • 683202-003-00-00-WM-04, Garment Pattern Testing and Finalisation for Production, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 683401-001-00-00-WM-05, Pattern Grading Operations, Level 4, 28 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 99. 

    1. Identify customer needs, complete product specifications and technical drawings.
    2. Explain and sequence the processes involved in the design and development of a sewn product following garment construction practices.
    3. Identify and use design, development and pattern making tools to produce a garment pattern meeting the requirements of the garment design.
    4. Take body measurements and read standard size charts.
    5. Draft blocks (slopers), make patterns and produce a sample following the design and measurements.
    6. Compile garment specifications and basic cost sheets.
    7. Grade patterns for different sizes using various methods while maintaining the proportions of the style. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Identify and document customer needs for specific product types are according to company procedures.
  • Interpret specification sheets for specific products according to customer requirements.
  • Complete annotated technical drawings for specific products according to customer requirements.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Analyse and describe the stages and processes involved in the design and product development according to standard practice.
  • Identify the personnel involved in the design and product development according to their various functions and contributions to the design process.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Identified and selected tools according to specific uses.
  • Verify the accuracy of the measuring tools and calibrate if required.
  • Store tools correctly to maintain accuracy.
  • Apply a range of techniques for the use of tools required for drawing, designing and making patterns.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Take relevant and accurate body and garment measurements according to customer requirements.
  • Record measurements and note variations according to customer size charts and specifications.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Draft blocks (slopers) and create samples using specified construction techniques and according to required measurements.
  • Make patterns, create style variations and produce samples using blocks (slopers) and specified construction techniques, according to customer requirements.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Identify and list component parts (i.e. fabric, trims, construction processes) for specific products according to customer requirements.
  • Complete specifications for specific products according to customer requirements.
  • Give specifications to sample department and produce samples according to customer requirements.
  • Complete basic cost sheets for specific product types according to company procedures.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 7:
  • Measure, calculate and apply formulae in pattern grading operations.
  • Identify and apply the sizing system and sizing chart.
  • Scrutinise and interpret patterns and apply information and specifications to grading operations.
  • Apply grading principles to various sizes and shapes, starting from the base size to grade patterns using various methods.
  • Apply grading techniques to grade patterns for different sizes.

    Integrated Assessment:

    Integrated Formative Assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment:
    The relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner conducts an external integrated summative assessment for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the Exit Level Outcomes and associated assessment criteria. 

    This qualification compares with the following two qualifications:
  • Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology (Australia) (Level 5).
  • New Zealand Diploma in Apparel and Fashion Technology (Level 5).

    The New Zealand Diploma in Apparel and Fashion Technology (Level 5) is 120 Credits and prepares the learner for the apparel and fashion manufacturing sector with advanced technical skills in patternmaking and garment construction and production to meet the requirements of the company and the customer.

    The comparison revealed that the New Zeeland and South African qualifications are similar in content, level, and complexity about the following qualification outcomes and related specified conditions:
  • Creating detailed job specifications for a range of structured and unstructured garments.
  • Creating detailed specification sheets which may include: lay plan; garment description and accurate drawings; notions and trims; garment assembly instructions; costing and timings.
  • Applying knowledge of commercial garment assembly operations to write garment sequencing requirements.
  • Determining correct care labelling requirements according to the country of origin and legislative requirements.
  • Making, adapting, grading, and adjusting flat patterns to fit for a range of structured and unstructured garments.
  • Constructing pattern blocks.
  • Adapting flat patterns to create style variations.
  • Adjusting patterns to fit.
  • Manually grading flat patterns in a range of sizes.
  • Applying knowledge of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) to a range of structured and unstructured garments.
  • Making garment patterns.
  • Making lay plans.
  • Digitising and grading patterns.
  • Selecting fabrics and apparel componentry appropriate to the end-use for a range of structured and unstructured garments.
  • Knowledge of a range of fabric types including composition, properties, manufacturing methods and cost.
  • Selecting appropriate fabric and apparel componentry to meet garment end-use and customer requirements.

    Even though the two qualifications compare well in terms of the above information, the South African qualification, external integrated assessment specifications, and curriculum include substantially more information which is welcomed by the industry since it gives sufficient guidance to the sector to enhance standardisation and consistency across all companies.

    The South African qualification also specifies the competencies for pattern grader separately, which allows for a suitable and employable exit point.

    The South African qualification does not include any garment design component, such as mentioned below, a key difference between the two qualifications:
  • Researching, designing and presenting new project or garment design to a customer brief, and respond to feedback to meet.
  • Researching and compiling design and quality specifications.
  • Presenting design recommendations.
  • Responding to feedback and adjusting design appropriately.

    A comparison with the Australian Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology (Level 5) revealed similarities in content and complexity of competencies. The Australian qualification includes the following aspects, which are similar to the South African qualification:
  • LMTCL2003B: Identify fibres and fabrics.
  • LMTCL2010B: Modify patterns to create basic styles.
  • LMTCL2011B: Draw and interpret a basic sketch.
  • LMTCL3001B: Identify fabric performance and handling requirements.
  • LMTGN2001B: Follow defined OH&S policies and procedures.
  • MSAENV272B: Participate in environmentally sustainable work practices.
  • LMTCL3009B: Develop patterns from a block using basic pattern-making principles.
  • LMTFD4004B: Calculate cost estimates for fashion products.
  • LMTFD3004B: Draw a trade drawing for fashion design.
  • LMTFD4007B: Conduct quality assurance for patterns.
  • LMTFD4008B: Construct stock size block for a garment to meet size and fit specifications.
  • LMTFD4013B: Grade 2D patterns.
  • LMTFD4015B: Create a pattern from block to meet customer specifications.
  • LMTFD4018B: Use and apply sizing systems appropriate for fashion design.
  • LMTFD4020B: Use electronic fashion design tools.
  • LMTFD4021B: Drape fabrics to make patterns.
  • LMTFD5003B: Analyse fit model.
  • LMTFD5012B: Perform contour draping.
  • LMTFD5013B: Develop merchandising plans for fashion products.
  • LMTFD5014B: Construct complex blocks for fashion garments.
  • LMTFD5015B: Develop patterns for complex fashion garments.
  • LMTFD5016B: Grade shaped patterns.
  • LMTFD5018B: Determine and specify advanced construction processes.
  • LMTFD5019B: Analyse individual fit and make pattern alterations.
  • LMTGN2009B: Operate computing technology in a Textiles, Clothing and Footwear workplace.

    The Australian qualification includes the aspects below. However, the South African qualification does not include any fashion design aspects, since these are competencies for which the patternmaker is not responsible:
  • LMTGN5001B: Participate in production planning processes.
  • LMTGN5002B: Coordinate quality assurance for textiles, clothing and footwear products and services.
  • LMTGN5003B: Work with international textiles, clothing and footwear supply chains.
  • LMTFD2005B: Identify design process for fashion designs.
  • LMTFD4001B: Apply design studio process.
  • LMTFD4006B: Interact and network with fashion industry participants.
  • LMTFD4012B: Develop product specifications for fashion design.
  • LMTFD4002B: Apply principles of colour theory to fashion design development.
  • LMTFD4003B: Assist in preparation of preliminary design concepts.
  • LMTFD4005B: Communicate and sell design concepts.
  • LMTFD401OB: Create a pattern to meet design specifications applying advanced pattern-making principles.
  • LMTFD4011B: Cut fabrics for prototype designs.
  • LMTFD4014B: Identify influences on contemporary fashion designs and construction techniques.
  • LMTFD4016B: Sew design prototypes.
  • LMTFD4017B: Source materials and resources for the production of fashion design.
  • LMTFD5004B: Develop marketing plans for fashion products.
  • LMTFD5005B: Manipulate fabrics to create new finishes.
  • LMTFD5006B: Evaluate fashion designs against set criteria.
  • LMTFD5007B: Analyse influences on contemporary fashion designs.
  • LMTFD5008B: Conduct fashion design purchasing.
  • LMTFD5009B: Cost design production.
  • LMTFD5010B: Develop and present design concepts within specific guidelines.
  • LMTFD5011B: Produce fashion illustrations.
  • LMTFD5017B: Apply design studio processes to meet the client brief.

    The Australian qualification includes a reference to:
  • LMTFD5001B: Design bras and swimwear.
  • LMTFD5002B: Develop and test patterns for bras and swimwear.

    The South African qualification does not prescribe the above specificities as the company where the learner will achieve the work experience component determine the specificities of the product.

    This qualification compares favourably with the above qualifications in terms of content, complexity, and duration. 

    Horizontal Articulation:
    This qualification articulates horizontally with the following qualifications:
  • Higher Certificate in Clothing Management, NQF Level 5.
  • National Certificate: N4 Clothing Production, NQF Level 5.

    Vertical Articulation:
    This qualification articulates vertically with the following qualifications:
  • National Diploma: Clothing Production: Pattern and Garment Construction, NQF Level 6.
  • National N Diploma: Clothing Production. NQF Level 6. 



    Qualifying for the External Integrated Summative Assessment.

    To qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules using statements of results and work experience records.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the Accreditation of Providers:
  • Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.
  • The curriculum title and code is: Apparel Pattern Maker and Grader: 683202-003-00-00.

    Encompassed Trades:
  • The qualification is not a trade qualification.

    Assessment Quality Partner (AQP):
  • Fibre, Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education Training Authority (FP&M SETA).

    Part Qualifications Registered As Part Qualifications:
  • 683202-003-00-01, Occupational Certificate: Pattern Making Assistant, Level 4.
  • 683202-003-00-02, Occupational Certificate: Garment Pattern Development Assistant, Level 5.
  • 683202-003-00-03, Occupational Certificate: Apparel Pattern Designer Assistant, Level 5.
  • 683202-003-00-04, Occupational Certificate: Pattern Grader, Level 4. 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.