garments in the studio

the design process

I find inspiration in textiles, in the ways and moods in which I dress myself, in the colors and textures I see around me, and in my love of small details; a ruffle added to a hemline, shell buttons, a contrasting trim, the things that make me smile.

After the initial idea, I sketch my designs (my life is chock full of notebooks and scraps of paper!) and then move on to manipulating the textiles that attract me,  draping fabrics and drafting prototypes until I have captured the look I am after.

Then the iterations begin. This involves the technical process of fine tuning the pattern and fitting the design to the body so it wears comfortably, provides a good range of motion, is judicious in use of fabric, has pockets if feasible, and more. All the attributes a perfect garment should possess. This part of the process is engineering; translating a flat sketch into a three dimensional product that fits a moving body. It is an endlessly fascinating challenge to me, and one of my favorite parts of the design process.

fabric layout before cutting

the production process

Once a pattern has been finalized for proper fit, it is then optimized for the production process to reduce waste and simplify the construction procedure. Once complete, the pattern undergoes grading which 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 is shrink tested to determine how much it shrinks in both length and width once washed and dried. A shrinkage allowance is then incorporated into the pattern so that the garment once sewn and laundered will be the intended 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 come close to fitting you as it did when you first tried it on, you will understand!

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

Then bundling, where the constituent 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.

goddess gear sewing studio

the big picture

Goddess Gear is small but mighty! When I stop to think of all that I accomplish daily as a solo business owner and have learned through the years I am overwhelmed and humbled. I do the sourcing, design, pattern making, samples,  prototypes, sales, marketing, and customer service here at Goddess Gear. But there are so many more talented hands that bring our garments to life. The textile designers,  the farmers that raise the crops that become the textiles, the weavers and knitters at the mills where the fabrics are produced, the dyers, those that inspect and package and ship the textiles.  Nothing happens in this world without cooperation, we are all connected in so many ways, and I work every day to make Goddess Gear a positive part of that web.

Closer to home, those that digitize my patterns and create the markers, (an entire skill set of its own btw), the fiercely talented local seamstresses and sewing shop owner without whom nothing would happen. It is truly impossible to run a business like mine without the talent, kindness, skill, attention to detail and awe inspiring work ethic of those I am surrounded and supported by. This is my passion, and I work with those who have the same dream for their businesses, to support themselves, their families and their communities by doing good work, paying their employees well and treating them with respect, and lifting each other up every step of the way.

And last, but absolutely not least, you my cherished customers, who make all of this possible. Thank you for being here and supporting my dream!