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.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Feb 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm
Are 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.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Feb 1, 2014 at 7:12 pm
Please note that this applies to fabric for production. I realize that not everyone has the option to buy full bolts wholesale when they’re first starting out or even know how to buy wholesale fabric . This post is intended to help you understand that the fabric store is not a long term strategy. For many, it’s not even a short term option. Read on to see where you fit in.
You have no guarantee that fabric you buy at the store (or from a jobber) will be available if you need to reorder. If you want to guarantee supply, you’ll be forced to tie up money to buy fabric for a product that may not sell through. Experienced practitioners design based on sample fabrics and then order for production if sales interest is sufficient (the process is explained in my book). It’s hard enough to make a go of this without tying up your capital in aging fabric inventory. Seen eBay lately? That’s where everyone who went broke are offloading their inventory.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Jan 24, 2014 at 6:13 pm
A frequently heard lament is the dearth of pattern making books specific to the male form. Toward addressing the oversight comes a recently released title called Patternmaking for Menswear by Gareth Kershaw, from Laurence Publishing.
Before I start though, I confess a bit of wariness. Whenever I review a book, the most frequent response is whether the book will resolve whatever ill one has or whether it is the Holy Grail/Rosetta Stone of drafting texts. Few books are that. Drafting books are no different than cook books and although few of us are professional cooks, most of us have a variety of cookbooks. As such, if this is your profession or your professional interest, you’re well served to have a variety of texts that speak to your interests. If your budget requires closer scrutiny to acquire books, consider the library as an option. Keep in mind that I don’t review books that I feel are without merit. This one is relatively inexpensive ($40 list) and represents good value. Oh, before I forget, how I review patternmaking books may be helpful too.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Jan 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm
Today we have a guest entry written by textile artist Kelly Cobb, who is an assistant professor in the fashion department at the University of Delaware. Written to include the sometimes competing priorities of various readers, Kelly includes a resource list at close to further your exploration. My sincerest thanks to Kelly for this thoughtful review.
Digital Textile Design
Second Edition, $40. 192 pp
by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Issac
The universe of textile design is becoming more and more inclusive with the onset of technological innovations that allow anyone interested access to high-end printing capabilities. The potential to create custom prints is appealing and very accessible with operations like Spoonflower or Fabric on Demand. Digital Textile Design focuses on the evolving world of digital print technologies, offering tutorials and case studies geared towards “practitioners” of textile design. There are many facets of practitioner! Below, I review Digital Textile Design from three perspectives.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Jan 4, 2014 at 3:32 pm
This is one of those things that I think everybody knows already so why do a tutorial on it, but I’ve needed to show it to 2 people in the last month. I would consider these people to be experienced, so I’m thinking it should be better known. This tutorial will show you how to insert elastic into a casing without resorting to using a safety pin or bodkin. It won’t help for elastic that is stitched down so all I can say is use what you can and leave the rest.
The first step is to sew the elastic into a loop (without twists obviously). This is pictured at right.
Second step (below), have the garment or product ready for the casing. Meaning, finish off the side seams and what have you. For my sample, I’ve sewn one seam into a rectangle of muslin. As per my usual, I’m using a contrasting color thread so you can see the stitching.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Dec 31, 2013 at 6:28 pm
Yay! After saying for ages that I’d start a retail pattern line, I finally have. It’s called Savant Patterns. This is the logo that Jasonda did for me. I still owe her money for it now that I think about it. She didn’t bill me because she was late but still, decorum dictates. She has done several jobs for me, I just can’t say enough about her work.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Dec 31, 2013 at 5:40 pm
Or maybe you’re one of those people who resolve to do the terrifying as a matter of course. If so, we hate you. Nothing personal.
Seriously -when’s the last time you stretched? Comfy in your complacency? Yeah, me too. Comes with age? Gosh I hope not. What is different about the close of this year? For whatever reason, I’ve done (or begun) a few things that terrify me in the last two days, and since it seems to be a theme, I’ll appear holier than thou by saying it was planned and I came through. Ha ha. So fake.
I finally opened a 401K for my business; I feel like a grown up. And sure, you could say I should have done it years ago (anticipated or perceived criticism being one reason we avoid doing what we should) and truth be told, all I did was sign the papers. Mr. Fashion-Incubator (who is off work for 2 weeks) did all of the work. That’s a lesson too—get help with your terrifyingness.
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Dec 17, 2013 at 5:05 pm
Those who know me well, know that there are two subjects I refuse to discuss. And that would be needles and thread. Reason being, I’ve been stuck in too many social situations with needles and thread being the topic du jour. Want to know what a bunch of garmentos talk about when you get them into a room with whiskey and cigars? Needles and thread. Golf course? Needles and thread. Barbeque? Needles and thread. I’ve yet to meet anybody who has been in this business for 30 years or more, whose eyes didn’t light up like a 5 year old’s on Christmas morning at the prospect of a needle and thread coffee klatch. It could be said that I occasionally exaggerate or am given to hyperbole but I haven’t in this case.
Thoroughly overdosed, a condition of sale for any machine I buy is that it must come with needles so I know what kind to buy for it. I’m fanatical about making sure needles Stay In Their Drawer. Comes such a day when that doesn’t work well anymore because I need several types (ball points, diamond points) and of course, other people pull needles from drawer A and callously deposit them in drawer B. It’s not as though the different types are labeled with Hey! I’m a ball point!; it’s always a list of cryptic string of numbers and letters, and every brand (I have 6) does it differently. And then of course, how can you remember what size and type needle is in what machine? Well, I have that all figured out. Maybe my method will work for you too?
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By Kathleen Fasanella on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm
I’ll bet you all thought I’d run away and joined the circus… it’s been crazy busy, same as every December. That reminds me; if you’re looking for services, responses will be slow or maybe even non-existent until the end of January or midway into February. Timing is everything. Be persistent.
Some errors that DEs make are so cute that they make me giggle. Not sending enough thread is one of them. Context is that we’re discussing thread for samples or prototypes, not production (by production, you won’t be making this error). Typically, the designer has taken great pains to put their package together—to include what they would consider “extra” thread—because the designer figures the garment couldn’t possibly use more than the total linear feet of one spool. The number of sewn inches is immaterial which is why I think the thread oversight in sampling is cute.
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