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How To: Working with contractors

April 29, 2011

For those aspiring designers out there, I have some tips for contracting out your clothing production.

This is something that isn’t really covered in design school, and as I’m prepping everything to take to my contractor, I’m thankful for my past industry experience that helped me figure out what to do to make it as smooth of an experience as possible.

  1. Make sure your patterns are all properly labeled and all pieces are accounted for, complete with a pattern card. The pattern card, hung on front of the pattern includes Technical Sketch, Pattern Number/Style Number, and number of pieces in the pattern. I like to assign numbers to each pattern piece then list them on the card in numerical order, with a very brief description of what the piece is, and what it’s cut out of. This isn’t necessary, but its a good tip for styles with a lot of pieces to help keep track of them all and help them from getting lost.
  2. Make up a cut sheet to hang on the front of the pattern. The cut sheet is to give instruction to the cutters, listing how many units to cut, in what sizes and what colours (if offering different colour range). Make sure to attach swatches of all the fabrics that need to be cut, in all the colours that need to be cut so the cutters can match up the appropriate materials.
  3. Samples should be a true representation of how you want your pieces to look. This will be the sewers’ guide.
  4. On each sample, hang a spec sheet and trim package for the sewers. The spec sheet has all the details of the style on it – sketch, list of fabric and notions used, and sewing instructions. The trim package includes all garment labels and notions needed like zippers, hooks and eyes, trims etc. If the style has elastic or trims that need to be cut to size, make a length template and hang with the sample.

          

Basically you want to make sure every detail on how you want your pieces to turn out is given and they have everything they need to make it. You want them to be able to take everything and go with it. You don’t want to have to run back and forth to give instructions or deliver forgotten materials, because time spent asking questions or waiting for things is time spent not working on your pieces!

I hope this was helpful! Have any questions or want more detail, don’t hesitate to ask!

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