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The designing of a man’s jacket, style #12601

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 30, 2013 at 5:50 pm

sew_mans_jacket_finishedI promise there will be a sewing tutorial of sorts once I finish rambling about design -that is always first- so this will come in two or more parts. Fortunately for you, most of the sewing will be illustrations rather than photos. A jacket like this is too complex to show with photos and the color has to be just right -this one is too dark. Speaking of, the finished product is shown at right on my dress form. I have a man’s form but it is so terrible ill suited to my purposes (a PGM form if you must know) that I can only aspire to sell it to my worst enemy.  It’s a size 42 man’s form if you want it. $200 (neg.) bucks cash and carry. I’ll even buy you lunch! But I digress. A photo of the jacket can also be seen on Mr. Fashion-Incubator but I didn’t want to post it because he is not smiley like usual. He does like it, he picked out the fabrication for this one, just as he did for its predecessor, style #12658.

Onto topics related to design!

First of all, in real life, design is much more than picking out pretty fabric and drawing cute silhouettes on 9 head stick figures. Design means selecting materials that will perform congruent with expected performance as it relates to price points. 

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Pondering topics – pick one pt.2

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Thanks for all of your responses to the poll. I should ask you more often, the results were not as I would have guessed. The way I calculated the results was to assign a 3 to one’s first choice, 2 to one’s second choice and 1 to any subsequent selections. You can do the math if you’re so inclined but here is what I came up with:

  1. 4  -71 votes for The fastest way to pattern and prototype.
  2. 6 -46 votes for Sewing a lined casual men’s jacket.
  3. 1 -34 votes for Knit pattern grading.
  4. 5 -29 votes for Pattern engineering to fabric width constraints.
  5. 3 -28 votes for Another reason small orders are shunted off to the side.
  6. 2 -22 votes for How to order a marker.

If I’d had my way, #2 (how to order a marker) would have been first, #1 (knit grading) would have been second, #3 would have third, #4 would have been fourth, #5 would have been fifth and #6 would have been sixth. As an aside, you guys should care more about ordering markers. I’ve been working on that post for weeks (months?). Maybe I just need to compare notes with other practitioners because customer lack of preparedness with marker ordering is becoming a continual source of frustration for me.

All that said and in spite of your expressed wishes, I will do #6 (lined jacket) first and then #4 (fast prototyping). Reason being, I just finished the coat and learned a few things I want to write before I forget that may help you avoid some problems while still in the design phase if you undertake a similar project. #4 is relegated to follow because I think it is a bit self serving and so, don’t want to lead with it.

Oh, almost forgot. The suggestions we got for other topics were:

  • How can we make the production process (the making from a to z) more sustainable. What can we as small manufacturers do?
  • I’m think the terms grading and fitting (and sometimes drafting?) are being used interchangeably. A post clearly explaining the difference would be great.
  • I’d also like a review/recap/more info into your private training sessions.
  • So what were you supposed to use to soak up spilled sewing machine oil, again? It was something grainy. I panicked and used table salt.

I thought those were pretty good. The last question was more a question of quick solution; I’d check with an industrial supply for that because it can depend on your flooring. Theresa mentioned a kitty litter type product. I have a bag of it around but haven’t used it in a long while. Mr. Fashion-Incubator may have absconded with it.

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The quality check nobody knows -markers & cutting

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 23, 2013 at 4:12 pm

[It's not true that nobody knows this quality check but few do and this title sounds more dramatic and thus clickable!]
In my book, I mention that you should always get the pattern pieces left over from the marker cutting. This is for two reasons. The most important one is the first step to ensuring quality which I’ll tell you about today using an all-my-fault  example. The second reason is if you’re paranoid and worrying about the contractor using your patterns; see the note at close for more on this. By the way, I should remind you that quality means adherence to specification -that’s it.

Preamble dispensed with, in yesterday’s post I mentioned I was making a jacket for Mr.Fashion-Incubator. It is a repeat of the one I made for him in 2004 when he was still my boyfriend. It is a basic lettermen’s jacket with a wool melton body, collar, contrasting sleeves, zip close and ribbed cuffs and waistband. Anyway, I made the marker, Martha cut it out and started fusing it -and that’s where the trouble began. The melton was shrinking very obviously which puts the brakes on the whole affair as far as sewing it together. Our guess is that this wool wasn’t the kind we’ve always used (in fact, it started pilling terribly and I’ve never seen that) so to get an idea of how egregious the shrinkage was, we compared it to the leftovers from the marker. Which we save, always, and you should too. As terrible as the project was going, I thought it would be good to show you.

In the photo below, the left pane shows the front pattern piece left over from the marker. In the right pane is the cut fabric piece laid on top of the pattern (that’s how you check these things). Red boxes highlight the troublesome areas.

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Pondering topics -do us all a favor and pick one

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 22, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I’m stuck on a variety of posts -I’m always working on several at a time, not as though you’d know as of late- and not making headway. The main reason is that I don’t have the final answer or solution. I always think I have to have that before I start and on some of these, I just don’t know.

Here are some examples:

  1. Knit pattern grading: Not as we typically do it via coordinates but as Stuart does it. I’ve successfully experimented with it but I’m not confident and would like to compare notes.
  2. How to order a marker: Just when I think I have this nailed down, a new experience changes it all. I truly do believe though that I will not make another marker unless the customer can guarantee a return call inside of five minutes. Indirectly related to #3.
  3. Another reason small orders are shunted off to the side: Why you’re not the priority (and don’t take it personally). Can’t speak for everyone but first in my queue is whoever stands to lose the most, not who spends the most.
  4. The fastest way to pattern and prototype: One style, soup to nuts -including introduction to a sewing contractor, can be prototyped, fitted and corrected in a day. I do it (caveats apply) but don’t know who else does and I’d like to know (bet you would too).
  5. Pattern engineering to fabric width constraints: Now doesn’t that sound yummy? Fraught with challenges of narrow goods, I made a linen duvet for my featherbed.
  6. Sewing a lined casual men’s jacket: My current personal project; my poor husband needs a coat.
  7. Insert your topic here: ’nuff said.

So please vote for your topic of choice -and if you can provide some heavy lifting on topics 1,2 & 4, that would be awesome!

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How to develop sewing tolerances

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

spot_image_how_to_establish_sewing_tolerancesBe forewarned that this is closer to an inquiry than a tutorial.

Tolerances are a plus or minus measurement used on a tech pack to determine whether a product meets a specified quality standard. It is usually expressed as plus or minus. For example, one point of measure (POM) for a bust line may say the tolerance is plus or minus 1/2″. This means that for each size (34, 36, 38 etc), the garment bust measure could be 33.5″-34.5″ for the size 34; 35.5″-36.5″ for the size 36, etc.. My inquiry today is how are these tolerances determined? Frankly, it seems like many of them are drawn out of thin air or copied from similar tech packs wherever one can find them.

Tolerances are a new wrinkle and I’m not finding established or good practices to follow. In the olden days, few worried about tolerances because most everyone made their own stuff. Since things have changed, people have been winging it and don’t let anyone tell you differently. That doesn’t mean some people don’t have the right or good answers only that there is no established practice, much less agreement on how to do it.

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Caught in the Wild: Marking Guides

By Kathleen Fasanella on Oct 9, 2013 at 2:11 pm

cute_collarSheesh, can you believe I forgot to hit publish? I wrote this a week ago… I was wondering why it didn’t get any comments.

And today for your viewing pleasure, a selection of marking guides caught in the wild. So what are marking guides you ask? Well, since you may not have seen the previous entries discussing it, nor perhaps read pages 150-153 in my book which explains how to make them, marking guides are pretty much what they sound like. These are templates made of oak tag pattern paper or even plastic, that are used to mark the placement of artwork or details like pockets and such, on your products. Typically one marks the cut pieces after fusing but before sewing. Marking guides are reserved for marking when you can’t use a drill during the cutting process (most placement marks are drilled).

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Fusing Map: Lined Leather Vest

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 25, 2013 at 4:45 pm

22200_fusing_map_vestThe images at bottom show suggested placement (or map as I’ve taken to calling them) of fusible interfacing that is typical of a mid to higher price point lined vest with welt pockets. The sample garment (style #22200) is shown at right.

Keep in mind that there is always variation in practices between manufacturers owing to desired or expected garment performance. In this case, the vest (being a split suede) is a 2 oz garment weight leather -which isn’t noted for keeping its shape without a little assistance. Hence the fusible. And yes of course you can press leather, don’t fret so much over it. At close are links that provide back story should you need that but suffice to say, I’ve become partial to knit nylon tricot fusible. It sets quickly (no, we don’t hold the iron down for a count of x) and neatly with a bit of steam. I also fuse without a pressing cloth but then my iron has a teflon (or is it silicone?) shoe so nothing sticks to it.

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On becoming a CAD pattern maker pt.2

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm

The universe speaks! Follows is a redux of conversations I’ve had with colleagues over the past two days. Designers launching a line, it would be useful to follow along as it could reduce a lot of confusion and complexity you have experienced when sourcing services.

Context: my colleagues are old school pattern makers (mostly a good thing) who, while not opposed to CAD and may have even used it, don’t have a CAD system themselves. My position is that if a patternmaker is planning to stay in the game for at least the next 10 years, they need to get a CAD system.

Old school context: The range of pattern services to include pattern making, grading and marking, have always been separate functions and often, done by 3 different people. The patternmaker made patterns, a pattern grader graded the patterns for sizes and the marker maker made markers from the patterns for production to cut the fabric. Usually or often, patterns were made by hand with the grading and marking done by computer. Now, while each party may have used the same software and hardware for these different functions, they did not do each others jobs or only rarely and under duress. As in, somebody died.

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So… how do you make facings?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 17, 2013 at 4:32 pm

How to sew a facingI’ve been turning this over in my head -how does one make facings- for the last week or so and finally decided to risk looking stupid to ask about it. The reason being, many comments on Patternmaking Made Easy giveaway made reference to facings as being particularly vexing. No slight intended but until today, I didn’t understand what the big deal was.

So today I did a search for “facing draft tutorial” and found quite a few on the web, many of them prettily done. None of them tho, used any of the ways I’ve done it (pp 154-155 in my book) or have seen it done in the trade. I thought it a bit strange because you’d think that some of the usual suspects (who purport to have been industrial pattern makers or claim their “industrial friend” told them how) would have posted better information. Hmm. But no, all the tutorials I found are just like the ones in pattern books. So. Considering that you can search as well as the next person, have bought the same books and you still need clarification on the topic tells me that facing drafting isn’t as known as I thought.

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When is the last time you called your professors?

By Kathleen Fasanella on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

My life would be so much easier if more of you would take pains to keep in contact with your preferred educator at wherever it was you went to school. Okay, that is the sum of my tough love lecture but seriously, it’d be great if you all would do this more often.

There are a lot of good reasons to do it, yeah, there’s all the feel good back patting but like anyone, educators need to know the positive impact they’ve made in your lives. It could be as simple as dropping a card in the mail, it will brighten their day even if they don’t remember you!

Now to the point of today’s lecture -it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find skilled workers, specifically pattern makers, graders and such. If you would like to be notified of opportunities, the first people called these days are college professors. And college professors are going to recommend former students who have kept in touch with them. Now, your situation may be such that you’re not looking for work but this can always change. Therefore, it’s best to make goodwill deposits in your favor bank in advance of need.

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