Thinking about starting a clothing line? If so you might want to consider signing up for From Conception to Production, a two-day master class here in Philadelphia. During the two days of classes you will learn how to get your line up and running from your home. You’ll also learn how to determine what to charge, and how to determine costs. As you are shown how to use industrial procedures that reduce time and expense you’ll be surprised to learn how little equipment you will  need to produce truly salable, professional garments. The links for this master class are below.

A little feather-weight sewing machine can be used to make
high-end clothing.  In the industry manufacturing cheap clothing
usually requires complex machinery. Most high-end clothing
can be made on a basic, straight-stitch sewing machine. 

You may already know that industry sews using different sewing methods than those used in home sewing procedures. This seminar addresses those differences, differences you need to know if you are to successfully make and market your line of clothing.

Most sewing books on the market present home sewing methods that are slow, time consuming, and not very dependable. To produce salable clothing that can be manufactured in the industry, you need to know the methods used by the professionals.

Although it’s quite common for people who sew at home to think industrial drafting and sewing methods have nothing to do with them, nothing could be further from the truth. With almost no exceptions designing departments procedures can be used in the home. Using equipment quite similar to that available to any home sewer, high-end designing departments produce exquisitely beautiful clothing for their preferred customers. So what’s the secret? The professionals know drafting and sewing procedures not currently known by most of the population. YOU can learn these skills AND you can use them in your home to produce exquisitely beautiful garments, like those produced in the industry, for yourself, your family, and your customers.

The most expensive item you need to start your fashion business just may be just a little feather-weight like the one I use to demonstrate sewing skills in my classes. They sell on e-bay for as low as $300!

From Conception to Production is offered Wednesday and Thursday, October 15-16 at this year’s annual Association of Sewing and Design Professionals Education Conference at the Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District Hotel in Old City in Philadelphia. The conference runs from October 15-18 and is open to everyone. It presents a wonderful learning experience and is a lot of fun. Here are the links for the Conference’s brochure and registration form.

In From Conception to Production’s four sessions you will be given an overview of what is involved in 1. designing a line, 2. preparing the patterns for production, 3. producing a graded line of sizes, 4. preparing your line for mass-production, and 5. how to do this in your home with minimal expense. Questions are welcomed. The class has no prerequisites; you don’t even need to know how to thread a sewing machine. All of the information is from the industry. All of the procedures presented in this seminar are used in industry. This is how the industry designs, drafts, cuts, and sews.

Fashion designers use concept 
boards to present their ideas for new
lines of clothing. This board shows 
clothing I made for my clients’ and 
for my children. I will bring this and
other boards I have made to the

Here is a sampling of what you will learn:

Wednesday October 15, 2014
9:00 am to 12:00 pm – First session

This concept board is
called a book.

Fashion designers use concept boards to present their ideas for new lines. In this first session you will assemble magazine clippings brought from home as you learn how this is done. Once understood the class is then told how to speed this process on the computer. You will also be shown an easy, quick  method used by the pros to draw fashion illustrations. You will be able to do this even if you have never taken art classes.

Wednesday October 15, 2014
1:30 pm to 4:30 pm – Second session

Using a transparent ruler to
reduce the pattern’s seam 
allowances is an important
step in producing truly
The industry drafts varying seam allowances on their patterns.
Reducing seam allowances saves both fabric and time.
Neat, clean seam allowances enable the production of professional garments.
In this diagram of a jacket collar in progress, one can see why this is so.

In this session you will learn how to convert patterns you already have into patterns that can be used to produce your sample garments.

In the industry patterns are developed from patterns previously used to cut clothing that sold well in the market place. Learning how to convert patterns already owned and proven into patterns that can be used to cut and sew samples for your line of clothing will save you considerable time, effort, and expense.

 Thursday October 16, 2014
9:00 am to 12:00 pm – Third session

Fit lines shown on the figure on 
the left correspond to the grading
lines shown on the patterns to the
right of the figure. Understanding 
where these fit lines are, and how to
use these lines to achieve good fit is
essential if one is to produce
professional garments that fit well.
Did you know there is an
easy way to quickly grade
pattern sizes not included
in a multi-sized pattern?

Knowledge of drafting and sewing skills is essential if one is to produce beautiful clothing that will sell. This session begins with a basic understanding of grading which is essential to successful pattern drafting and fit.  Other drafting procedures are also addressed, such as where to put notches in armholes and sleeve caps so they will sew well.

I’m planning to bring in my hand grading machine and a set of graded patterns so you can see exactly how grading is done in the industry. Then I’ll show you how you can grade at home using just a transparent ruler and some tracing paper.

But here are
the same 
patterns, laid
so they match.
Notice how 
much fabric
is saved.

The patterns are 
laid to cut to match
 in this layout. The
layout looks as 
though it wouldn’t
be possible to lay 
the patterns any

Thursday October 16, 2014

1:30 pm to 4:30 pm – Fourth session

How does one determine how much to charge for a garment?

Yardage, sample making, and pricing are some of the subjects we will discuss as we conclude this seminar. In the industry yardage is so important to a company’s bottom line, the yardage needed to cut a garment is determined long before the garment is approved for sale. Good layouts save waste and, as a result, hundreds of dollars in the industry.

Both diagrams on the right show the same blouse pattern laid out to match. The patterns in the first layout on the right appear to be laid as tightly as is possible. But the second layout shows that more careful positioning of the same patterns can save considerable yardage.

You may note that some of the smaller pieces have been laid
off-grain in order to create a better match. Once cut those pieces will be fused to prevent them from distorting in the finished garment.

If you are interested in taking From Conception to Production, and/or other courses at the Conference, here is the registration form.  Click here to read the Conference’s brochure. Here is information about the Association of Sewing and Design Professionals 

A short bio: I  first worked in a couture shop on the Main Line in Philadelphia, then worked in designing departments, including industrial and couture bridal, then worked as a production pattern maker in factories in Philadelphia, drafting and grading patterns . For the last 25 years I taught these skills at Philadelphia University and Drexel University, where I developed my continuing professional education fashion technology program and its supporting books, scaling down and personalizing industrial fashion technology so it can be used effectively in home businesses. I now have my own school here in Oreland just northwest of Philadelphia. Classes are limited to 6 students each. For information about the courses offered this fall at my school, please visit the previous post on this blog. Here is the schedule for the courses offered in Oreland this fall.

For more information about master class From Conception to Production or the fall classes call me at 215 884 7065 or e-mail me.



 Phone: 215 884 7065

© Laurel Hoffmann, 2014, all rights reserved.
All material on this blog is copyrighted by and is the exclusive right of Laurel Hoffmann.

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