The Initial Design Meeting

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in Emerging Designers, Fashion, Fashion Design, Industry Know How, Manufacturer, Mentee, Sample Room Solutions | 0 comments

When you first start your label it is a really exciting time. You have every right to feel proud and eager. But, you may also feel apprehension too. This is normal. You will have a lot of questions; this is normal too.One of the most common questions we hear from start-ups is ‘What do I bring to my design meeting?’ and ‘How do I explain what I want?’ Well, at Sample Room, we can help answer these questions no matter who you work with, as well as alleviate any concerns you may have.The initial design meeting is the most important stage in development. It is not something to be rushed and there is a certain process that is needed to get all your ideas out of your head and mouth in a way that explains it to a pattern maker to create your vision. It is your chance to unload everything to us.Your worries, your ideas, everything. This meeting is about anything you choose; it’s all about you, your designs and dreams, your budget, and your questions. It’s a good idea in the weeks and days leading up to the meeting to jot down some of the issues you’d like to go over. Write down all your questions, note the choices of fabrics that you’re thinking of using for your garments, bring in garments to show fit, make or fabric, bring in swatches, and tear out pics from magazines. You can use this meeting to simply have a chat with us; to bring forth the ideas that are presently buried within. We understand that ideas have to germinate in your brain; equally, we understand that an idea will stay as just that until you talk it over with someone.The best advice we can give you, however, in preparing for the design meeting, is to make sure you know your customer. This is so important, we can’t stress it enough. You need to have researched every aspect about your customer, you need to have invested time and energy into them. If you’re about to launch a label, you have to know that person is out there to buy it. It’s no use creating cycle wear for women who wear Size 16 and over if you’ve not done the research to show that such a product will sell. Likewise, if you are designing quality work-wear for the professional woman, make sure you understand everything about her. What is her age bracket? What is her salary range? Is she a working mum, or is she child-free? What movies does she like to watch? What are her hobbies?Does she do yoga, or is she a marathon runner? Know the other brands that your customer purchases. Have a clear picture in mind, so that you are well-placed to succeed in launching. Reach out to your customer, get their feedback, and make conversations and connections.Why...

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Pre-Production Sample Follow Up

Posted by on Oct 29, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

A few months ago you may have received a post from me about Pre-production samples. In the past few weeks it has come to light that this subject may need to be expanded upon.A Pre-production sample is the last check before you commit to thousands of dollars’ worth of fabric and manufacturing.This process is even more important if you are using external contractors for your development process.Why? Well when you have a team working in house with you, a lot of possible mistakes are caught; not whilst in a formal meeting but while you are walking past someone’s desk, while you are talking in the lunch room, when someone sees the fabric arrive in the loading bay. By removing this close contact, your contractors are left to make decisions based on the information they have been given, which might not be the whole picture.It is important to note that the fit of a garment is not always the same as the measurements of a pattern, especially where knit and woven fabrics are concerned. The process of development, of creating a mock up or sample from a pattern, is to see how that particular pattern works with that particular fabric. The pattern is then changed as a reflection of the sample made in that said fabric.If the fabric has stretched and has resulted in a looser fitting style based on the pattern and you like it then we do not change the pattern. It might even be that you make the pattern smaller to compensate for the stretch of the fabric.If the fabric used in production is different from the fabric used in sampling, ask your patternmaker to measure and compare the sample to the pattern measurements. Having this completed will show you how the pattern differs to the sample. This extra, but vital information might be something you wish to spend time and money on.It is also important to remember that if you change the fabric in any way, then you need to trial the pattern again.Take, for example, a recent situation where the fabric used for sampling was a loose knit with very little Lycra. During the sampling process, the fabric stretched. The customer then approved the sample. The pattern was graded, a marker made and was sent off to the manufacturer for production.We later found out via an upset customer that the garments had not been made in the same fabric as the samples.On further investigation, we discovered the first sample was bigger than the pattern and the production garments was smaller than the pattern. This resulted from the designer using a fabric with a lighter weight and a high Lycra content, causing the fabric to bounce back and shrink (as confirmed in pressing tests). The result was a two size difference from sample to production.As we did not see the fabric used for production, we had...

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Pre-production samples- your last line of defence!

Posted by on Jun 10, 2013 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Why sample? Hi all! We thought we’d make the subject of today’s post, the pre-production sample. That’s a sample made after you’ve got your fabrics and trims, just before you go to production. We work together with you and your choice of manufacturer to get a garment that will work perfectly on the production line. Some designers think that making a pre-production sample is a waste of time, and a spec sheet should be enough. But to us this sample is the key to a great result – and a safeguard against disaster. Here’s why. Fabrics change. When you order sampling lengths of fabric from your fabric supplier, they come off a small run of development fabrics. Once bulk is ordered it is added to a large quantity of other orders and then thousands of meters are produced. There is no guarantee that the bulk fabric is produced in the same way as the sampling. It could be wound tighter, which would result in more shrinkage than the sampling fabric. Or it may stretch more. Colours may be different, as dye lots are notoriously difficult to match exactly. More than one designer has been horrified to find that the fabric they’ve bought looks or reacts so differently that the garment no longer works. Sample again, be sure, make changes, and you won’t be lumped with a full run of unsellable garments.Trims change The trims used on your first sample will almost definitely be different to the trims used in production. The elastic may have been bought locally, whereas you production elastic was bought bulk. The stretch and return of this elastic may be different. You will need to see if they react and give you the same result at the end.All machinists sew in a different way We have seen as many versions of a welt pocket as we have known machinists. All achieve the same result, but it depends on the method they learnt at the factory they worked at. Some like welt pockets sewn as one piece for 2 welts, some like 2 x 7cm pieces, some like 2x narrow pieces to fit exactly. No one is incorrect.Machinists require different indications Some machinists like .5 clearance from the end of the drill hole, some like .7cm. It is at the pre-production stage that the factory sample machinist is able to work this out and change the pattern accordingly. Sure, you could tell them to just suck it up and do it your way – but wouldn’t you be happier knowing that the machinist was doing her best work? Making a pre-production sample makes sense – it’s your final bit of insurance. Make one every time you order fabric for a new run.If you have any questions or would like to know more about the process from design to production, please let us know in the comments area...

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