Day 19 – Shirts and deadlines. (A3, B2, C2)

Time is running out. It’s time to make decisions! And work hard.

Chapter 1 – Finishing up!

Closing projects can sometimes be just as difficult as starting them. Actually often just plain hard! It’s not easy to say, this is it! – I’m done. Especially if you are the one making that specific decision.

In tailoring, when you feel that you’re starting to approach the final stitch, it’s actually then it all can becom a bit tricky. At the same time as you have that feeling of soon being ready, there actually are multiple finishing-up things to do, that surprisingly can take hours to get through. All those small “irritating” little details!

But it can also be difficult to let go. You get the feeling that you maybe could have done more. That very feeling can truly be a double-edged sword.

On one side, it keeps you alert! Going through garments thoroughly to look for corrections or mishaps is a good solid and professional routine. But when you start adjusting things that do not need adjusting, you’re on a slippery slope. Time – the hours at hand – can quickly start rushing away uncontrollably.

So make sure you know what your end product should look like, before you start checking the product. Often, a okay is good enough. And especially if you are used to holding a high standard overall.

For me, these were the two shirts I finished up today. Satisfied! Learned a lot. As I always do with each and every product I make. To finish products is an important thing to do, to be able to learn.

Now off to finish up the next two items in the summer 2019 collection – while again using my time weisly. That is, deciding what’s good enough, to still being able to move on.

Chapter 2 – The deadline is closing in. Make a decision!

Today it’s already the 19th day of the Thousand Days Of Hope And Glory project! So that basically tells me that I only have tomorrow, one day, to come up with a solution for keeping the project rolling. A garment. But which one? That decision can be a bit difficult to rush!

Busy as I am right now, I think I can narrow it down to two options. Since I don’t have time to “invent” (create) a compleatly new design, I either make a quick t-shirt – the 6th one – which would give me an additional 4 more days to go on, or, I make a new denim jacket in a different color, which would give me additional 10 days more! But do I have time for making a whole denim jacket? That’s the question!

Do I invest time now, knowing I have other deadlines to reach, to get more elbow room further down the road, or do I make something quicker now, knowing I just pushed the deadline a little tiny bit further in front of me? Work harder now to be awarded later, while walking the thin line, or do the secure and sensible thing now, while still keeping the stressful deadline just in front of me? Getting 10 or 4 days – that’s what I have to decide tomorrow!

One thing is sure though – whichever garment I make, I have to wear it for 100 days. That’s the rule. So it better be comfortable! And hopefully look good too.

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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Why is grading so darn difficult? (Or is it?) Part 1.

Grading. Making garments larger and smaller. The DNA of fashion retail. To fit and please a vast audience of eager consumers, that just can’t wait to get hold of your fantastic designs! But there’s just a problem – they want their size.

It’s purely technical. And mathematical. And therefore the very nightmare of most creative small design-business-owners and their start-ups. Unfortunately the majority of them just surrender before they even produced a single collection – with styles in different sizes that is.

What you usually are forced to do, is sending it all off to a factory somewhere, and hope they’ll get it right. Without your control, often sent back and forth with oddly shaped garments. Or, you simply order already designed and graded garments. And then add your own design flair with… well, a pocket or a color shade maybe. But is that original design? You tell me.

But imagine – just for a second… You have spent all this enormous amount of time designing just that dress. It’s fantastic! You’re very proud, and rightly so. And hey – here comes your first customer! You can’t believe your luck – it’s the very famous [insert your favorite artist’s or politician’s name here]…! Unfortunately he or she is not a model size – ‘coz most people just aren’t. And we’re in a hurry! What can you possibly do?

It’s in these situations, a bit of grading knowledge would go a long way! That is, when personal interaction occur. When exclusive or fashionable clientele starts to ring your doorbell. Or, when your bespoke customer’s friend, that just love the latest garment you made for your customer, also want to order that jacket. In other words, to being able to tweak a design into fitting another person without throwing all of your perfectly balanced detailing out of the window. To not start all over with your whole design process. And to absolutely not randomly just add width “here and there”.

But can’t that just be made with a laptop and some fancy software, you may ask? Well yes – but… we’re not quite there yet. First, if we want to go that way, your designs preferably have to be made within a software. That means no creative draping or shaping! Secondly, there’s the issue of printing the pattern. A4-sheets will not do since it’s such a hazard to assable. (It can be done – but hey! – there’re just so many things that can go wrong with complicated patterns. Or for that sake, just normal patterns! You will need an industrial printer.) And third – there’s the classic issue of cost, availability and knowledge. As we all know, new technology have an annoying tendency to not be cheap. And unfortunately, the hard- and software changes all the time.

So, what am I getting at? Well, let me tell you. Just that simplicity can go a very, very long way! And also be super-effective! With some basic knowledge of manual grading your pattern’s main parts could be graded in a day or so. All done! And then you can enjoy a well-shaped garment on your favorite customer! Just a pocket-calculator, a ruler, some paper, a pencil and you’re all set to go! To transform your award-winning designs into new personal sizes! That’s my point.

Let’s not surrender to badly shaped garments from huge companies! Let’s instead make and grade our own! Let’s learn about personal shaping! It’s not all that difficult. Just give it a try! You won’t regret it.

– Sten Martin / DTTA

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