How to cut paper pattern
and why relying on a
flatbed cutting machine

The paper pattern is a fascinating and evolving field. In this article we will explain how to make paper patterns correctly,
why digitize processes
and which solutions to choose among those available on the market.

Below you will find many useful tips.

Enjoy the reading!

Paper Pattern: what it is and what it is used for

At the very core of clothing there is always a pattern: whether it is a dress, a sleeve or a shoe, this support is necessary to have the right size and shape of the object, since the pattern faithfully reflects the physical measurements of a garment.

The pattern is the representation on paper of the various parts that make up a model to be cut and then sewn and tailored to a garment.

The paper pattern is therefore a fundamental component for a good result of the garment and, therefore, it must be carefully cut.

If, for example, the insole constitutes the support base of the foot, the pattern will replicate the measurements of the foot and shoe, it will have to seek the satisfaction of the consumer who will always expect comfort, ease of walking and safety. of use.

The materials used to make the paper patterns

The most commonly used materials in the market are fiberboard and rigid cardboard.

These cellulose-made high-density materials are very resistant, with variable thickness between 0.7 and 2.5 mm and available in various shades and colors.

How to create paper patterns

Manual processes

Until now, the use of manual processes for the creation of paper patterns has always prevailed. It is a precise geometric design whose appearance is linked to specific calculations and proportions to be respected such as width and length; it can be made using a customer’s physical measurements, such as when having a tailored suit by a dressmaker, or using standard size measurements.

Cutting machines and digitalization of paper patterns

The pattern must faithfully reproduce the dimensions and sizes of a garment and the same must be used many times; hence the need to digitize paper patterns and above all to be able to cut them into durable materials such as cardboard or pressed cardboard.

This leads to an increasing demand for plotters and cutting machines capable of processing materials of different thicknesses and consistencies, which allow to cut paper and cardboard of different weights and thicknesses with the blade.

The digitalization of paper patterns through CAD software in the textile sector, both at an industrial and artisan level, considerably speeds up and optimizes the design of clothing.

It is therefore more advantageous to combine the traditional art of the paper pattern maker with the tools of the most modern technology, without affecting the quality and craftsmanship of the finished garment.

Making of paper patterns by resorting to
digital cutting machines

Functionalities and advantages

Nowadays, the use of digital cutting in the paper pattern field is growing more and more.

Many model makers have chosen CAD design software with different levels of functionality for the definition of the lines that make up the vector file, the virtual prototyping of the model, series development, production management.

CAD systems make designing operation ever faster, as well as in the realization of multiple jobs all at once.

Saving time is another factor to consider when switching from manual to digital cutting


Valiani cutting machines can provide two distinct devices for cutting needs. 

tangential head, ideal for cardboard and fibreboard, and an oscillating head for cutting complex shapes on fibreboard and more. 

The same head, thanks to the high oscillation frequency, is also a perfect tool for working materials such as leather and fabrics, if you also want to create a kind of prototyping of the product. 

When it comes to writing devices, Valiani can offer a pen plotting tool, on which simple ballpoint refills can be mounted, with which to insert text, signs and numbers directly on the material in the phase prior to cutting.


oscillating HEAD
pen plotting tool

Cutting plotter or laser?
Which one to choose

It happens that many companies are faced with the choice of deciding for a cutting plotter or a laser for this kind of processing.

The truth is that the cutting plotter brings with it a cleaner finish, evidenced by the fact that the laser can cause the cardboard to burn, stain and sometimes cause smoke.

That’s why rigid materials such as fiber require a blade rather than a laser.

Software that simplifies your work

In the market you can find many CAD solutions, where the term CAD identifies a program for the design and on-screen design of (in this specific case) digital paper patterns.

These applications allow you to view the final result of the design (render) before creating the model. The basic units are the individual pieces of the model.

Once drawn, these pieces are imported into the software. The great advantage of creating a model in a digital environment is the speeding up of all those operations that would take a lot of time done manually: such as the exact duplication of the pieces, the modification of the shapes, the insertion of seams, steps, notches respecting the relations and proportions between the various parts, the calculation of sizes, sending the model to the cutting room.

How do I choose the right plotter?


The role of the paper pattern maker is to give shape to his idea and make his draft a ready and proportionate garment, which will act as a prototype for the entire production line of the model, once approved.
The creative process and the professionalism of the paper pattern maker are a fundamental link in this chain that connects the designer’s creative idea to the cutting room.

The CAD must be clearly completed by a cutting plotter.
But which are the key aspects to look for in such machinery?

Valiani reflects many of the requirements that should characterize a plotter for cutting the paper patterns.


Thanks to a sectorized suction system it is possible to optimize the sealing of the materials according to their size and to obtain extremely clean and precise cuts.

Market knowledge

The experience of an internationally recognized brand in the production of cutting machines for decades certainly guarantees unparalleled cutting precision.


Writing tool

A pen plotting tool allows you to report texts, numbers and drawings on any support on paper and cardboard.


Through software dedicated to the clothing industry, Valiani machines interface with most of the CAD applications in the sector, using the formats .HPGL, .HPGL II, .DXF, .ISO, .PLT or .SVG, which can they can all be easily imported into the V-Studio software.

Ergonomic design

Thanks to their compactness and small size, Valiani machines can be easily installed even in small and limited spaces.

Valiani cutting machines for cutting paper patterns


Valiani has always been ready to take on cutting challenges when they arise, and that is why it has decided to propose a cutting machine at a very accessible cost, thus giving rise to an extremely demanded product.

Invicta AP is Valiani’s entry-level product but despite the word « entry-level » some limitations seem to show through, the machine is able to perform the most complex processes on the most diverse types of cardboard, cardboard, natural leather, synthetic leather and fabrics .

Alternatively, Valiani offers its Optima AP model, which in addition to maintaining the characteristics of the previous model can be chosen in larger table sizes and the possibility of mounting up to a maximum of three tools at a time. .

Taking up the aforementioned characteristics, Invicta AP and Optima AP are both characterized by a sectorized suction, by a tool for cutting and one for writing, by a software that interfaces with the most common CAD on the market, and last but not least, have a certain compactness and ergonomics often appreciated by model makers.

The machine is equipped as standard with a suction pump; however, with a small economic surplus it is possible to integrate it with a sound-absorbing shell to further reduce noise.

invicta ap
optima ap

10 Reasons to Convert Your Cutting Room to Digital Cutting

1 Speed up the definition of the sample garment and the development of sizes while maintaining high precision;
2 Being able to quickly make
changes to the pattern;
3 Facilitate the storage and archiving of patterns already made;
4 Allowing the simulation of your work, having an idea a priori of how the outcome will be like;
5Eliminate the printing of rejected prototypes because they can be directly evaluated on the screen;
6 Ensure optimization of the use of the material during placement to avoid waste of material;
7 Allowing to verify the feasibility of the model also from an economic point of view, making a cost projection;
8 Apply a reduction of the excess points in the vector file to make very precise curves;
9Automatically manage the order of execution of the cutting of the pieces, so as to optimize the cutting path;
10Increase the range of workable materials in addition to cardboards, cutting from natural to synthetic leather, from leather to fur, up to fabric.

The key to being competitive

In light of all this reasoning, even small companies can aim to improve their production efficiency, with the support of digitized solutions that simplify and streamline information and procedures.

This clearly constitutes a significant competitive advantage in the context of a more dynamic and changing market than in the past, increasingly oriented towards immediacy and personalization.

Another advantage is to reduce – and even a lotyour time-to-market, that is the time lag between the design of the new product and its actual marketing.

Ultimately, combining the tradition of Made in Italy with digital innovation is the main key to staying truly competitive.

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