Contemporary Fashion Education students display the professional drafting and sewing techniques they have learned
Much of what happens when sewing at home parallels industry’s design room endeavors. But there are differences.
Here are the similarities:
Whether working in a designing department or sewing at home, the same basic planning and thinking is involved.
In industrial design rooms textile representatives bring in fabrics for consideration, sketches are assembled and swatched on concept boards, and meetings are held to determine the direction the line will take the next season.
The person who sews at home also decides what to make and considers what textiles to use.
Manufactured used to mean made by hand. It now usually means made on a large scale.
However clothing production is low-level technology, designing departments tend to have minimal equipment, and much of the work in the designing departments and factories is labor intensive, hands-on.
What the person who is sewing at home is doing isn’t that much different from what happens in the industry. The seamstress who is making one-of-a-kind garments at home, whether for herself, her family, or for customers, is also manufacturing garments.
Here are the differences:
The advantages: Making a garment at home eliminates many of industry’s costs. More can be spent on the fabric. Fabrics can be chosen that compliment the intended wearer’s color palette. Patterns can be altered to fit. Hand sewing can be incorporated. Hand sewing is very expensive in the industry.
A designing department can be easily replicated at home. It is possible to make beautiful clothes that fit at a fraction of the price they would cost if they were to be purchased ready made. Knowing those methods is the secret to making beautiful clothing that fits.
The disadvantages: The person who is sewing at home often has no access to the drafting or sewing procedures used in industrial designing departments.
Precision is paramount in a designing department. A designing department is a lab where everything is tested and checked. Patterns must be free of problems when they are sent to the factory. Patterns are drafted to 1/32 inch accuracy. Seam allowances are drafted to the width needed for the seam finishes that will be used. Cutting is clean. Muslins are cut to check the patterns’ fit. No fashion fabric, unless used to make the muslins, is cut until the pattern fits. All sewing is on gauge, done by sample makers who know the factory’s sewing procedures. Sewn seams are checked with the ruler to make sure the seams have been sewn on perfect gauge.
In these videos students show some of the design room skills they have learned that have enabled their achievements.
Natalia, age 11, learned how to use tools to draft patterns. Here she shows how to draft a skirt pattern’s hemline.
Shira, age 17, demonstrates how to cut correctly. Cutting from right-to-left (left-to-right if left-handed) gives control over the cutting. Note that she is cutting BOTH the fabric and underlying tracing paper. This gives her better control and produces clean cut seam allowances. Her careful cutting will produce a professional garment that has clean lines.
Natalia now shows the final steps she used to set an invisible zipper into her skirt, using the instructions in Contemporary Fashion Education’s published books. Natalia previously stay-stitched the zipper in place, allowing her to sew the final seam in the zipper tape’s gully.
© Laurel Hoffmann, 2018.