Starting a Clothing Line: Chapter One

Chapter One…THE FIRST PIECE

Let’s start at the beginning, which is a very good place to start!  I decided that I’d start blogging about this process, since it’s what I’m firmly entrenched in (that and toddler raising, which I most definitely chronicle as well as you know!) and also since I’m guessing that some of you reading might actually be interested in the whole “backside” of fashion per say.  You can read about the inspiration behind the line here, if you haven’t been following my ramblings this whole time OR you just have a life and don’t read every word I write!

Okay, so the beginning.  Keep in mind, this is my journey, and other people doing this probably have other experiences and may go about things differently.  I am by NO means an expert, and I’m constantly learning as I’m going!  After I got my “vision” you could say, that’s when things got real, know what I mean?  I’d been talking about this for so long, but it wasn’t until I actually began visualizing some pieces and knew exactly what I wanted to start with that I realized that I needed to do this and it was no longer just a vague potential idea floating in the nether regions of my brain.  Now you guys, I cannot draw.  No, no, I don’t want to hear “Oh I’m SURE you can draw, don’t be so hard on yourself!”  No.  Thank you for your kind words that I just completely put in your mouth, but I cannot draw.  When I “draw” my husband laughs at me and asks in a not so nice way (but I forgive him since he’s a very very nice person) “and what is THAT supposed to be?”  (I don’t play pictionary often as you could imagine).  I also don’t sew.  And when I do “sew”, it’s so ugly and makeshift that I would never DREAM of selling said weird item.  ALL THIS to be said, I knew I needed some help to get these visions out of my brain and onto my body.

Thank goodness I started talking to a few people I trusted about this venture, and one of them introduced me to a local pattern maker.  Yes, these magical people exist and they are just about as amazing as that one dude with the long beard who weaves straw into gold in that one fairy tale.  I have since learned that this is an actual profession and you can find them all over!  She listened to my vision, and helped me understand what it is exactly I was undertaking.  In our communications prior to our first meeting, she instructed me to bring in an article or two of clothing that I could show her to demonstrate what it is I wanted her to make.  I brought in a few kimonos (because that’s what I was starting with) and showed her what I liked about them and what I didn’t like.  She answered my questions about fabric, which are numerous.  I thought I was bringing her a lightweight cotton fabric, she informed me that it was actually rayon (yes, I can read a tag, but silly me I thought I knew what it was by feel alone!) and basically helped direct me in how to choose a fabric and all that.  Phew.  She knows A LOT of stuff.

Once I found an acceptable fabric (that was rough, but my next post will undoubtably be about this topic because I talk about fabric like 70 percent of the time it seems like), I brought her the amount she needed and in a couple of weeks, it was done!  I don’t know if I can describe to you what it felt like to see that completed kimono for the first time.  It truly is a strange and wonderful sensation to see and touch something for the first time that you up to this point have only imagined.  It’s incredible.  I tried it on, and we talked about the completed piece, and there were no tweaks needed, otherwise that would have been the next step.  I had my very first piece, and the pattern to go with it.

She sent me to a local woman who has a small sewing studio with a number of women who produce pieces for various size orders.  I chose to go this route because I so much want to support my community as well as the fact that I got to go see the first completed kimono that she sewed and make a “quality inspection” of sorts.  They came out beautifully.  Twenty four completed kimonos that are all mine.  I had embroidered labels made as well as care tags, and since it was a simple piece, I didn’t have to worry about any other details like hardware or elastic.

Here is the second kimono (made with the same pattern as the first).  This is actually the one I had envisioned all along because I wanted to print a design on the back…but because the printing brought up a whole new set of issues (more on that when we discuss tees), I went with a simpler concept for the first run.  The jeans and necklace were custom made (I envisioned a whole outfit around this kimono of course!) by my good friend @township31 who makes the most insane stuff by hand.

More to come soon on this journey!!  Happy Monday!
Katy