A major challenge in getting a design made is finding the right pattern maker. This person has to take my scribbles, pictures, sketches and examples from this and that and put them all together for a pattern that will make the final design, with all the desired details. On top of that, that pattern maker needs to make sure it will fit well for whatever sample size was desired.
I started out with a guy that was recommended, although he is based in NY and I am not. I was skeptical as we would be doing this via mail and phone conversations. I sent him a box full of notes, pictures, examples, fabric, etc. My first prototype back was nice quality, but the overall fit was comical. It wasn't cry-worthy, I had done my research and knew it would take several attempts, but the fit was so off I had to wonder if he even looked at the item I sent for a fit comparison.
In any case, not expecting perfection the first go round, I felt I had to give him a chance to follow up with a second try. I sent him notes and pictures with notes and tagged specific areas of the prototypes with more notes. MANY weeks later, after many emails and phone calls (from me), I finally got the second prototype. The fit was better, it seemed okay, but the lack of communication and the length of time it took to finish threw me completely off kilter and I knew I couldn't move forward with him. I needed to find someone I could speak to in person.
I did more research, narrowed down my options, weighed multiple quotes against pros and cons and finally settled on Good Clothing Company in Fall River. I took all my notes, pictures, examples, and fabrics to the lead pattern maker, Katie, and we sat down for a discussion. I left thinking, well, we'll see. She makes the pattern, and then their seamstress takes that information and sews the pieces together. A few weeks later we scheduled a fitting. The prototype was very close and I was completely relieved. There were a few tweaks and adjustments, but overall, we were getting somewhere! I even said, let's go forward with the the second design!
At this point, the patterns are done and graded for size. Next up, the size samples will be made so I can do some market testing. I'm excited to have a variety of people try on the shirts and give me feedback, the good, the bad and the ugly!