Most requested tutorials: pick 5

With all the tutorial suggestions you left back in February, you scared me so badly that it took me several months to recover. Yeah. Seriously, the pile was so big and so deep and so tall that I didn’t know where to dive in. And then a bunch of other stuff happened that I couldn’t tell anybody about since I hadn’t dealt with the first mess. I’ll get there.

Moving on, below is an edited list of the requested tutorial topics. You can each pick 5. Speaking of, some topics I’ve already done so those are hyperlinks. If you don’t think the topic has been covered to your satisfaction, go ahead and include it in your wish list. If there is an asterisk by it, I’m not likely to cover it because I think there is sufficient existing information out there -even if means buying a book or something. My focus has always been to explain what isn’t available elsewhere or what hasn't been explained as well as I think it could or should have been done. I'm thinking that I may also post a list of the topics I like along with some possible discussion of why I won't cover some of them.


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10th Anniversary! 10 tutorials in celebration

F-I_10th_anniversary_badgeFaithful readers, Fashion-Incubator is 10 years old -practically of doddering age in internet years.

In celebration, I'm proposing that visitors submit suggestions for 10 topics -to include tutorials obviously, that's in the headline- I'll pick the best ones and get it done. There may even be prizes involved for the best questions. Judging will be completely subjective and without criteria. Amaze me!

Forgive my brevity; I've been distraught looking for a missing cat all day. Scooter is the cat (a kitler) that my sister left me when she died last October so guilt was also involved- and Scooter was found only a short time ago (ensconced in the stereo cabinet for a solid 24 hours -she didn't make a peep the whole time- cats can be such brats) and so, being much relieved, I can resume normal life. In the meantime, I await your suggestions and wishes.

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Miracle or Myth? MTM (Made to Measure)

Many entrepreneurs are excited about a new-ish technology called MTM (Made to Measure) that they think will revolutionize retail. The premise is this: A customer is scanned, their measurements uploaded into an MTM CAD program that will spit out a pattern that fits the customer and his or her style preferences. The customer selects the fabric and features they like and after payment, can expect their order to be delivered within a matter of days. To be sure, the MTM system is costly (software + body scanner+ retail space+people to cut and sew onesies and twosies) but the thinking is that customization will be the demand driver, there will be less dead stock and of course, no pattern maker is needed. Sounds awesome, huh? Unfortunately, MTM software isn't what most people think it is. If it were, me and most of the pattern makers I know would have bought it before now.

The MTM software is better described as a database, not a drafting to measure or pattern making program. In fact, implementing MTM requires a lot of patternmaking in advance. The MTM [database] will definitely spit out pattern pieces specific to given measurements provided those pieces -an enormous data set to include every conceivable size, to be loaded into the system.

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Which is better, block or piece fusing?

fusing_blockVesta writes:

Now that I’m making markers for folks, I am cogitating deeply about block fusing. You said:
“Making a separate marker for block fusing and then to have to spread it as a separate operation seems more costly to me.”

But the alternative is to lay and cut a fusible marker, and that seems to balance out the separate lay and cut of a block fused marker. But then if you add in the extra work of matching and fusing each pattern piece, it seems like block fusing wins. Am I missing something?

I’m searching the blog for a whole post devoted to fusing. Not finding it. I’m shocked, Kathleen. Or I’m inept. One or the other. :-)

I've published many posts related to fusing -that link doesn't include the fusing map entries. But more to your point, I started a series on continuous fusing machines nearly 8 years ago but dropped the project as it didn't seem that anyone was interested. Not ready to give up so quickly, I wrote another post reviewing the equipment we saw at the SPESA show in 2007. Three years later, I wrote How to apply interfacing (in a commercial environment) which provided still more detail. But anyway, I'm glad to know there is more interest at this late date.

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What do samples cost?

sewing_moneyKeeping in mind that there are many types of samples -at least 13- today we'll revisit the cost of samples you contract to have made that represent your vision. Speaking of, there are at least 3 good reasons why you should pay for samples (a good post judging from how many times it's been plagiarized) instead of getting them "free" -because they really aren't. And sure, it's an expense but it would be disastrous to contract for sewing without the contractor making a sample first. Heck, ideally you'd arrange to have samples made by two or more contractors since that is the only way you can compare quality and pricing. The only exception I can think of is private label and then we wouldn't be having this conversation since private labelers will often send free samples because they're not executing your unique designs anyway.

Culling from the 13 kinds of samples post, you could expect to pay for all the sample types if working domestically, except for maybe the muslin. The latter depends. This means that you'll pay for protos, pre-pros and production samples. You shouldn't feel that you're being targeted because you're new or not a famous name because pretty much everybody pays -at least domestically. Besides, garmentos who've been around, know that many celeb types don't pay their bills- which is a good reason to not waste your time trying to impress people because you may be convincing -to your detriment.

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Old school patternmakers: Should you get a CAD system? Or update the one you have?

old_school_toolsA conversation with another old school pattern maker brings this topic to the forefront -if you're a highly skilled pattern maker accustomed to manual work, is it worth getting a CAD system for pattern making? For that matter, if you already have a CAD system but it is aging, should you upgrade to a newer version or get another software program altogether? The latter has been a real sore spot lately so I'll try to tease these two out. This is a real crisis and I hope this gets through.

First, keep in mind that I'm old school too and I haven't been using CAD very long myself. I know all of the reasons against it so let's deal with that first. Oh wait, should I start with why you seriously need to consider it? Gosh, it'll be hard to read but this is my personal opinion -not saying I'm right, it's what I believe to be true.

Let's be honest -how old are you? When do you plan to retire? If you plan to work another 10 to 15 years, the time to seriously consider it is past; it's time to set a deadline for a decision

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Responses to an Informational Interview

damaged-office-chair_GJQ1FcSOAn informational interview consists of a list of questions that are posed to a presumed authority, by a student, regarding the status of one's industry and future employment or business prospects. To save myself some effort since I get requests for these, I thought I'd post the answers to the questions with the idea it might be helpful to others. This could be useful to students but also entrepreneurs considering market entry.

The context of this interview is getting into this business as a business owner of a manufacturing company (DE, designer entrepreneur). The questions fall in these subject areas: Marketplace, Entry into Position and Job Specifics. As I'm not a DE myself, my reporting is likely skewed but I'll do the best I can. You're encouraged to contribute your thoughts and amend anything requiring such. Without further ado:

Marketplace [Questions]
What are your projections for this type of work or industry? Is it stable, growing, declining?
What are the key trends or issues? New developments? Key challenges?
What and where are the opportunities?
What are typical salaries in this type of job, entry-level to experienced? What are the opportunities for career growth?

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Winner: Fabric for Fashion, The Swatch Book

seamstress_erin_winnerCourtesy of Random.org, the winner selected from the 17 qualifying entries was number 11. Congratulations to Erin, winner of this latest giveaway from the review of Fabric for Fashion, The Swatch Book. That said, everyone wins -Laurence King is offering a 35% discount for this title through Jan 5, 2015. Use fashionincubator35 for the discount.

An aside due to the high number of unqualified entries; I'm thinking people don't know what a haiku is anymore. Hmm. Also, carrying one word over to a second line to match the required number of syllables for the stanza is a grey area that I allowed but won't next time. Also, many entries had no weaving words per se. Some fabrics are known by their weave (satin -which I suspect was often a lucky choice) but others are not (denim).

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Review & Giveaway: Fabric for Fashion, The Swatch Book

fabric_for_fashion_coverMay as well dispense with formality and open with my conclusion, I'm designating Fabric for Fashion: The Swatch Book as a must buy for fashion oriented entrepreneurs who aren't textile experts (most of them).

Maybe I should start by explaining what this book isn't. It isn't a comprehensive A to Z recitation of dry textile science, stuff we had to learn in school. I think that is the biggest problem for entrepreneurs; they want to know more but most books fall in one of two camps: enthusiast and engineering. Enthusiast books are typically well researched but there's a gap between intended application and the jargon typically used in the trade. Textile textbooks on the other hand, are written by probable near geniuses who assume readers will pore over every word, memorize it and amuse genteel companions at cocktail parties with witty quotations from it. Okay, maybe not but you know what I mean. Point is, most entrepreneurs are too busy to read enough of a textile textbook to get much (if anything) out of it. Most pages seem to consist of a dense wall of text with black and white grainy photos taken in the 1970's. Business owners want a cheat sheet -the closest thing to a bullet point list they can get. If that describes you, you're going to love this one.

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