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Pop Quiz: Ordering sizes for production pt.2 (Surrender)

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I avoided the follow up to this and this long enough and will have to call for a surrender -mine, need be- the first answer we got was good enough.

That’s what this is all about my friends, good enough -hold that thought. Truly though, I was bogged down in notation and word problems, backtracking to determine the respondent’s intent. For example, writing 3XS and 3XXL but also including 3 plies of black and white, in my (our) book, makes for a total piece count of 9 of each size and in each colorway -in other words, 36 pieces when we needed a maximum of 12. I guess this is where meta cognition comes in. When creating a cut order for production, you need to be sure you’re sending the right message.

COP_XS-XXL

Cut_order_planning_XS-XXL

But back to good enough -Several people suggested using one ply of black, one ply white, and drawing in the XS and the XXL 3 times. Doing something like this would make my contractors very unhappy and ultimately, the customer. People aren’t stupid to suggest this because they are (wisely) concerned about wasting fabric on ply lay ends, so let’s talk about costs.

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Pop Quiz: Ordering sizes for production pt.1

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

If you’re just now joining us and need the back story, see the first post for a description of the problem. That entry lists the quantities the customer ordered and what not.

To illustrate the solutions proposed by those commenting, I’ve made markers. Each marker shows crude representations of the patterns using rectangles. Each size is represented by a differently sized rectangle and is color coded. If there are duplicates of a size -say, 2 mediums- they are both green but different hues. Or is it tints? Keep in mind that while a solution may be incorrect, there are worthwhile lessons to be learned from them. A given solution may not fit the problem I posed but it may resolve a problem for you. Without further ado, here’s Marguerite’s marker followed by her comment.

1_PQ_COP_Marg_sm

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Pop Quiz! How to order correct quantities of sizes for production

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

By way of introducing a new head-hurting series (sorry), let’s start with a quiz. If you want to cheat or optimize your chances at acing the quiz, sneak a peek at Size is nothing but a number. You can also review pages 114-120 in The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing.  Here’s the scenario:

You want to place an order for style 1001. Style 1001 comes in 2 colorways, white and black. I’m going to give you the order quantities per size -an example that a customer sent me in real life- and you’re going to tell me how to make the marker.

Your crash course in marker making: Ideally, a marker is designed so that all garments can be cut at one time. If that is not possible (this example is not), you plan as few cutting jobs for the customer’s order as is possible because each additional cut is expensive (double, triple, depending on the number of cuts planned). If there is more than one colorway, you can cut them both together provided the cuttable width is the same for each color. In this example, black and white can be cut together. Lastly, you want the longest possible marker because each fabric layer or ply must have a 2″ buffer on each end, so longer lays are less wasteful than shorter ones. Without further ado, here is the order that the customer sent me to make the markers:.

quiz_cut_order_planning

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Personal project: The Dot Top

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm

flutter_top_anthropologie_smI don’t often have the opportunity to show you works in progress since 95% of what I do, is for other people. Today’s post is a departure; a top I made for my sister, Dorothy.

Dot has sizing issues; she’s 5’10” and weighs about 110lbs, maybe less. In addition to her slender figure and height, she has an extended belly. Accordingly, I thought the top I used as inspiration would be ideal for her. Speaking of, I found the photo here; she got it from Anthropologie but it seems that the design’s provenance is murky. Who knows from whence this came? The Vogue home sewing pattern is out of print. But I digress, as usual. Oh, this link takes you to a larger photo.

The one I made is different of course; it has long sleeves, less cowling and a higher neckline. I’m still not certain about the neck… I’ve got a bit of elastic in there, raising the neckline for warmth. I also stuck a collar of sorts on it just to make it different. I’ll have to work on that. But now for pictures -which are lousy. I haven’t been able to use my real camera because I can’t find the cord. I finally broke down and ordered a new one. I didn’t realize these photos were this bad, should have checked before I mailed the top.

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2 Facts about Trends and Lazy Copycat Designers

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 9, 2014 at 4:19 pm

The latest going around the intertubes are these quotes attributed to Marc Worth, founder of WGSN:

“People complain that everything looks the same today, but is it any wonder? Thousands of companies are signed up to WGSN, looking at the same color forecasts, the same material swatches and the same silhouettes,”

and

“It [WGSN] used to be a real source of inspiration to designers, but now it’s just doing their job for them. You can download CAD drawings of a garment and just tweak it. It has made life too easy for people in the creative space; it has made them lazy.”

If you can make it through the article amid back slapping your other BF designers, you’ll discover that Worth -who sold WGSN for about 230 million USD in 2005- has a new business. Any guesses what that would be? Yep, serving up trends only this time, very exclusively to a tiny portion of the market [100 and by invite only and you won't be one of them. Me neither.] Meaning, the only people who get to be lazy copycats are those who have the money because as you know, rich people only got to be rich by being lazy copycats. Right.

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7 tips to better photos for fittings

By Kathleen Fasanella on Aug 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

1 nice_but_useless_ftting_photoWhen communicating desired fitting or design changes to a pattern maker -or even to use as a record of your progress- it is critical to take useful photographs. Taking the time to take good photographs can reduce your costs and your provider’s frustration. If a fitting problem cannot be analyzed from a photo, it is not likely to be corrected quickly and will end up costing you more money and time. Toward that end, here are guidelines to taking photos for fitting that are sure to please everyone.

Setting up the fitting photo shoot doesn’t require professional photographers and you don’t need an expensive camera -as long as you have a steady hand and a cell phone that takes pictures. You will also need lighting that is bright enough to eliminate shadows. The photos I’m using as examples were taken with an older iPhone and the less than optimal shop lighting here, but even so, these photos are (tragically) 99% better than many of the photos I get from customers. Two other things to keep in mind are your model and to minimize distracting backgrounds. You wouldn’t realize it but I’ve had backgrounds that were so noisy that I couldn’t see clear outlines of the garment.

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Why you shouldn’t hire a tailor to make your first designs

By Kathleen Fasanella on Aug 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm

female_machinist-ovalMany start ups try to get a jump on getting to a finished product by hiring a tailor or “couture” seamstress to make their first prototypes. While this can be a great solution for a designer who cannot visualize the finished product without a physical sample of their idea, it’s a problem because neither the pattern or sample can be used in manufacturing. Just so we’re clear about this, the reasons you can’t use these samples and patterns is not because the tailor or “couture” seamstress are incompetent (often quite the opposite) nor that a patternmaker or grader is penalizing you for not having come to them first. The problem is not the tailor, seamstress, patternmaker or grader; it is a conflict between how each party arrives at a finalized prototype and how this process dovetails (or fails to dovetail) with manufacturing.

Yes, tailors and patternmakers render samples and patterns using an iterative process -but how they get there and how it impacts manufacturing, is another story.

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What is cuttable width?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Jun 12, 2014 at 5:24 pm

What is cuttable width and why does it matter?

1. Cuttable width is the measurement of fabric from side to side, less the selvedge. Usually.

2. It matters because the marker must be made to use only the inside area of the fabric.

cuttable_width_sample2

An example is the brocade above. It has a clearly defined woven edge. The cuttable width is the width of the fabric, less the woven edge.

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Meet up at TexProcess

By Kathleen Fasanella on May 13, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Howdy all. Just a quick message to remind those attending the show here in Atlanta, to meet up with us. If you’re interested of course.

Midday meeting tomorrow (Wednesday) to eat lunch is at noon, meet at the food kiosks at the back of the exhibition hall. We are the friendly folks with little stars on our badges.

End of day, we’re meeting at the top of the escalators at 5:00 PM and will go someplace for dinner, TBA. Tonight we went to Truva, there were 20+ of us there. Join us tomorrow, we’ll be delighted to meet you, no need to be shy.

Worst case, call my cell, 575-635-8131.

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Top 10 technical fabric innovations

By Kathleen Fasanella on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

mushroom_materialsCourtesy of FabricLink comes word of their annual pick of top textile innovations for 2013-2014. Sure, we’ve all heard of textile prototypes in a lab but all too frequently, the fabrics never get out of beta. All of these have and are ready for sale. Here are the ones that I’ve been keeping an eye on:

From dirt to shirt, CRAiLAR® is a linen fabric that requires less water and chemicals in at least two ways. First it uses less pesticides and fertilizers in growing, and second, the fibers are processed into thread with a proprietary enzymatic process. Moreover, it is virtually indistinguishable from cotton (yay, less ironing!). “The fiber is strong, dries quickly, wicks moisture and is shrink resistant.”

The EQ-Top Seismic Wallpaper caught my eye because I wondered, idly, if it could be used to make corsets. That’s me, always wanting to repurpose materials however possible. Seriously, it’s a fiber product designed to stabilize walls during earthquakes -see what I mean about industrial grade shapewear? Okay, I don’t expect this material will have much appeal for this crowd but isn’t it cool?

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