Comments on: Why larger sizes cost more or Size is nothing but a number How to start a clothing line or run the one you have, better. Sat, 04 Jul 2015 18:04:23 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kathleen Thu, 09 Oct 2014 23:05:11 +0000 Hi Gwen,

Adding additional sizes is much costlier than consumers imagine. It’s not like making tires, fitting rims to tightly defined parameters. I wish it were that simple. Here is a post I wrote about it, Why existing manufacturers don’t add plus sizes. Please read the comments too.

By: gwen gyldenege Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:54:40 +0000 Oh, and if a larger size costs more and you add more to your line up, then factor that cost across the entire line. Fast & cheap fashion won’t last for long. All consumers are going to need to shift in mindset. Yeah, it costs a lot for good quality clothing, for a reason. Watch. It’s going to go the way of publishing and newspapers. And I’m going to take a gamble and say that people are already buying fewer clothes, looking for pieces to last longer.

By: gwen gyldenege Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:51:34 +0000 I highly encourage all of you to read Geoffrey Moore’s book, “Crossing the Chasm”. Every one of you who is developing clothing is in essence a product manager in some form or fashion. Any product manager worth their weight, knows that a successful product launch and continued sales are based on critical market research.

Some samples of the average consumer may be typically on the L / XL scale. But you might be missing out on an entire market of customers who have money they would gladly spend if they could ever find a garment in their size.

Research your market – you don’t have to pay some high end marketing firm, you can just run a poll on people in a few cities. You could go to a store and ask people to fill out forms, or post a poll on your website, then email all your friends and family and current clients.

If you don’t spend time understanding it up front, you miss out on potential revenue. The plus sized community is hungry for good clothing. It’s either sold out or in dreary victorian mourning colors. I’m sure there are other markets (petite’s, etc.) who would be glad to be served if they were made aware. It might seem very overwhelming, especially in light of manufacturers declining to cut anything beyond what they deem is acceptable, but if we start in the direction of serving our target market, things will begin to change and likely we will make customers for life.

By: Kathleen Fasanella Tue, 25 Jun 2013 00:08:19 +0000 I think that by depicting a marker, it made this too literal as opposed to conceptual. [In my defense, I used a marker since people thought fabric was the only hang up -altho it is a big caveat.] Consider garment complexity; if there are few style lines, just a flat body (consider a tee), there aren’t any smaller pieces you can stick in with the larger sizes if you don’t have the aforementioned 0’s and 2’s to fill in with the size 18’s and 20’s.

But that is a distraction, it is closer to a concept. Once you consider cutting, bundling, handling, thread, pressing, finishing etc, the larger sizes cost more. Sure they use the same tags but they take longer zips and more buttons.

For example, let’s say a medium costs $10.
A small would cost $9, extra small would be $8, a large would be $11 and the xl would be $12.
All of these average out to a cost of $10 -the base size which is what you’re using for costing.

If you were to add a range of still larger sizes but no smaller sizes, the average garment cost wouldn’t be $10, it would be higher. Theoretically, the costs would be an average of $11.
XS-$8, S-$9, M-$10, L-$11, XL-$12, XXL-$13, XXXL-$14
However, the real cost would actually be higher because there wouldn’t be XXS or XXXS to pair with the XXL/XXXL so the larger sizes might actually cost double ($20 ea), raising the average price of the style by 30%.

By: Judy Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:25:18 +0000 Kathleen, I’ve been thinking about this for a bit – can’t you do a ‘mixed’ layout/marker? by that I mean – in your second diagram, with the ‘white space’ – you can put some of the smaller sizes pieces to fit in the area and use the fabric, (or even some patters of the larger sizes that may fit.) I know this gets confusing when you start cutting and you have some small sizes then cut X-L sizes etc, but it does make better use of the fabric. Perhaps what I’m cutting is on the smaller scale so I am able to keep track of the different sizes. It can be hard to plan the layout this way as I don’t have a computer program to do a marker – just cardboard patterns that I shift around to see how it works.

By: Kathleen Fasanella Mon, 24 Jun 2013 21:10:46 +0000 Quin: I’m not sure I understand this:

and then widening the width for larger sizes

Are you saying that you think manufacturers are buying wider goods for the plus size sets? While I can’t say it is false for all manufacturers, I would think it would be false for 95% of them.

I also don’t understand this:

realizing that factories aren’t going to be laying out fabric on the generously wide floor

It is true we don’t lay out on the floor but we do lay out fabric on generously wide tables. Mine are 72″ wide. The most common table width is 60″ to 66″ wide. Mine are too wide, it was a take it or leave it auction deal.

Ever wider goods won’t keep costs down, it will increase them in direct and indirect ways.

Direct cost: The mill arrives at the unit cost of fabric per yard based on width. For example, one can buy a 45″ fabric for $5 p/y but the identical fabric in 60″ widths would be $6.50. Since it is common to already use 55″-60″ goods, wider fabrics would be on the order of 72″ (usually). I personally don’t know someone who can cut fabric that wide. Their tables would have to be 78″ wide to handle 72″ goods (table widths increase in 6″ increments and the table has to be wider than the fabric).

Indirect cost increases related to wider fabric is infrastructure. If everyone had to start using wider fabrics, we’d need wider tables (each 4 ft length is $450), wider spreaders ($500-$500,000) and would require the cutting area (and possibly the plant) to be reorganized. Many shops are so cramped as it is that even if they had the money to buy new tables, spreaders etc, they would have to move into a new facility. Even if they didn’t move, there is significant downtime to reconfigure the plant to adjust to wider fabrics.

Last of all… no one thinks about this (much to my dismay, hence my continual reiteration)… but how are we going to cut these extra wide lays? People’s arms are only so long. If the lays are so wide that it is difficult to move a knife into the lay, it is only logical that style complexity will remain stagnant as cutting difficulty can’t be resolved. And if one were fortunate enough to find people who were 7 feet tall to cut fabric (only they have arms long enough) the tables would be too short for them so they’d have back pain.

And sure, one could say the manufacturer should use automated CAM cutting to eliminate those problems but now the barre is very high -cost wise- with a lot of risk. Considering the risk, the manufacturer is going to stick with best bets of the market (what many might consider pablum) and of course, fabric selection in wider goods is extremely limited.

In sum, I don’t see how a manufacturer can easily and with commensurate risk, resolve the problem of cutting plus size clothing by using wider fabrics. Either way you slice it, with direct or indirect costs, the cost of goods increases.

By: Quincunx Mon, 24 Jun 2013 18:54:42 +0000 It bent my brain to realize that manufacturers’ fabric usage and costs are calculated by the length of fabric (ideally) remaining the same to keep the price the same, and then widening the width for larger sizes. That’s exactly the opposite of the average home sewist’s thinking, as we are buying fabric and laying out on the lengthwise grain and not much caring that we have to spend more per larger size layout. Thinking about it like that, and realizing that factories aren’t going to be laying out fabric on the generously wide floor like those of us at home, was illuminating.

Incidentally, if ever-wider width of goods helps keep the costs down, no wonder some plus size fashions look like they were made out of sheets and home dec fabric. Those kinds already ARE much wider than what we’re used to working with.

By: Penny Thu, 10 Jan 2013 07:23:53 +0000 If fabric came in widths wider than 60″ a lot of the problems would be solved. I can’t tell you how much fabric I could save if I had just 4 more inches of width to work with. Size matters.

By: Judy Gross Sun, 06 Jan 2013 15:16:40 +0000 I just saw this post and find it interesting (as with this entire blog). I will soon be making a unisex hiking kilt. The size range will go from womens xs to mens xl, I don’t have a marker for it yet as the designer is still tweaking the pattern, but it will be interesting to see how it all works out. The womens medium will be a mans small, the mens medium will a womens large etc. I may be able to get a good/ even spread –

By: Poll: What is your base size? Wed, 17 Oct 2012 21:54:55 +0000 […] puzzled and surprised when I mentioned that many designers these days are not using a size 8 or 10 (tsk tsk) as the basis for their pattern and style development. I told her that instead of using the […]