This is a jacket I made for a friend. I love this wool and have made other coats out of it. It washes and wears well. About the sketch sheet; what you see on this one is the most minimal of information that you need to provide to any technical person working with the style. None of this is proprietary information. I intentionally did not use a form but drew it up by hand so you can do this too. The sketch sheet describes this style as a men’s bomber jacket of boiled wool with grey and black stripes on a red background. The jacket has contrasting black lamb sleeves, collar, and trim (welt pockets, facing and waistband). It has a sport collar that zips closed with heavy knit ribbed waistband and cuffs. There’s an inner breast pocket and it is fully lined in a heavy black satin quilted onto 8 oz. wool. It is a size medium.
Now, if you looked at the sketch sheet, you should notice a problem with the above description; specifically, the sheet says black pig suede and above I indicated lamb. This matters. You should not go into a product review without making the correction to the sketch sheet as there is a significant price difference between lamb and pig.
Design:The coat is designed to suit the purpose. It provides adequate body coverage, the wool is dense and warm. The inside pocket was designed to hold -and retain- a palm pilot *without* zippers, snaps or buttons. The wearer can stand on his head and the pilot won’t fall out. Similarly, the coat was specifically designed to be washed. All of the inputs (wool, leather,
lining) were pre-washed. Actually, some of the inputs -most notably the leather- were washed more times than was intended due to “shop conditions”. While you may not have a cat with a lamb fetish, you’ll need to account for your particular shop conditions too. Due to shrinkage of the hides, I ended up with a 4oz leather when I intended 2-3oz. This ended up not being a problem but begs a correction (later). You’ll need to examine the style on the fit model with your reviewers in attendance.
Sizing: overall the jacket looks good but it is a bit too large even for a standard size medium. The largeness of this medium is due to the pattern maker’s preference (me). I’m accustomed to making western wear which tends to run larger than mainstream because cowboy types often do strenuous work so I cut to reflect that. My fit model is a standard medium (5’10” about 180lbs) so I should really cut it smaller to fit my intended target consumer. It still irks me. I may yet cut it apart again.
Fitting (is not the same thing as sizing): It looks pretty good although I think the armhole can be raised at least an inch. Raising the armhole does several things. 1. The wearer will have greater range of motion. 2. Lower costs; with a higher armhole, the sleeve is correspondingly smaller hence leather cost savings.
Features: When the model places his hands in his pockets, there are comensurate stresslines radiating into the shoulder which means the pockets are too high and they may need to be re-angled (now at 45degrees). They definitely need to come down an inch in placement. Similarly, the inside pocket is too high and needs to be lowered about 2″.
Construction: When discussing construction, viewpoints from differing perspectives must be addressed. The sample maker should report any problems they had with construction regardless of what caused it (pattern, fabric, machine etc). The production manager or contractor should be looking at the fabrication to determine what if any problems it represents. In this case, the sample maker (me) would say (my comments), “the pattern worked well, all the notches matched, it was clearly marked, the only problem I had was with the wool. Somehow, it’s growing”. At that point you should ask if the sample maker has any ideas to control it to which I’d respond “The front of the jacket needs to be fused. If we can’t do that, we need a strip of fusing in the armhole, shoulder line and center front along the zipper inset”.
The contractor/production person will be factoring in the costs and extra care needed to lay the fabrics out correctly so the stripes will match. Since the stripes match on the sample , the contractor will assume the match-stripe convention on the pattern is correct as well. The contractor will also be evaluating the style for the types of machines that may be needed to sew it. Regarding this particular style, the whole thing was made by single-needle on a home sewing machine so this shouldn’t be a problem other than the pockets. If the contractor’s shop doesn’t have experience making welt pockets via single needle and doesn’t have a welting machine, they may not do the job. This shouldn’t be a problem tho. Lastly, the contractor will be factoring time (under 30 minutes for total sewing time) and evaluating the item in terms of the skill level of sewing operators. If they’ve made jackets like this before, this will be no problem.
Costing and allocation: This information is absent in this review. There are certain things you must have on hand for the review. You need to have allocation figures (provided by the sample cutter or whoever cuts it out) and the quantities of inputs and types needed (zippers etc should be described by size, length and type on the sketch sheet). Normally you would not discuss sewing costs if any floor people are around; that’s usually a management topic only. I think you should share these cost figures with your pattern maker provided he/she is a private contractor separate from the sewing contractor. If the sewing costs are out of line with past experience, your pattern maker can troubleshoot the reasons for that with you and the contractor. It could be a small glitch is costing unnecessarily.
Review Summary: This style would pass review. Notes regarding the changes must be detailed. These are:
1. The style is not a medium, it is a large. It needs to be graded down one size.
2. The sketch sheet is incorrect. The sleeves and trim are lamb, not pig.
3. The armholes, shoulder, neckline and centerfront must be fused.
4. Outside pockets to be lowered at least 1″ and re-angled.
5. The inside breast pocket must be lowered 2″.
6. Raise the armhole at least 1″.
7. Allocation, inputs and costs are missing.
8. Sewing specifications (may or may not be needed).
The designer is responsible for correcting items 2, 7 and 8. This is not to say the designer is responsible for knowing the answers to those questions but they are responsible for collecting and compiling the information from those who do know. The rest of the changes are executed by the pattern maker. All of these changes will require the pattern to be re-cut but it’ll go faster this time. The changes are easily quantified and it’s about a 4-6 hour job. Had more specific sizing information been available and the sizing was cut correctly, it’d be a 2 hr job at most. This is just one reason why you must be a specific as you can when detailing size specifications. Also, you will need to cut a new sample from the corrected pattern because the changes are too significant to use this sample as the final prototype.
I hope my customer will provide his comments regarding this style as well.
Amended 3/5/2010: My customer is better known today as Mr. Fashion-Incubator. I married him in August 2005