How to Design Knitwear | CAD and Pattern Grading [PILOT course]


The final stage of design realisation is pattern grading.  After generating a pattern for one or two sizes, you’ll want to make the dimensions of your design as accessible to knitters as possible.  Grading knitting patterns is more than just producing a range of sizes for knitters to choose from; it’s about honouring body shape, representation, and the styling features of your design.

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If you’re thinking about grading knitting patterns, you’ve come a long way!  The fairy dust of composition and idea generation has settled in the Visual Communication and Design Development modules, and your confidence has grown.  Thanks to your new skills and understanding of Pattern Drafting, you’re creating something even more tangible – something you can knit up and sample.

As your pattern takes shape, you’re beginning to think about the body shapes of the knitters who might want to make it too.  You didn’t go on this journey just to make knitwear for yourself; you want to share it with others and make a positive difference to their lives and wardrobes.  That’s where CAD and pattern grading come in.  This module is all about grading knitting patterns.

Detail of a sizing chart, essential for grading knitting patterns

Course outline

How to Design Knitwear | CAD and Pattern Grading takes a very design- and designer-oriented view of pattern grading, and is twinned with the previous Pattern Drafting module.  It’s all about looking at the design holistically, realising that it needs a grading solution as unique as the design idea itself.  You’ll get a solid introduction to grading terminology, principles and techniques, and begin to see how they relate to the proportions of your design.  Your creative problem solving and decision making skills will definitely be stretched as you learn about grading knitting patterns!

Your applied maths skills and understanding of anatomy form the perfect foundation for pattern grading.  This means that you’re not guessing, nor at the mercy of the software you use to generate the numbers you need.  Because the way your brain works and processes data is unique to you, there’ll be a focus on setting up spreadsheets and workspaces that don’t make you feel lost.  Putting your comprehension front and centre means that you’ll feel more confident about communicating with tech editors, knitters, and other members of your community who’ll have questions about the fit and size range of your patterns.

Completion of the previous Pattern Drafting module or equivalent knowledge is essential.

Screenshot of an Excel spreadsheet, showing part of the process for grading knitting patterns.

Course outcomes

By the end of the course, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand the anatomical relationships that inform grade rules;
  • Analyse and interpret sizing charts;
  • Make meaningful connections between grade rules and styling details of a design;
  • Choose and deploy CAD solutions to realise a graded knitting pattern.

This course is definitely for you if:

  • You want to have creative control over the grading process;
  • You believe that creative power shouldn’t be hampered by technical skill;
  • You’re committed to making your knitting patterns accessible to a range of body shapes and sizes.

Equipment and materials you’ll need are:

  • Easy access to Excel or similar spreadsheet software;
  • Squared paper, 0.5cm or ¼ inch squared and 0.2cm or 1/16 inch squared;
  • Coloured fineliner pens may also be useful.

Hand drawn grading for a knitting pattern

More about the course

This pilot is the fourth module of a comprehensive knitwear design course created by me, Natalie Warner.  I am building the course with a group of knitters so that it includes:

  • live interaction
  • ongoing support
  • two-way feedback
  • an emphasis on community.

This means that you will not always get the smoothness of a specialist platform for online courses.  However, you will get the support of a friendly peer group and an experienced teacher dedicated to her students!  You will also have lifetime access to the final version of the course that you’ve helped to create with me and your fellow designers.

Online knitting classes with Natalie in Stitches - header image of swatches in progress
Learn to knit lace samples, Vogue Knitting Live


  • All classes take place on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • The first class will take place on Monday 19th June.  The final session will be on Thursday 27th July.
  • All classes will be streamed live via Zoom.  Replays will be available as soon as possible after each class.
  • All sessions, whether Monday or Thursday, will take place between 15.00-17.00 UK time. If you’re not in the UK, check your time zone equivalent here.

What’s next?

You will receive a downloadable confirmation letter after booking and payment, which will contain the course outline and the Zoom link for the first class.  I’ll also send a reminder email the Friday before our first meeting together and check that you’re all set to begin.

Any more questions?  Ask away!

If there’s anything else you’d like to know, or if you need a payment plan, please get in touch!  The form below will take you straight to my inbox and I’ll reply to you as soon as I can.

How to Design Knitwear | CAD and Pattern Grading [PILOT course]


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