Footwear CAD patternmaker


Footwear CAD patternmakers design, adjust and modify patterns for all kinds of footwear using CAD systems. They check laying variants using nesting modules of the CAD system and material consumption. Once the sample model has been approved for production, these professionals make series of patterns (grading) to produce a range of the same footwear model in different sizes.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to footwear CAD patternmaker:

footwear CAD operator
footwear pattern maker
footwear CAD pattern-maker
CAD pattern-maker
footwear CAD pattern cutter
footwear pattern-maker CAD operator
CAD pattern maker
footwear CAD pattern cutter footwear pattern maker CAD operator

Minimum qualifications

A high school diploma is generally required to work as a footwear CAD patternmaker.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Footwear CAD patternmaker is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Footwear CAD patternmaker career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to footwear CAD patternmaker.

footwear patternmaker
footwear factory warehouse operator
footwear hand sewer
footwear stitching machine operator
leather goods CAD patternmaker

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of footwear CAD patternmaker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of footwear CAD patternmaker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

footwear product developer
footwear quality control laboratory technician
footwear quality technician
footwear assembly supervisor
footwear production technician

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of footwear CAD patternmaker.

  • Pattern grading: Know about cutting patterns accurately and grading the patterns to obtain the size series in case of mass production. Know how to mark notches, holes, seam allowances, and other technical specifications. Make adjustments and obtain the final patterns for cutting in order to compensate any identified problems during sampling.
  • Footwear materials: The characteristics, components, advantages and limitations of a wide range of materials used in footwear production: leather, leather substitutes (synthetics or artificial materials), textile, plastic, rubber etc.
  • Footwear manufacturing technology: Footwear processes technology and machinery involved. The footwear manufacturing starts in the cutting/clicking room , cutting the uppers and bottom components. The upper components are joined together in the closing room by following a precise order of specific operations: skiving, folding, sewing etc. The closed upper, the insole and other bottom components are brought together in the assembling room, where the main operations are lasting and soling. The process ends with finishing operations in the finishing and packing room.
  • Footwear quality: Quality specifications of materials, processes and final products, the most common defects in footwear, quick tests procedures, laboratory tests procedures and standards, adequate equipment for quality checks. Quality assurance of footwear production processes and fundamental concepts on quality including footwear quality framework and standards.
  • Footwear components: Footwear components both for uppers (vamps, quarters, linings, stiffeners, toe puffs etc.) and bottoms (soles, heels, insoles etc.). Ecological concerns and the importance of recycling. Selection of suitable materials and components based on their influence on the footwear style and characteristics, properties and manufacturability. Procedures and methods in chemical and mechanical processing of leather and non-leather materials.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of footwear CAD patternmaker.

  • Create patterns for footwear: Produce the mean form or shell, a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional shape of the last. Create scaled patterns for uppers and bottom components by manual methods from the designs.
  • Operate 2D CAD for footwear pattern engineering: Be able to read and interpret design specification to transfer 3D virtual models, computer made drawings and handmade sketches into the 2D environment of the CAD software. Flatten and work with digitised shells. Use scanners and tablets. Produce, adjust and modify 2D designs of all patterns, including technical specifications, for various footwear construction types with 2D CAD systems. Grade and make the nesting. Produce technical sheets.
  • Make technical drawings of fashion pieces: Make technical drawings of wearing apparel, leather goods and footwear including both technical and engineering drawings. Use them to communicate or to convey design ideas and manufacturing details to pattern makers, technologists, toolmakers, and equipment producers or to other machine operators for sampling and production.
  • Work in textile manufacturing teams: Work harmoniously with colleagues in teams in the textile and clothing manufacturing industries.
  • Use it tools: Application of computers, computer networks and other information technologies and equipment to storing, retrieving, transmitting and manipulating data, in the context of a business or enterprise.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of footwear CAD patternmaker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Manual cutting processes for leather: Cutting rules, variance of the leather properties on its surface and elongation directions of the footwear pieces.
  • CAD for footwear: The architecture and functionality of 2D and 3D computer assisted design software systems for footwear.
  • Footwear creation process: Footwear creation projects starting from inspiration to technical design and manufacturing by following several stages. Latest trends in footwear materials, components, processes, and concepts.
  • Ergonomics in footwear and leather goods design: The principles used in the design of various styles of footwear and leather goods for the correct anatomic and ergonomic proportions and measurements.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of footwear CAD patternmaker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Create solutions to problems: Solve problems which arise in planning, prioritising, organising, directing/facilitating action and evaluating performance. Use systematic processes of collecting, analysing, and synthesising information to evaluate current practice and generate new understandings about practice.
  • Use CAD for soles: Digitise and scan the lasts. Work with files in various CAD systems. Produce 3D models of soles and create 2D computer aided designs. Grade and obtain the size series. Prepare technical specifications for manufacturing. Produce 2D and 3D computer aided engineering designs and technical drawings of moulds for vulcanised and injected soles. Export the files of the virtual models to 3D printers, CAM or CNC systems.
  • Create technical sketches for footwear: Be able to use various sketching and drawing techniques, including artistic representation, by hand or by computer, being aware of proportion and perspective, to sketch and draw footwear, lasts, soles, heels etc., both as 2D flat designs or as 3D volumes. Be able to prepare specification sheets with details of materials, components and manufacturing requirements.
  • Apply development process to footwear design: Understand the needs of the consumer and analyse the fashion trends. Innovate and develop the footwear concepts from an aesthetic, functional and technological point of view by using a wide range of methods and techniques, selecting materials, components and suitable technologies, adapting new concepts to manufacturing requirements and transforming the new ideas into marketable and sustainable products for mass or customised production. Communicate visually the new designs and ideas.
  • Reduce environmental impact of footwear manufacturing: Assess the environmental impact of footwear manufacture and minimise environmental risks. Reduce environmentally harmful work practices in different stages of the footwear manufacturing.
  • Develop footwear collection: Transform footwear design ideas and concepts into prototypes and, finally, a collection. Analyse and check the designs from various angles like functionality, aesthetics, comfort, performance and manufacturability. Manage the development process of all the footwear prototypes in order to meet the customer’s needs and to properly balance quality with production costs.
  • Use CAD for heels: Digitise and scan the lasts. Work with files in various CAD systems. Produce 3D models of heels and create 2D computer aided designs. Grade and obtain the size series. Prepare technical specifications for manufacturing. Produce 2D and 3D computer aided engineering designs and technical drawings of moulds for vulcanised and injected heels. Export the files of the virtual models to 3D printers, CAM or CNC systems.
  • Use communication techniques: Apply techniques of communication which allow interlocutors to better understand each other and communicate accurately in the transmission of messages.
  • Prepare footwear samples: Create, test and verify prototypes or samples of footwear against a predefined set of criteria throughout all stages of the manufacturing process. Revise the initial design concepts and implement technical improvements.
  • Create 3D CAD footwear prototypes: Be able to read and understand visual elements and technical design specifications from hand-made or computer-made sketches, pictures and drawings. Digitise or scan the lasts. Create the design upon the shape of the lasts according to dimensional requirements of the customer. Perform 3D footwear modelling by using various functionalities of the CAD software such as producing, manipulating and testing virtual images for computer aided 3D artistic and technical design of footwear. Produce alternative designs and develop virtual models and collection lines. Make presentation boards and catalogues.
  • Use CAD for lasts: Be able to digitise and scan the lasts. Work with various 2D and 3D CAD systems and use the software to adopt and transform the shape of the lasts according to dimensional requirements of the customer. Making 2D templates for controlling the shape of the new last. Produce technical drawing and prepare technical specification sheets for manufacturing. Grade the last. Export the files of the virtual model to 3D printers, CAM or CNC systems.

ISCO group and title

7536 – Shoemakers and related workers

  1. Footwear CAD patternmaker – ESCO
Last updated on October 21, 2022

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