Several years ago I was talking about skill levels and the need for fashion education within the  membership of a sewing group I had joined.
I asked a close friend and member, Pam, I have sold a higher percentage of books to the membership, than any other market. Yet the local members never take any of the courses in my program. My courses are written for cottage entrepreneurs.I can’t understand it.I can see that various members have problems with their designing and sewing, and they talk about it, and I am sitting right there! I know exactly what to do to correct the problem, but no one asks me ANYthing. WHY?       
Pam replied, That’s because they think industrial has nothing to do with them.
Now I don’t consider myself to be naive, and I know that many who do custom sewing are not impressed with what is on the mass market, but this was new information to me. I was stunned!
Pam then told me that I should tell them even though they don’t ask me.  Pam can do that because she started the group and was working in haute couture. The members related to  that. They saw her as someone to look up to and respect.
But I was reluctant to do that as I have learned that people can be very sensitive about their sewing. Some would prefer not to know, or think they do know, even if that is not the case. They get upset and feel put down if information is volunteered. Many are convinced that home sewing is far superior to industrial – which may be true if you are looking at the worst on the market. 
But what I have seen the industry produce, having been fortunate enough to work with high-end garments and people so skilled what they produced was incredible, is way beyond anything most people imagine of the industry. Overall the industry is hardly down and dirty – although there is plenty of that as well.
The truth is, the procedures used in design rooms to produce high-end clothing are the procedures any professional would use whether working in an industrial design room, sewing for wealthy clients, or sewing at home for oneself and/or family. 
That is why my program is open to home sewers, design room personnel, students, anybody who wants to learn more about sewing. It is open to everyone because all need to learn the same skills. All students should learn high-end because that is the most difficult. Once those skills are in place, students can easily figure out how to produce the product less expensively. In the industry bottom line determines the level of quality. High-endrequires the least machinery to produce, and is the easiest to produce in the home, but the skills must be in place, of course.
Here is an example of sample making: Whe I wrote this I had almost finished a new blouse. It was a black poly no-wrinkle faille with white daises – in other words, although I love silk, I chose fabric I could live with and that required low maintenance. First I traced the commercial (home sewing) pattern, then drafted in additional bust darting, finally I custom graded the pattern to my coordinates, which eliminated any fittings. The book that shows how to do that should be on the market before the end of this year (2018).
The blouse was then cut to match sandwiched between tracing paper. The blouse has long sleeves, self-fabric corded mandarin collar and cuffs, black frogs (I had them so I didn’t make them), lingerie straps, French seams, and armhole seams bound with self-fabric. The hem is hand-rolled. To accommodate the frogs, the lappage is 1/4 inch less on the right than on the left front – in the industry a standard procedure with buttons as well, especially with jackets. This blouse is typical of garments I worked on when I was in the industry. I made it at home and you can too!

The website at is currently being professionally upgraded, the new website should be online the middle or end of June, 2018.

Grading to Fit’s over 400 pages is an encyclopedia of grading information.
It includes the information you need to know to choose your correct pattern size, correct its fit, and determine
grading coordinates you can use to eliminate most fittings.

Grading and Sewing A Blouse
shows how to prepare home sewing blouse patterns and then grade them to fit,
enabling you to produce truly professional clothing like that sold in the better, high-end stores.  

I’m working furiously to hopefully have Grading to Fit, and its sequel, Grading and Sewing a Blouse ready for sale by the end of this year, hopefully sooner. 

An article I wrote for Threads Magazine will be published in their 199 issue that will be on the newsstands in late August (2018). 

Bye for now, thanks for reading – Laurel


Phone: 215 884 7065
© Laurel Hoffmann, 2018. 

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