Production pattern making class

[Amended 6/26/2015]

The short version: This one day class is designed for anyone in the process but mostly for designers who may not be doing their own pattern work. It will also be very useful for those who have studied pattern making but do not have industrial experience. Other kinds of training designed specifically to your needs is also available -see this post on rapid product development. Yep, we make it while you wait, soup to nuts.

The focus of the class is everything pattern books don’t tell you. Authors spend a lot of paper and ink teaching you things you’ll rarely if ever do but not the things you should be doing daily. Some of these are mentioned in this entry.

You will learn the standards of production patterns (standards to implement and why), and how to inspect and walk a pattern so you can determine whether the work you’ve paid for is on par. You will leave with a completed production ready pattern and sewn samples made on industrial sewing machines. Basic sewing skills are helpful. If you don’t have my book, you will need to get it as we use it extensively. Depending on interest, classes can be expanded to cover topics of your choosing.

Private instruction is available in our newly expanded Sewing Factory School for a maximum of 15 students but 8-10 is preferred. The class fee for one person is $1500 per day with discounts for 2 or more. For those traveling here (everybody), I can provide comfortable and private accommodations in my 800 sqft guest house for up to 3 people, with breakfast. The guest house has 5 rooms; a bedroom (queen size bed, feather bed in the winter), living room (queen size futon), full kitchen, bath with shower stocked with towels, shampoo, soap etc (photos of accommodations) and a utility room. It’s very private, about 50 yards from any other building on the grounds. Transportation to and from the airport is likely but not guaranteed depending on arrival and departure times.

You will need to comply with the dress code to be let in the plant. If you don’t read that or don’t understand that I do mean *you*, you can’t come in and then everybody else will talk about you, maybe for years. Invoices will not be adjusted for the lost time. Speaking of payment, you need to pay a 50% deposit to guarantee your slot.

Contact me by email or phone (505-877-1713) for more information or see the thread in the forum.

The long version: These classes aren’t scheduled but held by arrangement. Classes are customized so I need to interview people to assess their skills and what they need to get out of it to know whether we’re a match. Content varies but it helps to get the heads up so we’re prepared here. In the case of manufacturers (and or their designers, pattern makers, sample makers), I help them learn the skills their employers want to develop better products. I only do one introductory class (meaning no knowledge prerequisites) for entrepreneurs on production pattern making. That is really all most designers need since they don’t make patterns but I’m flexible.

[Edited 6/26/2015] My seminars and intensive and rigorous, held in 5000 sqft manufacturing facility (410 Old Coors Dr SW, Albuquerque NM 87121). I can house up to 3 people in my guest house but any more than that will need to make their own arrangements; the closest hotel (highly recommended, ignore disparaging reviews by competitors) to the new factory is about half a mile away.

I should explain how my classes are set up. Keep in mind these classes are intensive and rigorous! Even though my shop is fairly large with nice amenities and many machines and tools, I take a maximum of three students but two is best as I provide accommodations and breakfast. Staying on site is preferable as classes are 10 hours or more each day and the closest hotel is 10 miles away and there are few amenities such as restaurants near by. Of course, you’re welcome to make your own accommodations.

I interview prospective students at length by phone to get an idea of their needs, learning styles and personalities. Classes are structured according to student personalities and project needs.

I am strict about grooming products, dressing appropriately and being prepared –no matter who you are!

  • No colognes, perfumes, oils, strong deodorants (AXE makes me ill), scented hairspray, gels or smelly lotions. The guest house is stocked with inoffensive grooming products. I’m serious about this -no scents.
  • Cell phones must be turned off unless someone is on a donor waiting list (you can call on breaks). WIFI and computers available for use.
  • No open toe or open heel shoes. Shoes must be sturdy with a solid heel suitable for standing on concrete all day. NO HEELS.
  • No dangling jewelry or accessories.
  • Hair must be tied back or out of the way.
  • Coffee and breakfast makings are stocked in the guest house.

The seminar training fee is $1500 per day for the first student; discounts for subsequent attendees is possible if only one curriculum is needed (classes are highly customized). Since no two classes are the same, it takes time to write curriculum and have it approved by whoever is paying (employer usually, or student). Goals, tasks, exercises and objectives are fully discussed in advance. Developing curriculum and materials takes at east four hours for every hour of class time so you can understand why I don’t do it until needed. You will need to provide materials for use in curriculum development in advance. This will be discussed beforehand.

I have a guest house I’ve been using for student accommodations as long as no problems arise. You won’t have to rent a car at the Albuquerque airport if you can coordinate arrival and departure times. Officially you have to fend for yourself at dinner (guest house has a full kitchen) but unofficially, we’ve gone out to dinner, gotten carry out etc. Students will need to bring their copy of my book with them because we will be using portions of it, putting it into the context of their growth.

Farm_Cat_headshotSpeaking of the guest house, ours is a rural property. It is not fancy and we have animals. We have 2 medium sized, outdoor dogs. Lately, my dog’s girlfriend (Pearl, a Weimaraner)  has been coming over (hops her fence, then ours) so better figure 3 dogs total. If you do not like animals, they can be penned. Penning is not much of a hardship, the back pasture is about an acre along the easement, making it convenient for them to chase UPS trucks safely. We also have one outdoor cat who comes and goes (and who will try to visit you in the guest house), a friendly boy by the name of Farm Cat. And last but not least, we have 3 hens, 2 pullets and 7 baby chicks. See this if you want to know more about the location.

Below is a list of equipment and amenities of my small sewing factory. I just moved in so I haven’t had time to post photos but I’ll do that soon.

Facilities and equipment

  • 5000 sq ft building
  • WI-FI wireless network
  • 800 sqft guest house for visiting clients

CAD

  • StyleCAD pattern, grading & marking software
  • 4′ X 6′ Accugrid digitizing table
  • 72″ Ioline pen plotter
  • Dual monitor PC workstation

Sewing Machines:

  • Single needle Adler 271-140342 servo
  • Flatlock Merrow Activeseam MB-4DFO servo
  • Needle feed, Juki DLN-9010SH servo
  • Coverstitch 5 thread Kansai WX-8803D servo
  • Buttonhole/Bar tack Siruba BH790 servo
  • Walking foot Juki DNU-1541S servo
  • Overlock, 5 thread safety stitch, Reliable MSK-3316N servo
  • Blind hemmer Consew 817 (clutch)
  • Single needle Mitsubishi DB-170 (clutch)

Misc equipment

  • 2-48 foot cutting tables
  • 2-68″ spreaders
  • button covering machine
  • nail head and snap setting kick press
  • belt and tie turner (production, manual)
  • washer & dryer
  • Alvanon full body form (UK size 12), 2006
  • Alvanon squishy form, US size 10, 2012

Cutting

  • 28 foot, 72″ wide Philocraft table w/rails
  • Eastman Blue Streak 8″ cutting knife
  • Over 200 feet of feedrail
  • 2-68″ spreaders

Pressing

  • 1.5 liter Boiler Iron (Reliable)
  • Blower & vacuum extraction pressing station
  • Sussman gravity feed iron

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28 comments

  1. Theresa Riess says:

    Sigh, I am so envious I almost wish I could start life over again or that I lived closer to El Paso. I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes. Wonderful post on the fashion schools. Had to read all the connecting links. I’m currently enrolled in the local community college taking Pattern Drafting and Clothing Construction. Our Pattern Drafting instructor is a fashion school graduate and was a bridal designer in Europe. Her current full time job is writing aircraft operator’s manuals for the Air Force. We are using the Crawford book and her comments as a professional technical writer are interesting, most having to do with consistency and the ability to clearly explain procedures to beginnners. This is the second year of using Crawford so most of the errors have already surfaced during the last two semesters. She’s thinking about changing to the Armstrong book next year but has not had time to review it and compare the two. Theresa in Tucson

  2. Robyn Ramirez says:

    Omg! I wish I could be a part of the class! Maybe you could do it on skype too so that others (who can’t gay to NM) can pay to see the class.

  3. Million says:

    I can’t afford to take this class right now, but I would love to at some point in the future. I would also like to know the cost of the class so that I can plan accordingly.
    Thank-you!

  4. Kathleen says:

    To everyone who wrote. This is not a virtual class. I just don’t see how that is possible. I can’t check your work. I can’t guide your form. Most people don’t cut correctly so that’s step one.

    Tammy:
    It’s impossible to provide logistics, I don’t know where everyone is coming from. We’d work out accommodations one on one being such a small group. I try to put people together beforehand so they might feel comfortable sharing a room so it’s not as easy as all that. It is at my location in Albuquerque NM; you have to fly in the night before because we start early. Count on at least a ten hour day. You will be standing all day so wear comfortable shoes and nothing fancy that can get caught on machines or get dirty.

    It’s not a several day intensive but one day but that can be expanded IF people who commit to it come to that conclusion -or if two of them do. I can only do an intensive class with two people because “intensive” is not used lightly. Rigorous is more like it. This particular class is intended to focus on production pattern making, the starting point of the class is the chapter in my book. Participants must review that chapter along with the production sewing section before coming to the class. I will speak personally with each person beforehand to make sure the individual is suited for it and has the proper tools. I do have extra tools but need to make sure I have enough.

    The entry was just supposed to be short and informational. People can go to the forum or call me for more information.

  5. Kelley says:

    Hello. I do not have industry experience, but ideas and partial funding for a clothing line that I want to start. I have put together a “prototype” by hand, but quickly realized that I either need to hire a pattern maker or become one. Is this class for someone like me?

  6. AJ says:

    Kathleen, are there any books that you can recommend that even slightly touch on these topics? I have learned patternmaking and draping privately with a dressmaker and then continued my learning by studying 4 of the popular texts. I also attended a certificate college course which got us sewing on industrial machines but unfortunately did not meet my expectations of learning production sewing…though at least I am comfortable with industrials now. On my own I feel confident I can make almost anything and I would really like to approach apparel companies for entry level / assistant patternmaking positions however I lack confidence in my ability to produce patterns that a large company can use. I don’t know what things to consider when producing the production pattern as I have no knowledge of factory methods. I am aware of taking shrink into consideration but to be truthful that is about it. It really is my goal to become a patternmaker and I have done my best to learn given my situation but without a degree I feel that I really need to bring as much as possible to the table in applying for these beginner jobs and a big part of that is being able to produce a pattern that can be used by a large company with very little modifications.

  7. Robyn says:

    I would love to someday take a class with you! I’m glad you’re here in N.M. Since I’m giving birth in a few weeks, who knows when I’ll have time for that, but I’ll definitely be interested in doing it someday, even though I’m not a professional in the industry.

  8. Kristy K says:

    Kathleen- Are you having another one of these classes any time soon? Any other classes on other subjects? Thanks, Kristy

  9. Kathleen says:

    If you’re interested in a class, call me 505-877-1713. These aren’t scheduled, only held by previous arrangement. I don’t do many classes, maybe twice a year. Classes are customized so I need to interview people to assess their skills and what they need to get out of it to know whether we’re a match. Content varies but I don’t do knits beyond the cursory stuff. In the case of manufacturers (and or their designers, pattern makers, sample makers), I help them learn the skills their employers want to develop better products. For example, I’m currently working with a manufacturer of 25 years who makes sportswear but now they want to up their game to produce lined garments. I teach them the pattern and construction skills and how to implement it in an industrial setting. I only do one introductory class for entrepreneurs on production pattern making. That is really all most designers need since they don’t make patterns but I’m flexible.

    I should explain how my classes are set up. I take a maximum of three students but two is best (I had said four but that isn’t good). My classes are small because I can’t do a job I would be proud of otherwise.

    I interview prospective students at length by phone to get an idea of their needs, learning styles and personalities. Then I organize classes according to student personalities, who I think would get along well together because they’ll be working with each other as much as they will with me -and they may even be rooming together.

    I am also strict about dressing appropriately and being prepared:
    No colognes, perfumes or smelly lotions.
    No cell phones unless someone is on a donor waiting list (you can call on breaks).
    No open toed shoes.
    No dangling jewelry or accessories.
    Hair must be tied back or out of the way.
    …and students will have to tolerate vegetarian lunches I provide because we will not leave the job site for meals because it takes too much time away from the class.

    The cost varies on the material, number of days and students. The average cost for a two day class with two students is $800 per person per day. Since no two classes are the same, it takes time to write curriculum and have it approved by whoever is paying (employer usually, or student). Goals, tasks, exercises and objectives are fully discussed in advance. Developing curriculum and materials takes at east four hours for every hour of class time so you can understand why I don’t do it until needed.

    I have a guest house that I’m intending to be used for students but if any problems arise, I probably won’t offer it anymore. You won’t have to rent a car at the Albuquerque airport if students can coordinate to arrive and depart about the same time. If you stay on site, you get breakfast too but have to fend for yourself at dinner. Staying on site is a benefit because you can work in the shop as late as you like -again subject to things not coming up missing etc. The student will have had to have read the book and bring it with them because we will be using portions of it, putting it into the context of their growth. Lastly, nothing around here is fancy and you must like animals who may stop by to visit altho I will pen the dogs if they become a nuisance. Hope that helps.

  10. sarah says:

    I’m saving up…time, mostly! I want to be around for the next class.
    I have plenty of frequent flier miles and LOVE that part of the planet!

  11. Karly says:

    omg, this sounds like heaven, but this would only be for people i’d hire for production? i’d love to come there and spend a couple days learning about how these things work even as a designer…

  12. martina says:

    are you still giving classes ? your last answer was in 2010, that the reason of my question.
    thank you for your attention,
    martina

  13. Kathleen says:

    Yes I’m still doing classes every month. No set schedule, these are set up upon demand. Contact me via my about page or call 505-877-1713.

  14. Kassie says:

    Kathleen, I am interested in taking your class. I don’t know anyone that would go with me as I don’t know many people with the same ambitions. Would I need to wait until one other person decided to take your two or three day class? I am still waiting on my book so I would like to read it first then maybe schedule something late May or June. Either way I would love to call you next week and talk about it if your available. All the best, Kass

  15. mychelle says:

    lol about the scents!! I feel exactly the same way. Your just bold enough to say so. When I first read about dressing like mowing the lawn I thought, “well that leaves me out,I usually dress like that.” Then I continued reading and realized you were refering to people who don’t know how to dress for comfort. btw I’m a pattern maker who designs clothes for comfort.

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