You are studying a fashion related course higher education or degree. You have reached the stage where you need to seek professional help outside of college/university to complete a project and you are looking for a fashion studio/manufacturer to help.
What You Need To Know.
There are many different providers who can help you to complete your project. You can find freelancers, studios or manufacturers that may be able to help and can make patterns, toiles and samples for you.
It's important to find the right fashion provider, so ask them whether they can help you achieve what it is you seek from the beginning.
Just because a fashion studio can make patterns and samples, it does not mean that they can help you. They may not have the expertise in-house to create the garments you require. For example; lingerie may not be able to be made by clothing manufacturers.
Manage Your Expectations.
1. Draped garments
As a fashion student, you may be working in a very creative way where you may have a draped garment that you need to transfer into a pattern. You may think that because you are taking it to a professional they will be able to transfer it in a very short amount of time, but this is not necessarily true.
A professional fashion provider will have a good amount of knowledge about how to deliver work to a high standard. They may also be quicker than you, but it is important to note that fashion production by way of pattern cutting, toiling and sampling is a very time consuming.
If you do take a creative drape or incomplete patterns to a fashion provider it will take them time to understand, fix and/or complete your work.
If you have started making patterns that you would like to get finished or fixed by a fashion provider you and those patterns do not have grainlines, notches or seam allowances it may make it difficult to be helped.
Sometimes badly made patterns are unable to be rectified and it may be better to start again. If your fashion provider does suggest that they may need to start again, it is very possible that they know from experience that this is the most efficient way to help you.
Issues that may make your patterns difficult for a fashion provider to work with:
Missing seam allowances
Seams that are not the same lengths (e.g. inside trouser leg)
Missing pattern pieces
Unclear pattern labelling
If you are only seeking a fashion provider to making samples for you and you are presenting them with patterns that you have made already, it is important that the patterns are complete to prevent the following issues from occurring:
Problems with cutting fabric (e.g. no granlines, will make it almost impossible to cut)
Not Knowing many pieces and in what fabric need to be cut
Seams sewing together correctly
Where interfacing, trims and components will be used (unclear pattern labelling will make it difficult to know, what goes where?)
Understanding what length zip (if applicable) is to be used
What finishings should be used
4. How A Fashion Provider May Work?
Below are a list of steps that a fashion provider may take to complete your garment, if you were to start at the beginning (giving them your design/technical drawing):
Re-toiling (If 1st fitting goes well, there may no need to re-toile.)
Pattern finalisation (considering everything is fine at this point.)
Cutting out and preparing final fabric to make sample
Please note; the more information you provide your fashion studio/manufacturer with the better. If you do not provide as much information as possible, your garment may not turn out how you imagined it would.
What Is Your Budget?
Patterns and samples can take a long time to complete, because it is a very labour intensive discipline. You can learn more about quotes in our post "The Cheapest Quote."
You should be aware that it may not be possible for your fashion provider to tell you how long it will take, and how much it will cost to complete your work before they have started.
Every job is not the same, and each job has so many variables and therefore your provider may not know.
If you were to get a pattern made with a toile and it takes 25hours to complete then that's how long it takes. You should be prepared for this and be sure that you can afford this before you seek help.
A lot of fashion studios/manufacturers are more than happy to help students with their work and will do their best to support them.
However, you need to allow enough time to get your work done. It may not be possible to approach your provider on the Monday and get your garment finished by the Friday. There may be many reasons as to why, but it's an important point to note.
Hopefully we have given you enough information to help you along your journey. Please tell us your experience and comment below.