How sample making differs from home sewing
Home-sewing – sewing as described in pattern packets and home-sewing instruction books.
Sample making – sewing done by a sample maker who makes the entire garment using industrial procedures.
Home-sewing disadvantage – The home sewer is making one garment. The sample maker is making a sample, the first of which, even with the considerable preparations listed below, may not be as desired. In the industry the first garment from a new style pattern is often discarded, as it is often considered no more than a test.
The home sewer hopes to have the one garment made from her pattern to be both wearable and successful. She expects far more from herself than do the professionals when making a first garment from a new pattern.
Sample making advantage – The sample maker has the advantage of working with the design room team made up of pattern maker(s), designer(s), and fit model(s). In the industry mistakes are expected when a new pattern is being tested and sewn.
Home sewing: The style is chosen from a pattern catalogue, on line, or in a fabric store.
Sample making: The style is part of a grouping of styles designed for a targeted customer type.
Learn how a professional uses the skills she learned in the industry to design her personal wardrobe.
Pattern size/ Fit
Home sewing: The pattern size is chosen by the bust size. Fitting is often done as the garment is sewn in the fashion fabric. Often a new pattern is used, requiring significant fit changes to the printed pattern.
Sample making: A grade-rule sample size is used. Often a pattern whose style and fit was successful on the market, has its style slightly adapted for the next year’s line. When the target market has a larger than B cup bust the sample size’s bust sizing is adjusted. The pattern is tested for fit with a muslin fitting. All fit corrections are made in the muslin before the fashion fabric is cut.
Learn more about choosing the correct pattern size.
Note: Because patterns are drafted to a grade rule, if one knows how one’s body’s measurements differ from the grade rule’s chosen size, the same corrections can be used to alter the fit with all patterns drafted to that grade rule’s size. This works ONLY if the chosen pattern has been drafted correctly to the grade rule. All patterns need to be checked for accuracy before they are cut. The home sewing patterns’ true-bust points position is the most likely to be misplaced. Learn more about grading.
Home sewing: The patterns are drafted for the right side, so as to cut the garment from fabric laid on the fold. All of the printed patterns seams have 5/8 inch seam allowances printed on the patterns.
Sample making: Both the right and the left sides of the pattern are drafted as the garment will be cut on the open. The patterns have been drafted with the varying seam allowances used in the industry. Good patternmakers draft to an accuracy of 1/32 inch.
Layouts (spreading the fabric)
Home sewing: The fashion fabric is laid out on the table, folded down the center of its length. The patterns, are drafted for the right side of the garment, are laid out over the fashion fabric.
Sample making: The fashion fabric is laid out on the open. If the fabric is fragile, it will be cut sandwiched between tracing paper. The patterns, are drafted for both sides of the garment, are laid out over the fashion fabric. Cutting patterns on the open with reduced seam allowances saves considerable fabric.
Home sewing: The fashion fabric is cut on the fold from the fashion fabric. Most women cut the fabric straight ahead. V-notches are cut as shown on the paper patterns.
Sample making: The fashion fabric is cut on the open from right-to-left.
Notches are snipped 1/8 inch deep. V-notches are cut at center front, center back, at the top of sleeve caps, and when a notch has been miss cut. The fashion fabric is often fused before pieces that need to be fused are cut. Those pieces are then cut from the fused fashion fabric. Learn more about layouts and cutting
Preparing to sew
Home sewing: Tailor tacks may be used to mark the circles printed on the pattern. Some home sewers mark the seams’ sewing lines on their cut garment pieces. Pieces that need to be stiffened are often fused.
Sample making: The cut pieces are wrapped up in their patterns and taken to the sewing machine.
Home sewing: The fashion fabric is fitted as the garment is sewn.
Seams are pinned before they are sewn.
Some seams may be sewn down from the neck, others up from the hem. Because all seams are sewn on a 5/8 seam allowance, many seams need to be trimmed, then finished after they are sewn. Seams are pressed as they are sewn.
Zippers are often set after most of the other seams in the garment have been sewn.
Sample making: Because the pattern has been corrected from the muslin, the garment is sewn without any fittings.
Because the pattern was adjusted before the fashion fabric was cut, seams can be finished before they are sewn.
Seams are sewn, notch-to-notch, edge-to-edge, on gauge with an accuracy of within 1/16 inch.
All seams are either sewn up from the hem (high-end) or down from the neck (less-expensive garments).
Zippers are set first, or as soon as possible.
Most seams are sewn notch-to-notch without any pinning
Home sewing: Seams are pressed as they are sewn.
Sample making: With few exceptions, most garments are not pressed until the garment is completed.
Home sewing: Finished garment may look worn from the fit alterations.
Sample making: Finished garment looks fresh and new.
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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2019.