Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lucky x 2

You are lucky if you live in New York because 1. you live in New York, and 2. there's a wholesale fabric show happening in New York specifically for small manufacturers. Low minimums. Go.

Hotel Pennsylvania
New York City
February 6-7, 2012
Hours: 9:30 to 6:00

This information courtesy of Fashion Incubator and more details can be found on the FI Website.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Knit & Weave II

Voila! The second Knit & Weave link list:

-Brutal Knitting -need I say more?

-I look forward to reading this book someday:  Knitted Clothing Technology by Terry Brackenbury

-I've been seeing a lot of trees wearing sweaters lately. Apparently, I'm not the only one. Knit & Purl -International Yarn Bombing Day shows knitwear like you may never have seen it before.

-The last link is on the Poppy Gall Blog which is an interesting blog to visit for insight into another's design inspirations and processes. I found her site via this post on the always amazing Fashion Incubator.

-Sri Threads. Incredible textiles.

-Really excited to have found a post about the Tripod Loom in Sierra Leone from the Adire African Textiles blog. Looking forward to setting up my Grandma's old loom which I mentioned in this post.

Happy clicking!

Friday, May 20, 2011

All Things Considered

So there's a link between skinny jeans and Tar Sands after all. According to an article found over at the Knitting Industry News blog:

"RadiciSpandex Corp., a U.S. RadiciGroup company engaged in the production of RadElast spandex, is developing the world’s first eco-friendly elastane using a 100% renewably sourced material (biopolymer).
“The innovative product line will be the world’s first spandex consisting of 80% biomaterial made from a 100% renewable source (corn), as opposed to propylene, an oil derivative,” a statement from the company said today.
According to RadiciSpandex, not only does the use of biopolymer help reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but the production process also emits fewer greenhouse gasses and uses less energy than petroleum-based processes. The company claims its new green elastane fibre will ensure the highest environmental sustainability while providing excellent performance (greater stretch and high-speed spinning) and good quality."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Knit & Weave I

I propose a link chase. Below you'll find a small handful of sites and pages that might be of interest to anyone wanting to learn a little more about textile production. This is Part I...

The articles and links on this website could easily eat up a few hours of any workday so watch out for this gem: Knitting Industry News.

This lesson in woven suiting is very informative: 'Sharkskin, Herringbone, and Houndstooth' via Department of Textilesmithing

These links speak for themselves:

Textile Technologist
Textile Source Blog
Textile/Weaving Library

Always fun to look at...An Ambitious Project Collapsing

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Footprint of a Bra

Ever wondered what it would be? The Knitting Industry News Blog has an answer for you. Apparently, Marks and Spencer has come out with a carbon neutral bra. I like that companies are adopting environmentally and socially ethical practices in the production of their wares. It's good business. What I wonder about are the convoluted, marketing-driven formulas that beg and borrow credits to make their products and manufacturing processes appear environmentally benign.

If I were to reverse-spin the carbon credit logic and take out the green-wash, it might look as if some companies are granting themselves permission to pollute and then making it a selling point. Are you buying it?

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Really, this post is more of a meandering treasure hunt. I'll post a video or two and a few links and you can take it from there -just follow the bread crumbs if you're hoping to learn more. 

First, I will channel the most famous, French Master of Embroidery, Jean Francois Lesage, via Youtube :

Next, to the Jean Francois Lesage website for a lesson on the History of Embroidery. See also the Lesage Embroidery School where one may enroll in full or part-time Embroidery programs.

What. Can't get to Paris? How about a DIY tambour beading video or a couple of internet pages with hand stitching diagrams:

-Victorian Embroidery and Crafts
-reference chart for hand stitching

Finally, for those in need of a refreshingly different take on embellishment, Alabama Chanin will not disappoint. This link will take you to a video about the designer and company (scroll half way down the page).

Good hunting.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How Much Polyester Would a Pop Bottle Make?

According to the video below on "Recycling Plastic Water Bottles", it takes 19 bottles to make enough polyester for an extra-large t-shirt and the same to make 1 square foot of carpet, 63 bottles to make enough for a sweater and 114 bottles to make enough fiber fill for a single sleeping bag.

I've often wondered what the reclaiming process for bottles is like and how difficult it is to make usable fabric from the remains. The following video is informative -if you have ever been curious about the process check this out:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Making Things Interesting

There are so many companies making jeans. I like discovering those who inhabit interesting workspaces, use clever machinery and have a well-considered process. Enter Roy and Tender Co.  I'll let the video below speak to the amazingness of Roy's set-up and Tender Co.'s website is worth clicking around to learn more about how they add local value to their product.

(Mind your ears, delicate flowers, this is real life.)

There's another video on Roy's website that shows off the vintage machinery a little better but I can't seem to upload it so just click *here* to see it instead.

Friday, February 18, 2011


How about an internship?  Here's one at Zac Posen. I'm not in New York but I like reading through the job descriptions and daydreaming. Ahh, for a bigger city and for that city in particular...

Monday, February 14, 2011


If you have 15 minutes, watch this video. It tells the story of Imogene + Willie: how a couple of 'grandkids' grew a denim company in Nashville. They have an amazing workshop and store and produce in-house with 11 employees.  All that awesome and their jeans look fantastic -they custom tailor their finished jeans to fit each customer.

(Thanks for the link, Sarah and Ben. You send such great inspiration!)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yes: Thread Usage Formulas and Needle/Thread/Fabric Weight Charts

I absolutely adore truly helpful and intelligent customer service. There's a simple kindness implicit in making things easy for customers. Who wants to be scolded for not following proper ordering protocol? To that end, here's a post from Seth Godin's marketing blog titled, ''The Shell Game of Delight'.

Perhaps today's blog entry could be filed under 'things I could have learned in school had I only taken Fashion Design and not something else,' but it's really more about companies making helpful information easily available to potential customers. As such, I was impressed by, and thankful for the information I found under the 'Technical Tools' tab at the American & Efird website. There I found all things relevant to thread purchasing: thread consumption formulas,  a fabric weight/typical thread sizes/typical needle sizes chart,  and a thread size comparison chart.

Did you know there were approximately 250 yards of thread in a pair of women's jeans?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seam Classes

I've been daydreaming about different production possibilities and wanting to brush up on technical sewing knowledge. I can see this table of seam classes from American & Efird (found via Fashion Incubator) coming in handy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Price of Cotton

I knew that the price of cotton had gone up but I didn't realize by how much. I was looking around on the Afingo Blog and found this post on the rise in cotton prices. Here's a short excerpt:

"The National Cotton Council of America reports that the average world price of cotton has increased by 89% from October 2009 to October 2010. Worldwide cotton prices have skyrocketed 117% over just five years ago. Blame a perfect storm of extremely high demand and weather-wreaked crop destruction for the situation."

This might not be such a bad thing. There are many fine fibers out there. Wool slacks, anyone?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Truth Plus and Afingo

Two good finds on the internets today -Truth Plus and Afingo. I love really good industry blogs and Truth Plus is definitely one. Afingo I found through today's Truth Plus post on production practices.

 “ is the first online platform to merge social networking and fashion industry sourcing in a stylish and functional interface. A virtual showroom, essential news aggregator, and easy-to-use manufacturing resource, is a vibrant community of designers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers all connecting and interacting in real-time. From sketchpad to factory to boutique rack, provides a unified platform as compulsively addictive as fashion itself.” (

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Duct Tape Dress Form Version 2 & How to Calculate Dart Width

The Pattern School website I mentioned in yesterday's post is brilliant. There's so much to explore. Case in point: under the 'Measuring and Sizing' tab you'll find another version of how to make your own dress form. While I like the Etsy Labs tutorial I posted last week for the taping instructions, the Pattern School version gives a better discussion of materials and shows you how to turn the taped 'mummy' into a hard dress form.

Another page of interest is 'How to Calculate Dart Width'. There you'll find very useful math for making custom garments and for when designing around stretch factor.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All For Blue

No wonder humans find ways to automate every process under the sun. The amount of labour it takes to naturally extract indigo is crazy.  

Here's another video worth seeing. This one is about Adire. These textiles are incredible and the amount of manual work that goes into their production is astounding.  I think it's worth considering a world with less automation but what would it do to the cost of fabric? This cloth should be very expensive: 

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Little Deeper

Worn Fashion Journal -Have you come across this magazine? This has to be one of the more interesting 'fashion' mags I've found. I'm sure you can get subscriptions through their website but they also have an Etsy store:

As for other internet finds, check out the academichic blog. I liked today's military-art/costuming reference but I still want more 'something'. Perhaps that desire misses the point of creating a somewhat casual space for Professors to simply explore the sartorial side of academia. I'll continue to visit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I want this book but it's not in my near future: "Master Patterns and Grading for Women's Outsizes," by Gerry Cooklin.  Hmmm... I seem to be leaking content from my post about making plus sizes.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Duct Tape Dress Form

I've been getting lost in an epic post about requests for larger sizes and the reality of offering another size category. In the meantime, here's a great tutorial on how to make your own dress form from the old Etsy Labs Blog.

Happy taping!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Subtraction Pattern Cutting

"The basic premise of Subtraction Cutting is that the patterns cut do not represent the garments outward shape, but rather the negative spaces within the garment that make them hollow. Simply put, shaped holes cut from huge sheets of cloth through which the body moves." 
   -taken from 'what is Subtraction Cutting' on Julian Roberts' Subtraction Cutting web page

Good thing I happened upon Julian's Pattern School and fully downloadable notes about 4 years ago before he pulled up the free sign! Yes, I have the notes from a Master Class he taught and can attest to the fact that they are very worth reading. Would I buy the book? Yes. I wonder what else is in there.

So what's it all about? Well, an entirely different way of pattern making and garment construction. It's sculptural, a little mind boggling and a great way to avoid working with measurements and numbers. Take a look at the photos on his web page  and see for yourself, but I'd say the results definitely lend themselves toward a 19th century look with lots of volume.

If I were a dressmaker or designing for the bridal industry I would incorporate this technique into my practice for sure!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Library of Congress

Want to download a free, Italian pattern drafting book from 2004, or a pattern grading book from over at The Library of Congress? How lucky can this possibly be? Some kind of mistake perhaps? Better snap them up quick!! Where am I finding this information? Fashion Incubator, of course.

Zero Waste

     Every once in a while I let my disdain for waste stop me from beginning projects. Whether this is a paralyzing act of eco-conscience or just a complicated form of procrastination is of little consequence. Either way, nothing happens.

     Have you ever heard of zero fabric waste fashion? I found this site through the Fashion Incubator forum. Blogger Timo Rissanen is a PHD candidate concerned with eliminating fabric waste by changing design practices. Really, if you can scroll down to October 02, 2010 to see a pattern layout it's worth checking out. He uses every inch of fabric. I wonder how easily patterns could be graded and whether it lends itself to a certain look. I hope he publishes his dissertation!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Public Domain

It took me forever to find pattern drafting books when I first started looking and even longer to find books on pattern grading. School just wasn't in the cards, new books cost more money than I had, and at that point the internet was just a thin line to Elsewhere for which I had very little patience.

Enter I could just stop there. Maybe I will. Bon voyage!

Hundred Mile Closet

     I have a full-size, shuttle loom. It belonged to my Grandmother. It's likely a far cry from the kimono loom in the video above, but I plan to get it up and running this summer. Imagine working with selvage denim made in-house? Imagine wearing jeans made from cloth woven just up the street? 

     I've been thinking about this idea for a while and was really excited to come across the videos from the Japanese denim brand Momotaro.  They even dye their own cloth! I won't get too carried away (yet), but in house cloth production, even on a supplemental scale, is something I'd really like to work towards. 

     Judging from the videos I found on Youtube, Momotaro denim isn't exclusively a hand-woven denim company either. At 8 hours of labour per meter and about 3 meters of fabric per pair of jeans, I can only imagine how many years it would take to fill a store let alone keep it stocked. 

     The video below is also from Momotaro. Look at those machines! I like this level of automation -the machines are assisting the people in contrast to the videos I posted earlier this week where the opposite seems to be true. Very inspiring!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Gold Mine

       Fashion Incubator has to be the best resource I've come across for anyone looking to start a clothing line or for anyone who already has one.  Even if you just want to learn how to sew it's a great site to find tutorials. I also highly recommend the book written by Site Founder Kathleen Fasanella, "The Entrpreneur's Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing". You can buy it on Amazon or through her site for about $60.00 USD.

75 Pockets

     The machines in this video are totally brilliant in a mad scientist kind of way but a little frightening in what they're doing to consumer expectations.  I wonder what the human/machine production ratio is 10 : 1? At any rate, this video sheds some light on what's behind the new standard.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Another blog for the internets: this one for sharing what I've come across trying to learn as much as I can about the needle trade. I hope you find it useful.

Here's a video I came across the other day. It's all about factory made jeans. I make jeans, too, but only a handful at a time. Do they take me 15 minutes to make? Try the better part of a day each depending on style, number of pieces and how many small distractions are pulling at my pant legs. Am I slow? Not at all -I'm just not fully automated.