The art of pattern-cutting requires much skill, sound judgment, anticipating thought, a knowledge of the rules and principles of shoemaking, and, above all, a cultivated style and natural taste. The science, consisting of rules, measurements, proportions, methods, etc., is of little practical value without artistic abilities to execute the work. The various ways of producing patterns are so different, and the productions so unlike each other, that many must perforce be incorrect. Pattern-making is a branch of the industry that repays, more than any other, a careful theoretical study. A certainty of fit should be the ambition of every cutter, and not a reliance upon comparisons with other patterns.

The aim of a pattern-cutter should be to produce a boot which, when removed from the last, looks as though the last was still there, and it should conform to the last in little details - the lighter the material of the boot the more snugly it should fit. This is not so easy as it would at first sight appear. The various curves in a last in different directions, that have to be fitted with a flat material possessing "stretch," requires not a little care and thought. The pattern is flat, while the leg and foot are rounded, so that when the curves on the flat pattern are in position, bent to the leg and foot, they are altered in appearance.

Pattern-Making may be divided into sections, for convenience of description. The production of the portion to fit the last may be termed forme cutting; adding to the forme the remaining parts to complete the pattern that may be used to obtain the parts from which to cut the leather may for distinction be termed standard construction ; and scaling the other patterns from the standard to complete a "set" classed as grading. The production of a new shape, or the modifying of an old style, may be termed designing. Long work, or cutting patterns for Wellingtons, jockeys, etc., is another division.