Patterns in the middle of nowhere

I’m going on a road trip today, traipsing across the great state of New Mexico. For those who don’t know, that’s where I live (Las Cruces). I’m going to -finally- meet my cyber pattern colleague Sally who lives in Estancia NM; we’ve been chatting for several years now. By the way, I do get a measure of satisfaction in knowing that one does not need to live in a fashion mecca in order to make a go of apparel manufacturing. I don’t think it is any secret that manufacturing will continue to disperse from traditional fashion centers. The latter is both good and bad news. Good in that DEs (designer-entrepreneurs) are providing meaningful jobs within their communities -usually in smaller towns and cities across the US and Canada- and negative in that the dispersal of manufacturing contributes to continuing fragmentation in the sewn products business. Old timers in the business are always surprised to know where I live -heck, when I wrote my book from Fort Stanton NM (so tiny it’s not even on this map), I was so remote that I didn’t even have an address! To affect telephone installation, I had to use a made up address in Capitan which was 15 miles away.

Likewise, Sally qualifies as remote. That said, she has a Gerber Accumark and with an internet connection and daily UPS delivery so she has no problem sending patterns anywhere in the world (Sally was born and raised in New York city). That’s what we’ll be talking about today, patterns. We’re thinking of starting an industrial pattern product line that DEs could buy to jump start their product lines. The advantages would be great quality patterns that sew up correctly, fit real people (with real sizes), no licensing or royalty fees and they’re designed to be sewn with industrial methods having the correct seam allowances and markings. Similarly, DEs could use these patterns as the basis of product development, in other words, block patterns. Likewise, any industrial pattern maker could participate in the project since we all specialize in different kinds of products and markets anyway; I’d just set up the central pattern library through which all the patterns would be sold (if you’re an industrial pattern maker and would be interested in selling patterns, email me). By the way, all patterns will be vetted and tested through sampling so we’ll eliminate patterns that won’t walk together to eliminate bogus sewing ease you see masquerading as “couture fit” typical of home sewing patterns. Just imagine, no easing in of princess line bust seams and sleeve caps -whadda concept! Accordingly, these would sew up a lot faster too. What do you think of the idea?

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  1. christy fisher says:

    I am so glad you are working on that!
    I have been tossing around that idea for awhile (after watching the success of a few independent pattern companies), but do not have the time at this point to dive in!
    I am also in “tinytown” (Jerome, AZ- pop.450)
    but come from various city backgrounds (Tampa, Boston, LA)
    GREAT to see you 2 working together on this! PLEASE keep me posted!
    One idea to consider (how selfish of me)…
    If possible, can these patterns also be sent in dxf or pdf formats (such as to a: save on printing charges
    b: be used as modules for those of us who have CAD programs?
    ooooo I am happy, happy.
    Hope to meet you both one day.

  2. David says:

    Not only does Las Cruces boast having the best instructional patternmaker/educator/DE authority, but I have just recently learned that your town also holds the Guinness record for making the world’s biggest enchilada . Yes, your town was featured on the Food Network’s “Unwrapped” program,and this enchilada fed 5,000 people. Where did they all come from ?


  3. Sally Beers says:

    On the way from our rendevous point in Mountainaire we had to round up a cow with our cars and a passerby motorcycle. We work remotely here in the high desert. Kathleen is such a wealth of info. Not sure if we cab stop talking about pattern making. Hi, I’m Sally.

  4. Christy Fisher says:

    You are in a lovely area of the US !
    I almost bought a house in Madrid (near Cerillos)..!
    I am soooo glad you 2 got together- and the cow got home safely!
    On the patternmaking/CAD subject:
    Tukatech now has monthly rentals on their CAD systems via the internet ( OR even DEs can afford to learn a CAD program (pretty much mandtory if you wind up working for a large company as a designer)

  5. Kathleen says:

    Hi everybody. Now we’re playing with Firefox, everybody should get that; there’s really no better way to surf. On our drive here from “town” (mountainaire), Sally was cattle herding with her subaru WRX. She and a motorcyclist. That cow did not want to get out of the road to let anybody by. I took a picture of it (I’m sure you’re waiting with bated breath for pictures of the cow). She also buys her clothes at the thrift store like me. Pattern makers are definitely a breed apart, no? I’ll be home tomorrow.

  6. jinjer says:

    Definitely valuable. I don’t know if you’d be willing to do this, but one thing that would be SUPER valuable would be to give more info in the pattern abut where and how much ease is included. extra lines might be anathema, but a trace of a no-ease fitting shell for the “fit model” (whether she’s real or digital)
    would help me
    a) change the fit to my fit model and
    b) understand ease (which is difficult for me).

    Oh, and OHMYGOD it would be so awesome if we could all physically meet. Can we have a convention pleasepleaseplease?

  7. Carol says:

    Most of what I do is non-standard pattern workups and prototypes for industrial production.

    What would be most useful for me would be specifics on what industrial machines do, how to fake the assembly through construction specifics with home machines/attachments, and the pattern seam allowances needed, as you’ve been doing in the excellent tutorials.

    I would certainly be interested in buying CDs or DVDs of the above.

    The pattern blocks for standard sizing, including blouse/tunic/dress specifics by cup size, would be more salable for most DEs, I’d guess.

    I have never been able to understand the concept of easing a princess seam. What a recipe for failure!

    Sally, how about your bio? Cow-herding photos optional but definitely desirable.

  8. Sally and me

    I’d meant to continue my post about my road trip last weekend (patterns in the middle of nowhere) but this week’s been too hectic. I figure Saturday is a better day for casual posting anyway. As I’d mentioned last Friday,…

  9. Carol in Denver says:

    Sounds like a great idea to me, but I’m not a DE. Why not design patterns for home sewing practioners? I’d like to see what a really well-crafted patterns is like, or can you recommend any that are available to home sewers? Thanks for your great blog. Carol

  10. Kathleen G says:

    That would be awesome! Great idea!
    My biggest concern as a start up business is getting proper block patterns made. Due to my lack of sewing ability, I plan on paying someone to do this and I would feel more confident if the pattern was already vetted and tested before making the sample.
    I look forward to hearing when this might become a reality…

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