Welcome to Fashion-Incubator, the comprehensive skills and information encyclopedia for apparel manufacturers on the web with half a million visitors every month. I am your hostess and editor, Kathleen Fasanella. With the exception of the occasional guest post, I write nearly all of the content on Fashion-Incubator.com. I also host its adjunct, the largest private forum for apparel manufacturers on the web.

I started production patternmaking in 1981. Starting in 1993, I began providing consulting and engineering services to manufacturers, small companies, and start ups with an emphasis on developing owner-operator domestic cut and sew operations. I offer pattern and prototyping services (StyleCAD) to include digitizing of existing styles, grading, and marking. I specialize in sizing development and production consulting. We also offer production cutting, sewing services and training (if you want to open your own factory) from our new 5,000 sqft fully equipped sewing factory –The Sewing Factory School.

Entrepreneur's Guide CoverI’m the author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing, the most highly rated book of any topic in the garment industry. I’ve been mentioned numerous times in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, National Public Radio, Boston Globe, LA Times, Vogue, French Vogue and have at least 15 Project Runway alums at last count. Se habla Español.

Suits, coats, outerwear, menswear, leather and complex sewn utility products. Knowledgeable in CPSIA, sustainability and compliance issues. I specialize in solving a broad range of problems for apparel manufacturers to include sizing difficulties, training of sewing operators and pattern makers at your location or mine. I also provide master classes for professionals and professors. I speak Spanish with native fluency.

El Centro, Dallas County Community College. Pattern Design
University of Texas at Austin: Economics, Spanish and Latin American Studies.

I’m the best kept garment industry secret in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA where I live with my husband, adult (disabled) son, two and half dogs, five cats and twelve chickens.

Affiliations: Member AAFA, ASTM, SME and ITAA.

Kathleen Fasanella
Apparel Technical Svcs
The Sewing Factory School
410 Old Coors Dr. SW
Albuquerque NM 87121
T: 505-877-1713
C: 575-635-8131
Email Me

Click here for information on how to make the most of this site. The site features a variety of guest authors (feel free to volunteer). In the past, Zoe Hong, Mike Cerny and Miracle Wanzo have blogged here.  Stuart Friedberg continues to write about technical matters. I also have another blog where I write about sizing -specifically the myth of vanity sizing.

Update: Since commenting has been enabled on this page, I’ve received numerous requests for information on how to start a clothing line. My advice is to read The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing and then to join our forum. Of course I’m amenable to consulting, please see details on services I provide. As far as I know, mine is the only facility in the world that provides pattern, cutting and sewing services while you wait. Seeing how all the pieces of manufacturing fit together, in real time, provides inestimable value.

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  1. Hello,
    I am needing some advice on how to grow my business. I see other handmade shops with the same designs making 100s of the same product and selling them. I cannot manufacture large enough quantities and would like to get noticed for my designs as well. Looking for some info, thank you!


  2. Karen Welton says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    I am in the process of opening a start-up and the major glitch I have come into is finding a skilled pattern maker. I have gone through 5 now, and countless samples and tons of money. I am very very close to having my designs perfected, but it seems like I make 1 step ahead and 3 steps back. Even though they tell you that they have training and experience in the field, until I get samples back, I realize if they can walk the walk they are talking!! I am in Canada. Do you have any insight/advice?


    • Avatar photo

      This problem seems to be worse than ever. With the dramatic increase in fashion school enrollment and decreasing job opportunities, those grads need to make money somehow. And they’re not even being patently dishonest; they think they know or they’re padding their resumes the way they think everyone else does.

      My standard response is, join the forum. It is the only confidential and qualified entity of its kind. Members can help you determine a candidate’s suitability for your job. We know who is any good and warn you against some notably bad players.

      Social media has become largely useless and even the press is perilously misleading. Case in point, one newspaper featured a domestic manufacturing broker. I thought the business looked great and even planned to contact them. I’ve since discovered that the company is not just incompetent but possibly, fraudulently and grossly incompetent, certainly worthy of filing suit against them. I’d be shocked if the firm wasn’t judged against.

  3. AudreL Davis-Jones says:

    Hello Kathleen, I just recently came across fashion incubator, I am so happy. I am a designer in West Palm Beach FL, and is in the process if designing an urban wear line. I am interested in learning more how to refine my pattern and the process of manufacturing the line myself vs. Sewing contractors.

  4. Frankie Lyne says:

    Hi Kathleen, I was recently sourcing contacts for manufacturing materials and production and I come across your page. I am based in London, UK. Do you have any advice on where to source the right manufacture for a Men’s clothing line for materials and production?
    Kind Regards, Frankie

    • Avatar photo

      We cannot make public referrals. If we did, the site would become a magnet for ads from businesses that we have no way of vetting. Also, visitors would likely get burnt and then I’d hear about it. I know because this is how it used to be. I can only suggest that you join our forum and get recommendations from other members who are in your area and in a better position to know. Good luck.

  5. Adebanke Odukale says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    I was absolutely excited when I came across your page and it was a God sent answer to all my questions on garment production.I am a fashion designer in lagos Nigeria with interest in garment production.I tried to order your book on Amazon but unfortunately Amazon would not ship to my country.I will really appreciate if you can consult for my company especially in the areas of Stylecad,grading and marking.
    How can I get to buy your book as well.

  6. Desiree Clark says:

    hi im starting a clothing line I have all my drawings and patterns that I want to use my only problem is Im having a hard time finding some one who can make them for me I came across your web site and notice you wasn’t to far from me I am currently in the military and I am stationed at fort bliss in el paso, tx I was wondering could you help me with any advice on what to do.

  7. Cindy says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    So glad I came to your website. I am currently on the verge of opening my own t-shirt company for women. I have a very specific style of T-shirts in mind – rolled cuffs, curved bottom, crew neck, a tad longer and looser etc. I have ordered your book and cannot wait to get my hands on it! In the meantime, after reading through some of your writings on your site, I am under the impression that I would be best off working with a pattern maker to create the exact style/design of what I’m looking for. And if I’ve chosen the right pattern maker, hopefully with their repertoire of contacts, they would be able to recommend some contractors who can work with my design? I know absolutely nothing about fashion manufacturing so forgive me if my question is an awfully silly one.

    Thanks in advance.

    Warm regards,

  8. Amber says:

    I have no idea who you are but I am in L O V E !! I found you on an old forum where you were answering someone’s question on. Different site. Saw your website info and thought I would be the curious entrepreneur I am and check it out. Located in the Seattle area of Wa state – I am considering a partnership ( sole proprietorship within 2-4 yearsof the establishment )) of the local alteration & dressmaking shop. Not sure what your site will do forums yet , but I’m excited to just scroll through and browse your posts !! Xx

  9. Suzanaha Augusto says:

    Hi K
    Doing my Bachelors and Masters in Fashion Design so i can lecture full time
    My research is based on manual pattern making versus computer pattern making. Also. Garment construction. From sample to mass production
    Im at present on a floor. With 150 staff producing garments to chain stores. This is where im finding issues with patterns and samples . pls help with further info.
    Thank you

    • kathleen says:

      What further info do you need? There are nearly 3000 posts on this site; I’m guessing you will find useful topics here.

  10. Judy Reginaldi says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    About 2 years ago I stumbled across an online article written by you concerning the ease of sleeve caps. It was truly an eyeopener for me. In the article there were line drawings showing how a sleeve should be altered to better fit the body. My question is, once the sleeve is altered, mustn’t the bodice also be altered? And is so, how is that done? I realize you are not a sewing teacher, but I would greatly appreciate knowing how do do this and also, is this just for suits, or any garment with a set in sleeve?
    Thank you so much.
    Judy Reginaldi

    • Avatar photo

      Yes, it is critical that the armhole shape be congruent with the sleeve. In the book I wrote, it shows how the armhole should be shaped. If you don’t have it, can you borrow a copy? It is in the chapter entitled _Fundamentals of Fitting: Torso_, pp163-169.

      I do teach [industrial] sewing but pattern adjustment is pattern work rather than sewing. I do teach that as well but it is not something so easily done except live. Or, at least I do not know how to teach it that way.

      I make the pattern adjustments for nearly every type of garment. However, we don’t make every garment type in my factory but mostly higher end items. HTH

  11. Laketta says:

    Hello Kathleen, I’m a nurse from Michigan trying to start a line of medical scrubs. I have several designs drawn up, but no clue on where find sewing contractor and manufactures.

  12. Sasikala says:

    ThreadCALC is an online Sewing Thread Consumption and Costing service providing the much needed accurate thread consumption for garments of various styles. It will help in reducing the cost of the garment which directly converts into the added profit per garment. The application helps to save up-to 35% in thread consumption. You may be a big or small manufacturer. You can predict accurate thread consumption and turn it into your Direct Profit.

  13. Maria Kessler says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    I came across your website and think you give wonderful advice! I’m researching information about manufacturing kids’ bedding and was wondering if your book would be useful. Also, are there any links or other info on your website that you can point me to that is relevant to bedding? Thank you!

  14. Virginia Bergvall says:

    I’m not about to start a business at my age, but I’ve been doing some alterations since I retired. Most of the time, I’ve been sort of flying by the seat of my pants and hope it turns out OK. Mostly I’m trying to sew for myself but I’m having such trouble with trying to fit myself by myself. And I’m always open to learning new and different ways of doing things. I love to sew, but it gets so frustrating when it doesn’t fit right or look as good as I think it’s supposed to.
    I just found your site and have been reading for the past couple of hours. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more. Thank you!!

  15. Ali says:

    Hi Kathleen! I’m looking for a pattern maker & a factory with low MOQ to manufacture a swimsuit collection. Can you be of any assistance or steer me in the right direction? Any help would be much appreciated!

  16. Anjum says:

    Hi Kathleen!
    I’m so happy to have come across your website. I have been wanting to get women’s shirts manufactured. I have no experience in this field but am always itching to see how my ideas would look. I’m wondering what my starting point should be to work with you. I’m based in Canada. Thank you!

  17. Amandeep kaur says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    I came across your website and think you give wonderful advice! I’m researching information about manufacturing and merchandising .Actually need your help in my theses work please reply .

  18. sara says:

    I am a grade 10 student that is doing a personal project of my own clothing line, I am actually looking for great sources that are helpful for my research. I looked into your website and found it very interesting, I was just wondering if I could ask your company a few questions or if it is possible, you could give me your opinions about few things about clothes and fashion so it would help me for my project. If it is possible, can you give me a response, thank you very much and I appreciate it

  19. Janet Pirela says:

    Hi Kathleen,
    It was from a Zoe Hong youtube that I learned of you. I just finished watching How to Get Factories to Take You Seriously – very informative and helpful. With that said, I like to know if you would be interested in taking on a project. I am hopeful – thank you for your time!

  20. Mary says:

    Hi Kathleen. I have been around the sewing industry for a looooong time now. I used to have a sewing site online . You and I used to chat once in a while. My name is Mary and I think the industry is lucky to have you still doing what you do best. Love your content, love your attitude.

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