Once the design of a garment has been completed and the pattern has been finalized for proper fit, it is then optimized for the production process to reduce waste and streamline the construction procedure. At this point the pattern undergoes grading. This is the process of turning the size in which the garment was designed (usually a medium) into the full range of sizes offered.

In the meantime the fabric has been tested to determine exactly how much it shrinks in both length and width after being washed and dried. A shrinkage allowance is then incorporated into the pattern so that the garment once sewn and laundered will be the correct size. This is a time consuming process, but since natural fibers are inherently so variable it’s essential to ensure the garment will be sized correctly. If you’ve ever purchased a linen garment only to have it shrink three inches in length and no longer fit you as it did when you first tried it on, you will understand why this step is essential!

Next comes the cut and sew process. A marker is created (a layout each of the pattern pieces in the needed number of sizes). The fabric is then rolled out on a cutting table in the required number of layers (plys), the marker is laid down on it and the multiple plys of the individual pieces are cut from the cloth.  

Then bundling, where the pieces of each garment are sorted into a bundle, and off to the sewing machine! Each step in the sewing process is laid out in predetermined order according to ease of assembly, which type of machine or thread is needed for various operations, etc., this is another bit of engineering in itself.  Once the garment is completed, it is inspected for any flaws, loose threads are clipped, and it is washed and dried. It is then inspected again, steamed and packed for shipping to you!


anna elmore

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