Gary Trent Jr may be traded by Portland’s Blazers to Toronto’s Raptors, but that doesn’t stop Lake Oswego-based designer Charlie Ryan from designing for him. “I’m still going to be doing the same thing for him,” Ryan says, “but now a different audience will see the clothes so I’ll get to reach a new market outside of Portland.”
Ryan attended Portland Fashion Institute while in his senior year at Lake Oswego High School. His clothing concepts won him a scholarship at PFI and a fashion show at Fade to Light. This experience won him a full fashion design scholarship at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia.
To see his latest designs, visit @chuckslab or @portlandfashioninsitute on Instagram.
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The steps to making something you love that also sells are simple and finite. If it makes you a living. Wow! You’ve done it. Here are the six simple steps to get you there:
Research + Inspiration = product that’s in demand.
Develop strategies to get the right merchandise at the right price at the right time in the right amount to the right locations to meet the wants and needs of the target customer
No style or group of styles can be considered fashion unless they are accepted and bought by the public.
Research who will buy it:
• Who is your public (target market)?
• What do they need?
• How much are they willing to spend?
• Where do they buy?
Research what they will buy:
• What’s on the streets?
• What do trend reports say?
• Shop! What are others selling?
• How are they merchandising it?
• How are they pricing it?
• What are they missing?
• Where do you fit in?
Decide the best time of the year to start selling your items.
Research your Brand & create a marketing plan
• Who are you?
• What do you plan to offer
• How are you positioned
• How do you differ from others
ª What is your name/logo/look
Success depends on developing and maintaining a line based on the market niche
Decide on your:
• Colors and values
• Fabrics and textures
• Shapes (line, balance, proportion) = sizes
• Sketch 24. Edit.
• Draw 12. Edit.
• Illustrate 6 cohesive garments that represent your brand.
This is your line — for a season.
3. Make Patterns
• Set pattern standards
• Write prototype garment spec sheets
• Make first patterns
• Source your fabrics & trims
• Sew prototypes
• Fit then alter your patterns.
• Sew your samples
Calculate preliminary costs and pricing strategy
4. Take Sales and Orders
• Prepare your sales materials — whether you are selling wholesale or direct to consumer online through your website.
• Take orders. TIP: Give discounts for pre-packs.
• Grade your pattern sizes based on those orders.
• Plan fabric usage. Set up a marker to prevent waste.
• Order your wholesale fabrics and trims.
5. Cut Make Trim
• Produce only those garments that get enough orders.
• Use a professional production house.
• Do quality checks.
• Deliver what the buyer ordered — when and how they want it delivered.
• Get paid!
• Follow up with your buyers. Take notes. Adjust. This is your core market research for your next season.
Get started on the next season, if you haven’t already.
You too could be the next Chanel — only better because it is you!
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Here you are pressing a sleeve flat — only to press in wrinkles on the other side. Ever wish you had something you could stick down that sleeve or pants leg to isolate your pressing? Here it is. It’s called a seam roll and now you have a pattern — for free from PFI!
You can also:
— Prevent making impression marks from the edges of a seam allowance on right side of fabric.
— Press sleeve seams without creating a center crease.
— Pant legs and other hard to reach areas
Press as you sew for a professional finish
Use cotton side for cotton and linen. Use the wool side for wool so it doesn’t flatten and get shiny.
Enjoy and remember #sewingismysuperpower
Let’s think about why shaping the shoulder is important. A well-made sleeve cap is a thing of beauty in itself. And it boosts the appearance of the wearer. You are making the jacket, not buying it off the shelf. That means you can control how flattering the jacket is to you – or your client.A jacket sleeve should extend ½” from the shoulder tip, then fall straight down. This puts your shoulders in proper proportion to your neck, head and the rest of your body.Plus, it’s good camouflage! If you’re like me, your shoulders are sloped from spending hours at the sewing machine, then hours at the computer swapping e-mails about sewing. The right size and thickness in the shape squares up the shoulders and hides the roundness at the top of the arm.It also helps to hide if one shoulder is higher than the other. I call this the “books, bags and babies” syndrome. A shape can balance the height.If you practice yoga or lift weights, you still need a shape to support the sleeve cap and seam. You just need less.
Please use this form to turn in notes on the instructions and the pattern itself. This also helps us
double check areas of the pattern that are the most prone to containing mistakes. Once we
receive this form from you, we’ll send your gift card and, when it’s ready, your updated copy of
Enjoying our 1-minute tutorials on Instagram @portlandfashioninstitute? Wish you know more about which elastic to use where? Here is the inside story about stretchy things.
Most elastics are made from a rubber-core yarn covered with cotton, synthetic or a blend of fibers. They may occur as a single yarn or as several yarns braided or woven together. Be sure to check the content when buying. Avoid acetate elastic. It quickly loses its spring.
Single yarn (elastic thread) – Used for hatbands, button loops, shirring (as in shirring elastic for smocking, waistbands and café curtains.)
Braided – Identified by the lengthwise, parallel ridges that give these elastics a strong grip. Braided narrows when stretched. Use for casings rather than for stitching to a garment. Great for mask-making.
Braided – Chlorine-treated for swimwear. Retains shape well. NOTE: Don’t use elastics with rayon for swimwear. It stretches and loses its shape when wet!
Woven (Knit) – Softer and easier to work with. It retains its width and curls less than braided so it’s easy to stitch it to the garment. Other types of woven elastic: Buttonhole (to allow growth in kid’s clothes), Drawstring (for men’s swimwear), Foldover (for performance).
Picot – Woven/knit elastic with a scalloped edge. Stitch to tricot, knits or silk to make a waistband for half-slips and other lingerie. Choose plush for bras; it has a soft, brushed side that is kind to the skin.
Non-roll – Has vertical ribs to keep it from bending in half. But when it bends, the crease is permanent. Has less stretch than Braided or woven. Use only in casings. Best for children’s wear when the waist and hip measurements do not differ much.
Shock cord – A round or oval covered elastic cord used in casings for the hood, waistband or bottom band in outerwear. Other elastics for outerwear and activewear include foldover and binding.
Clear elastic – The latest from the garment industry. You can stretch it to 3x its length and it retains its spring for years. You can zigzag it on. You can serge it, cut the edge and it won’t unravel. Use it to ease in the sleeve cap for heavier fabrics, in hems for push-up sleeves and in swimwear. Use it for shoulder seams and behind buttons and buttonholes in knits.
Put your newfound elastic knowledge to use in one of PFI’s sewing class: Beginning Sewing, Apparel Construction, Lingerie. We’ll show you the right way to sew it. Find out who invented elastic, who was first to use it in clothes and when. Hint: It replaced whalebone corsets!
Need to pick up a few yards? We have what you need at PFI Supply, right next to the PFI school. Order yours here.
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We all have a basic sewing kit: Tape measure, seam gauge, chalk pencil and marking pen, glass head pins with pin cushion and, yes, a seam ripper.
But there are some tools I have in my top drawer next to my sewing machine because I use them all the time. The first four give that special finishing touch that take my garments a step up to a professional look. My number one is like my right hand. I can’t live without it.
I joke about these five favorite notions so much that one of my students said, “You should write an article.” So here goes:
#5 – Fray Check. Also known as seam sealant. Put a line of it on the back of your buttonholes before cutting them and you will indeed keep the cut from fraying. Also use it to secure serged ends, such as the corners of napkins. Sergers can’t backstitch. So think of Fray Check as a substitute. I’ve washed my napkins dozens of times and the corners still hold.
#4 – Buttonhole punch. Don’t use a seam ripper. Spend the $10 and get one of these instead. Even better when it comes with a small hunk of oak or self-healing pad. My industrial buttonholers have what I call a “guillotine” on them to cut open the buttonhole. This punch does the same: A nice, clean cut with smooth edges.
#3 – Steam-a-Seam. It’s a fusible web. You may have seen these as Stitch Witchery, Heat N Bond. Steam-a-Seam also comes in sheets and rolls. But you should choose the two-pack of 1/4″ wide “Steam-a-Seam Lite.” Fuse your knit hems before stitching them. It stops them from rippling. Or be like many of today’s apparel manufacturers and just fuse. It’s strong. It doesn’t leave a mark or edge. And like I say, we’ll have another Ice Age before your hem comes out.
#2 – 1/4″ Wash-Away Wonder Tape. Sometimes I slip and call this basting tape because that’s what it does. It bastes your seam before you sew it. But basting tape is skinny, stays in unless you pull it out and turns hard and yellow over time. Wonder Tape goes away in the first washing as in “I wonder where it went.” It holds such things as pockets and bias curves on necklines and waistlines in place before you stitch them. And it doesn’t gum up your needles.
#1 – Gingher blunts. Officially, they are 4″ safety point scissors. But I like the name “blunts” better. I keep them on a retractable leash clipped to my collar. This way, whenever I need to clip a thread, I know where they are. I used to use pointed nippers but they kept poking holes in my clothes. Now I wear the blunts nearly all the time: During class or at the grocery store after class when I’ve forgotten to take them off. But what the heck. You never know when you’ll have a sewing opportunity. And it’s a wonderful conversation starter.
These are my top five. By the way, these aren’t ads, just my personal experience.
Number 1 isn’t likely to change. But I could be persuaded on the other four. So let me know: What are your five favorite notions?
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Cold weather makes us want to sew something hot. Time to make some lingerie or a special dress. That means hunting for the right kind of silk. With so many types, which one should you choose?
PFI Supply (www.pfisewing.com) offers fabric just for this occasion — including plenty of silks in a broad range of colors. Here are some of the most requested kinds and how to use them.
How silk is made
Silk is one of the oldest known natural fibers. Most silk originates in China, India and Southeast Asia. Domestic mulberry silkworm pupae spin it. Commercial growers kill the pupae before they emerge as adult moths. That way, the cocoon can be unraveled as one long continuous unbroken thread.
Peace silk allows the moth to eat a hole in the cocoon to emerge. The hole makes it impossible to unreel the cocoon. So the fiber must be spun. The result is a more matte finish with a rougher look. Peace silk is also called wild silk.
Chiffon. If you can sew sheer, you can sew most everything. Soft, light and fragile, chiffon is a balanced plain weave with hight-twist crepe yarns used in both warp and weft. Sew on the straight grain before you try sewing bias. Save the selvages to help stabilize your seams.
Georgette. What’s the difference from chiffon? Both fabrics are sheer. Georgette has a more substance with a cloudier look. Its fibers are twisted and alternate every one or two yarns from an “S” to a “Z”, giving a pebbly, crêpe feel. It is stretchier and harder to control than chiffon. Use it for lingerie, nightwear, blouses, dresses, evening and bridal wear. It’s said to be named for a French milliner, Mme. Georgette de la Plante. who used this fabric a great deal.
Charmeuse is the queen of silk, the lightest of silk satins and most difficult to sew. Of all woven fabric, it is the smoothest and most lustrous, thus most desirable. The warp yarns float over weft yarns. The more the floats, the more the luster. So don’t press charmeuse or you’ll flatten the floats and leave “burnished” dull spots. Use a seam stick, seam buffers (such as strips of paper under the seam allowances) and the tip of a mini-iron if you must press seams. Charmeuse snags easily and holes are permanent so don’t overwork it. Sew it once and sew it right.