Patterns and textile selection are the most important aspect of a runway show. No matter how flawless your business model, without the right product, your business will not be successful. In this article I will share tricks that I learned while designing a previous collection.
When my Fall/Winter 2014 collection for PLITZS New York Fashion Week was in pattern and sampling stages in 2013, the collection’s designs were finalized and I waited for my chosen garment patterns and samples to be produced by a New York City manufacturer in the Garment District.
I traveled to New York City, where I consulted with fabric suppliers and our manufacturer to plan the next stages of the collection. While in the Big Apple, I stopped by several iconic stores and fabric suppliers for more design inspiration, and learned invaluable tricks of the trade along the way. Now, I’d like to share these tricks with you.
6 Tips for Pattern Making and Sampling Production During the Design Process
- Establish deadlines and meet them – Creating deadlines for your pattern and sample makers is the only way to meet runway show deadlines. It also makes time management that much more efficient.
- Create contracts with suppliers – When working with manufacturers and individual contractors, it is important to protect your business and finances from bad business relationships. Creating a contract prevents miscommunication and prepares both parties for worst case scenarios.
- Choose one consistent sample size – Having a pair of pants in small, and a blouse in large, and all of your samples in different sizes makes styling a complete collection difficult. In the end, you may find you only have two pairs of pants that fit a model with nothing to pair with it. Have consistent sizes for buying appointments in the future, as it will be easier to know which patterns to grade.
- Mock up the pattern – Creating a muslin, or dummy, of each garment prevents miscommunication when making the sample and lessens errors.
- Follow up with your manufacturer – Follow up with your manufacturer at least every two days when patterns are being drafted and samples are being produced. This will help you manage deadlines, particularly when selling products to buyers. Also, be sure to visit the manufacturer’s studio to get familiar with their machinery and process, and maintain communication to prevent fittings errors.
- Copyright your product – To claim the rights to your product, order custom woven labels and tags to sew in your garments. By doing so, your customer will become more familiar with your brand, logo, and products. While it does protect your brand from others that may attempt claim the products as their own, it does not prevent rip-offs from other designers.
These six tips for pattern making and sampling production served me well in 2013, and I still use them to this day. My fashion designs have benefited from these processes, and I know they will help you on your fashion forward journey. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter where I will continue to share articles about my design processes and tips as seen here on Fashion Mingle for working with stylists, models and manufacturers.
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