Some of you expressed an interest in hearing more about my ‘day job’. This is something I have largely avoided on my blog because a lot of it is confidential, as you can probably understand! There are snippets I can show you though, so here is the first in a series of occasional ‘Industry Insight’ posts.
Although it is Spring 2016 showing in New York and London, here in New Zealand the opposite is happening. Our Winter 2016 collection is showing, and even though the agents are still out there selling, production has already begun. For me this means it is grading season!
All the selling samples in our collection are made in size 10/Small. As a patternmaker it is really convenient for fitting purposes that I am almost a perfect size 10 too! Obviously the rest of the world is not a size 10 as well, so patterns for all the other sizes need to be created before garment production can proceed.
At my workplace we do this by manually grading sizes up and down from the size 10 (S) pattern.
|Grading the XS sleeve from the S Sleeve|
Yes it is all done by hand – and there is a lot of cutting to do! Larger organisations might use a CAD system but we still do it the traditional way.
|All the sleeves graded and cut out|
We usually grade five sizes in total – XS/S/M/L/XL (3 up, 1 down) and sometimes we grade an XXS or XXL if they are requested by buyers.
After cutting them all out, each piece is nested to check for accuracy:
|The Backs nested|
|Nice accurate work!|
This simple top took only an hour to grade, but the lined coat-with-a-zillion-pieces I graded earlier in the week took me the whole day!
Grading can get a bit monotonous, but it is also therapeutic after the stress and deadlines of producing a sample range. Most of the styles will be graded in the next month or two, and then the fashion cycle begins all over again as we start to design our Spring 2016!