Blog

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.

Continue reading "Personal project: The Dot Top" »

1 comment / Design, Personal, Sewing / Email to a friend / Trackback

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.

Continue reading "2 Facts about Trends and Lazy Copycat Designers" »

9 comments / Design / Email to a friend / Trackback

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.

Continue reading "7 tips to better photos for fittings" »

9 comments / Designers must know, Fit and Sizing / Email to a friend / Trackback

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.

Continue reading "Why you shouldn’t hire a tailor to make your first designs" »

9 comments / Patterns / Email to a friend / Trackback

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.

Continue reading "What is cuttable width?" »

7 comments / Designers must know, Production / Email to a friend / Trackback

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.

Continue reading "Meet up at TexProcess" »

2 comments / News and Events, Trade Shows / Email to a friend / Trackback

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?

Continue reading "Top 10 technical fabric innovations" »

20 comments / Textiles and Inputs / Email to a friend / Trackback

Meet up at TexProcess 2014

By Kathleen Fasanella on Mar 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm

texprocess2014As we do every two years, visitors and members of the Fashion-Incubator forum are meeting at the TexProcess trade show in Atlanta GA, USA. The trade show takes place at the Georgia World Congress Center, and features the latest and greatest machines, tools and technologies in the apparel industry. It will be held May 13-15, 2014. Previously, the show was free but the brochure says it costs $25 with advance registration and $50 at the door. No matter, it is a small price to pay and well worth the cost of admittance.

If you are interested in meeting with others from Fashion-Incubator who will be attending the show, fill out this form to be notified of activities and plans. If you’re a forum member, you can also post to the forum thread for this event. The latter could be helpful if you want to share a hotel room or arrange transportation.

Continue reading "Meet up at TexProcess 2014" »

3 comments / News and Events, Trade Shows / Email to a friend / Trackback

Bewildered by sewing factory services?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Mar 11, 2014 at 4:01 pm

In Bewildered by pattern services?, I explained how the industry has traditionally used pattern services, and how technology and trends have created sourcing difficulties for new entrants today. Much of the same applies to sewing contract services too and I’ll explain that now.  As an aside: a re-read of this topic before publishing dictates you must understand what “manufacturer” means or none of this is going to make sense. For the record, the party (usually you, AKA the DE or designer entrepreneur) who is responsible for creation of the product, is the manufacturer. Manufacturer and contractor are not interchangeable terms anymore than cyst and tumor are mix and match (more). Moving on…

In the olden days, most manufacturers did all of their own sewing under their own roofs. We did have sewing contractors too but their role was nothing like what it is today. The function of a sewing contractor was to handle the overflow from established manufacturers during peak times of production. Using contractors was the only way that manufacturers could avoid hiring people for the busy season, only to lay them off once production leveled off.

During the post war boom of 1950’s, land values increased and since cutting takes up so much square footage (100 foot long tables were and are, not unheard of), cutting services were the first spin off. This was most common in New York City; manufacturers there, moved cutting operations into New Jersey. Later on, these facilities became stand alone operations that did cutting for a variety of producers. The fabric was sent to NJ and then the cut pieces were trucked back to the city for sewing.

Continue reading "Bewildered by sewing factory services?" »

22 comments / Designers must know, Production / Email to a friend / Trackback

Bewildered by pattern services?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Feb 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm

confused_fi_jpgAre you bewildered by pattern services? Have you been frustrated and wondered:

  • Why can you only find pattern makers who make patterns or grade patterns, but not both?
  • Why won’t my pattern maker make markers?
  • Why won’t pattern makers illustrate my designs?
  • Why won’t pattern makers write sewing instructions?
  • Why won’t pattern makers make samples?
  • Why don’t pattern makers just know how my patterns should be graded?
  • Why can’t pattern makers tell me where to buy fabric?
  • Why wouldn’t a pattern maker have pattern making software?

You’re suffering and it’s not your imagination; the market for pattern services is [seemingly] schizophrenic. Understanding why can reduce your frustration and enable you to ask better questions to find the best provider for your needs. But first, a short history lesson which explains the legacy of what ails us -which is the only clue to a cure.

Continue reading "Bewildered by pattern services?" »

24 comments / Designers must know, Patterns / Email to a friend / Trackback

Archives

Categories

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing

Often described as the garment industry “blue book”, the most highly rated book in the business is guaranteed to get you off to a solid start or your money back. Many service providers require you read this before they’ll work with you. Learn more »

Subscription Options

RSS Feed Google Reader My Yahoo My MSN Technorati

Subscribe by email: