As a designer, it is very important your collection is well executed for a show, presentation and market week, as well as the selling floor. And to have a well-made collection, or just a single garment, it starts after your designs are finalized and it’s ready for construction.
Most fashion houses already have their team of sewers who understands the design concept and know how each garment should be constructed, with some instructions given. However, majority of young designers don’t have the same resources. When they find a sewer or factory to sew their garments, young designers would think that this person would understand their design because of years of experience the sewer has under their belt. This is actually a BIG misconception. If no instructions given, the sewer can have a garment finished in a way that you originally did not want. This mistake would cost time and money.
When you give a new design to a sewer/factory, you should think ahead about the steps they are going to take when cutting the goods, sewing method and finishing. Also, you have to think about the cost of your design; sewing is an important factor when pricing a garment and the way it is finished or sewn can affect the final price greatly.
Below are 5 tips on how to communicate with a factory and how to translate your design into a garment:
Tip #1: Have Patterns with the correct information - Before you give your designs to a factory, make sure the patterns are up-to-date with its most recent corrected fit. Also check that it has its proper seam allowance, make sure all notches matches, it has the correct pattern number and it matches to its cutters must. It is important all this information is clear because the cutter will follow the information on the cutters must and the sewer will follow the information on the pattern. A helpful step I like to do is to write down what kind of seam it should be done on the garment. Ex: For a side seam on a dress, write “French Seam” in large with marker/highlight.
Tip #2: Technical Flat with Notes - Fashion Sketches are a beautiful way to illustrate your designs, but it is NOT a good way to show as an image reference to a factory. The best way to go about this is by having a technical flat for your designs. In most cases, you will not have a physical reference to show them how to sew your design, so technical flats with sewing details and notes is a great way to show the factory how you want your garmentto be finished. A helpful step I like to do is to include images of the seam/stitch that I’d like on the garment on the technical flat. Ex: (image below):
Also see 3 Reasons Why You Need a Tech Pack
Tip #3: Garment Reference - If you do happen to have a garment that it’s similar in construction as your design, you may give this to the factory as a Sew-By sample. But, if it has the same construction but different finish, add a note on the garment for the sewer to pay attention to and go over it with him/her so they understand how it should be done.
Tip #4: Be very thorough and think about sample cost - Even with all the notes given with the tips above, it is very important you go through every step and detail with your factory. If the sewer says a stitch won’t work, then ask for an opinion of what could work. Also, keep in mind of budget and cost of the garment. You want to make sure that your sample meets the cost for sampling/production. For example, a French seam cost more than a single merrow stitch.
Tip #5: And Most Importantly, Be Very Patience - When explaining and going through all the steps on how to execute your designs, the sewer/factory might say “yes, I know” or nod their head. Most of the time, the factory have sewers who speak little to no English. if you don’t take the time to explain what to do and make sure they understand what they should do, then the final garment might be executed differently. Remember, this is your design and vision and you want your garment to look its best.
Good luck with your designs and let us know how these tips worked for you, we always love to hear feedback.