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What do samples cost?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Nov 26, 2014 at 11:25 am

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?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Nov 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

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

By Kathleen Fasanella on Nov 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

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

By Kathleen Fasanella on Nov 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm

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

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm

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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Dot Top pt.2

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 28, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Last month I posted a personal project I called the “Dot Top” that came out dog-ugly -I thought. I reworked the pattern and made another mock up of it (shown below, larger image):

dot_top2_sm

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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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