I recently made a mock up of a blouse for my fashion course….(I did it today, okay, last minute over here). I hit so many dead ends and came to the realization how important measurements, patterns, mock ups, work space and time are all extremely important when it comes to designing and being a seamstress. I don’t have a work station, I don’t have a table set up where I keep all my sewing materials, my sewing machine, fabrics etc. I used to when I was a little girl and it gave my inspiration, I hung pictures all over the basement wall to look at and it was just my space. Since moving several times over and not having any real space for myself, then having a baby, this sort of thing takes the back burner at times, and for me it has been on the back burner long enough. When we move as a family, (hopefully soon), having a work space is going to be important! I had to do all my cutting with paper scissors because I misplaced my fabric ones in some box in my closet, most of my pins, needles, chalk, and other bits and bobs for sewing are in the attic in boxes, all because I just don’t have the space here and am waiting until we move. I did all the work on my bed, which made for a poor hand to mark and cut my pattern on both paper and muslin. So I ended up having to rely on good old tape….which is never a good idea. Also mix a one year old reaching on the bed and trying to grab everything off!! I had to throw him my scraps to keep him occupied!
Now I already had done the design of the blouse, calculated the measurements and started the pattern making process months ago, but had to put it all on hold because for different reasons and now I have only a week left to accomplish this certificate course! So I really want to get all the work done, but I also don’t have a lot of time.
Anyways back to the actual blouse. So this is not what my actual design is since I do not wish to reveal it because it will be apart of my clothing line in the future. However it is quite similar and most blouses are pretty basic in design and cut. I left it in muslin because I have yet to decided what fabric to use for my design.
I messed up on some of the measurements when making the paper pattern, I referred to a blouse I own that would be similar in cut in some aspects and tried to follow that pattern. Worked out much better and I was better with the muslin than paper. I don’t know how that will fair in the future but I do know that accurate measurements are important, they will affect the outcome and pattern, but also you cannot get the accurate measurements and cut the pattern so if you aren’t working on a sturdy surface.
It took me almost two hours to do what I did today and that wasn’t even with sewing, which would take me about another two hours probably, plus the designs I am going to include in the actual blouse will take me several hours at least. I am estimating that my total work time would be between 8 and 10 hours. I am charging $12.50 an hour for my work. My material costs would be $13 for fabric, because all I need is a yard for one blouse, $0.50 for the use of thread, and $2.00 for buttons. Total of $15.50. Total production cost would be $115.50. If I want a 20% profit, $23.00, then retail price would be $138.50. To me this is too much so I will need to cut down on my production hours, especially if I am to make a mass amount and not just one.
So as you can tell all of this works together. You need a good, sturdy work space and time to make measurements and cut the pattern out, and you need a good pattern for a final product. Your work time will effect your pay and retail price of product and if you are taking too long and charging too much for something that is half assessed and not very good because your pattern wasn’t good, no one will purchase your product.
Hope this helps anyone who was even just a little curious, helped me with knowing what I need to change in my process and what I need to improve on.