Blazer traded to Raptors takes PFI grad’s designs with him

 

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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What it takes to get a product to market — and make a living

 

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:

1. Idea
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

Why Research?

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

2.  Design
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.

6.  Fulfillment
• 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!

Want to know more?  Sign up for any of PFI’s business classes where you feel a need to know more.  Can’t decide?  Sign up for a business consultation.  Your success is our success!

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Why you shouldn’t buy cheap clothes made in China

Think that $19.95 jacket is a treasure? It’s not. Here’s why.  We found the Factories inside China’s mass internment camps. 

China built its vast network of detention camps to do more than simply keep people behind bars.  Investigations identified factories right inside many of Xinjiang’s internment compounds.  These long, rectangular buildings with blue roofs are capable of putting thousands of Muslim detainees to work against their will.  China has built scores of them — encompassing millions of square feet — in the last three years. Observers have long warned of rising forced labor in Xinjiang. Satellite images show factories built just steps away from cell blocks.
Two former detainees said they had worked in factories while they were detained. One of them, Gulzira Auelhan, said she and other women traveled by bus to a factory where they would sew gloves. Asked if she was paid, she simply laughed.
From BuzzFeed News.  For the rest of the story, click here

Can’t get enough of that stretchy stuff

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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Vanishing Higher-Ed Hasn’t Put a Damper on These Portland Fashion Schools

 

In 2018, the Art Institute of Portland—the only college in the city offering bachelor’s degrees in apparel design and fashion marketing—closed its doors, shifting the balance of local design education options. The school, well known for its fashion alums (including no fewer than three Project Runway contestants) had been through a tumultuous few years, with the nationwide chain of colleges forced to grant $103 million in loan forgiveness on top of a $95 million multistate lawsuit settlement to students for consumer fraud. Since then, Portland has also seen the closures of the 112-year-old Oregon College of Art & Craft, which offered a smattering of experimental design courses, as well as other non-fashion Portland-area mainstays Marylhurst and Concordia.

But the great higher-ed vanishing hasn’t put a damper on advances in the local fashion scene. Nike, Adidas, and Columbia all continue to operate design studios here that employ hordes of fashion folk. There’s three-year-old Sneaker Week, an annual footwear event that brings in industry kin from all over the country. And, prepandemic, of course, local fashion shows were continuously popping up with new names and design collectives, like “The Ones” on E Burnside, which lets newbie designers share space alongside veterans of the fashion world.

A look from PFI student Chuck Ryan’s final collection.

The question, in the absence of higher ed, is where are all of these people learning their craft?

Across the river in the Hollywood District, Portland Fashion Institute caters to that seeking-a-toehold-in-the-industry demographic, but also embraces Portland’s indie days of yore with a program that runs students through not only the ins and outs of things like sewing knits and Optitex computer patternmaking, but also business classes on how to run your growing design empire. PFI founder Sharon Blair was a full-time instructor at the Art Institute of Portland before leaving to found her own school in 2010. That move, she says, was about taking her years of education experience plus the perspective from running her own small clothing line, SKB, to students for a fraction of the cost. Despite having several of the same instructors helming classes, the accredited school is vastly more affordable than the Art Institute, where the final tuition hit $485 per credit hour vs. Blair’s zero-debt vision. At PFI things clock in around $30 an hour for a sewing class and just $55 per patternmaking class, even with access to the expensive computer programs.

The commonality among all the schools? Each one gets students trained for a future career with classes that are faster and cheaper than traditional colleges, all with access to industry professionals that value time on the floor over textbooks.

9 steps to perfect pant fit

Creating pants that fit seems to be the goal of every clothing sewer.  That’s our goal for you two.  There are nine simple steps to get there.  You can start with one of the five PFI patterns that best flatter you (we have dress pants and jeans for men too!).  Then visit our blog page on “Four Fast Flat Fell Seams” to choose the one you like for a professional look.  Best of all, take Britta’s Pants, Jeans and Overalls class to learn the skills that will get you to your goal every time.

#happysewing!

7 easy steps to a Mme Grès drape

Turn off FB news feed & Twitter. Shun FB hate groups & cults. Believe only in trusted, verified sources — such as Mme. Bridget. As one of the last members of the Mme. Grès atelier, she taught me how to create Grès pleats. Here are 7 easy steps to make them.

  1. Cover the right side of the mannequin’s bodice with paper.
  • Line up two layers of silk organza over the pattern for one bust. Pin to hold.
  • Thread trace the pattern to the silk. Choose an embroidery needle.  Use one strand of contrasting thread.
  • Line up the lines of the dart. Join with ¼” running stitches. Choose an embroidery needle.  Use one strand of matching thread.  Start at the dart point.
  • Trim the dart down to ¾”. Press down.
  • Place the organza on the form. Match the CF and breast point.  Pin in several places to hold in place.

  1. Fold a 24” piece of ½”-wide rayon or silk fabric in half lengthwise.Press.
  • Start 2” beyond the CF point. Place the fold of the ribbon along the upper thread traced line.  Pin every 2”.  Continue until 2” beyond the SS.
  • Repeat for the bottom thread traced line. Make sure the binding pieces cross exactly at the CF point.
  • Join the binding to the organza with ¼” running stitches at the top and bottom of the long edge of each binding. Use one strand of matching thread.

  1. Press a 24”x24” square of silk jersey.
  • Mark the center of the crossgrain with pins.
  • Start 1 cm from one side at the center. Place a pin exactly at every 3 cm.
  • Start with the 2nd Bring each pin up to make a pleat.  Expose 2 mm of the previous pleat.  Remove previous pins as you fold.  Place a pin on the edge of each pleat.
  • Pick stitch the pleats in place along the centerline. Catch just a thread of the pleat fold as you stitch.  Make the underside as clean as the outside.

The first three steps should take you about 2 hours.

  1. Place the centerline on a straight line from the CF to the breast point.
  • Pin each pleat onto this line.
  • Start with the top half beyond the centerline. Fold under 3/8” of the top edge.  Gently stretch as you place it to hide the top edge of the binding fold.  Pin every 2”.
  • Place each pleat for the top. Make sure to stay on grain and leave only 2 mm of the previous pleat showing.  Keep the pleats smooth.  Stretch as you place.  Crowd the pleat as they approach the SS.
  • You should have only 3/8” fabric overlapping the centerline from bust point to SS.

 

This step should take you about 4 hours.

 

  1. Repeat for the bottom half of the fabric.
  • Fold under the remaining 3/8” of the bottom edge of the fabric to cover the bottom edge of the binding fold.

 

This step should take you about 4 hours.

  1. Chose a 1” fine curved needle.Use one strand of matching thread.  Start with the top half.  Backstitch two layers of pleats at a time.  Work from SS to CF. Be sure not to stitch through the paper.

 

This step should take you about 4 hours.

  1. Repeat for the bottom half of the fabric.

 

This step should take you about 4 hours.

 

Congratulations!  After 18 hours, you have completely one breast section of a Mme. Gres dress.  Now proceed to the other breast.  Then drape the rest of the garment.