Preparing sample garments 
Herringbone jacket shown with a red and black silk blouse.
Sample garments represent clothing that will be mass produced.

If you are designing a line of clothing, you will need at least two samples of each design.

Samples of your styles serve two purposes:
1. They are used to market your clothing line.
2. They show how the garments are sewn together.

Your samples need to show your designs at their best. Accuracy is extremely important as your finished samples represent the mass-produced garments that will be bought by your potential customers. Your samples must look professional and must measure to the designed fit. They need to be drafted to an accuracy of 1/32 of an inch and sewn on gauge, notch-to-notch. They need to have been carefully checked with muslin fittings to ensure accurate fit.

Construction methods:
zipper being sewn into a seam
Procedures used in industry enable a zipper setter to set 500 zippers a day. No pins are used.

The construction methods used to make your garments must be those used in industry. Home sewing methods cannot be used. If you do not know sample making (the making of an entire garment using industry’s sewing procedures) you need to hire someone who does.

Construction methods used in the industry:

Industry’s sewing techniques are different than the sewing techniques presented in most sewing instruction books and pattern packets. The basic engineering and logical sewing methods used in industry allow many people to be involved in the making of salable garments.

Sample making can be used to make personal clothing:
Feather-weight sewing machine
Minimal equipment is needed to produce professional samples. The feather-weight sewing machine is a light-weight version of the lock stitch sewing machines used in industry.

Sample making is easier to use than home sewing methods. Whether mass-producing or making one garment at home for personal use, industrial sewing methods are faster and more reliable.

High-end clothing is manufactured in the industry:
Beauty pageant pink gown
Miss America pageant gown made in a designing department for a state queen’s attendant.
2018 pink blush prom gown
Custom made 2018 prom gown. The separate sleeves are decorated with hand-sewn beaded lace flowers.

The same methods, used to mass-produce clothing, are also used in industry to produce high-end clothing that sells for thousands of dollars. Only the most highly skilled, best hands in the designing department cut and sew high-end clothing. Quality fabrics are used. Personnel are not (usually) rushed. The fabric is cut by hand. Garments are often fully lined. Expensive trims may be added..

Price point determines quality:

Price point determines what can and cannot be done. Mass-produced clothing must be machine finished if it is to sell at a price most customers can afford.

Quality in the industry is directly related to price point. Yardages are laid out, cost of labor, fabric, and notions determined. Garments are only offered for sale if it has been determined that the style can be manufactured at a profit. Many factories will not cut less than 1000 garments at a time. Once sales make it obvious that a style will financially break even on a cutting of 1000, the garment’s patterns are graded and the garments are cut and sewn.

Grade rules ensure correct fit:
Grading increases/ decreases the pattern’s fit on the grading lines shown in this diagram.

Patterns used in industry are drafted to fit a grade rule to ensure reliable fit for the company’s customers.

Although grading can be done by hand or with a grading machine on the table, most grading is done by computer.

A grade rule is a complete set of measurements for a size range. It contains a set of measurements for each size in the size range. Size 10, for example, is company jargon for a complete set of body measurements that determine the fit for that size. Size 12 is jargon for the next size measurements. A size 12’s full circumference is often 1 1/2 inches larger than the size 10. Grading maintains the target market body’s fit proportions.

Continuing Professional Education books present the sample making procedures used in industry
Classroom testing ensures that the material contained in Contemporary Fashion Education’s sewing and drafting books can be understood and used. Students included design room personnel.

The books have been written and tested over a period of 30 years to make sure the information can be understood and used successfully. The books include drafting and sewing exercises, which can be put into sample books for future reference.
215 884 7065

© Laurel Hoffmann, 2018.

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