There’s a lot of time and thought that goes into the garment making process. As much as I sometimes wish it was as easy as snapping my fingers or counting to 1, 2, 3, it’s a process. A long, but beautiful process.
To start, I always gather inspiration. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Nature, art, landscapes, architecture, fabric. I also usually ask myself a couple of questions. What silhouette do I want this piece to have? What is the function of this garment? This allows me to really focus in on what I want the garment to look like. From there, I begin sketching.
Once I’ve narrowed down the look of the garment, I start the pattern-making process. This is definitely the longest and most difficult part of the process. When pattern-making, you are essentially trying to make a 2-dimensional object (the pattern) fit a 3-dimensional object (the body). I usually start by plotting out a rough flat pattern and then sewing together a test garment. This allows me to see the fit of the pattern and then I can make adjustments to it if necessary. Let’s be honest here, adjustments are always necessary! Sometimes I find the pattern to be completely off and decide to scrap the whole thing and start all over. Other times, only minor adjustments like lengthening the shoulder seam or moving down a bust dart need to be done. I usually end up making about 2-3 test garments per pattern. I’ll make adjustments to the pattern, sew a test garment, make new adjustments to the pattern, sew a test garment, etc. When pattern-making, you also have to think about your order of operations for sewing your garment. How is the garment going to be finished? Are you going to use a neckline facing or bias tape? The answers to these questions will all affect your pattern. Once the pattern is perfect, I’ll sew one final garment in my chosen material. I like to then wear the piece for awhile and see how it feels. Sometimes when wearing a garment, you notice things that you wish were a little different.
After the pattern is complete, I then begin the process of grading. Grading is taking your pattern that only fits one size and adjusting it to fit multiple sizes. For example, taking a size medium pattern and adjusting it to fit a size small or large. Once I’ve graded my pattern into all of the different sizes, I will sew test garments in every size and then find models to do a fit session. Fit sessions are helpful for me to see if I graded the pattern correctly and also see how the garment looks on multiple different body shapes. Sometimes pattern adjustments need to be made after doing a fit session. Once all of the sizes are done, I get to do the fun part: making them for all of you!
As you can see, garment making is a process, but I love each and every step. It’s so exciting to see something from start to finish as it comes together! And seeing a garment come to completion is so, so rewarding!