cutters Before sewing can begin, pattern pieces must be made,
layouts determined, and fabric cut. In less automated companies, cutters
may use electric knives or cutting machines to cut pattern pieces. In more
automated facilities, markers electronically send the layout to a
computer-controlled cutting machine, and textile cutting machine
setters, operators, and tenders monitor the machine's work. Cutters
and trimmers take the patterns and cut out material, paying close attention
to their work because mistakes are costly. Following the outline of the
pattern, they place multiple layers of material on the cutting table and use
an electric knife or other cutting tools to cut out the various pieces of
the garment; delicate materials may be cut by hand. In some companies,
computer-controlled machines do the cutting. Most production workers are
trained on the job. Although a high school diploma is not required, some
employers prefer it. Basic math and computer skills are important for
computer-controlled machine operators. Cutters and pressers are trained on
the job, while patternmakers and markers usually have technical or trade
school training. All of these workers must understand textile
characteristics and have a good sense of three-dimensional space.
Traditional cutters need exceptional hand-eye coordination. Computers are
becoming a standard tool for these occupations because patternmakers and
markers increasingly design pattern pieces and layouts on a computer screen.
New entrants seeking these jobs should learn basic computer skills. Those
running automatic cutting machines could need technical training, which is
available from vocational schools.