Episode 29:

The Future of Fitting with Alvanon Senior Consultant, Jackie Lewis

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Alvanon are industry leaders who specialise in creating physical dress forms and 3D avatars to help brands achieve a better fit. Jackie Lewis, senior consultant at Alvanon, gives us the inside scoop on how physical dress stands are made and how this translates into the world of 3D avatars and 3D fitting. Jackie is also the course development director for MOTIF, an online learning platform aimed at filling the technical gaps that we often see in the industry. You all know how passionate we are about learning so we couldn’t wait to pick her brains about the courses they offer and how it links to the world of fitting with Alvanon. 


 Jackie Lewis is a senior consultant Alvanon and the course development director for MOTIF. With a career spanning almost 30 years in garment technology and product development, it’s safe to say that Jackie really knows her stuff! In 2018 she joined Alvanon as a consultant focusing on 3D, process efficiencies and sustainability.

Jackie hasn’t stopped there, not only is she helping to better brands but she is also helping to better individuals through her work at MOTIF, an online educational platform which encourages and enables industry-wide education in technical skills to help fill that all important technical knowledge gap that we often face.

A big thank you to Jackie for joining us!

Alvanon

Alvanon was born out of an unlikely collision of two worlds. Dr. Kenneth Wang, the founder, is as you may have gathered from his title…a medical doctor. Quite an unlikely professional to make a segue into fashion!
However, when a real understanding of everyday human bodies meets with a drive to improve how clothes fit the result is Alvanon. And realistic dress forms that represent real actual bodies of everyday normal people.

“For those who don’t know who Alvanon are,  they’re an apparel-technology company that helps brands improve their fit through 3D body scanning and actual realistic body stands. “

From the early days Alvanon embraced tech and married modern digital technology with traditional techniques to design and produce stands. Today, you can buy off the rack, ready to use stands (or Alvaforms as they call them) as well as going for the full custom, made to measure route that many brands opt for.

As well as providing dress stands for industry leaders they have fit studios in capitals around the world that smaller brands and students can access.

Their early embrace of tech, at a time when many competitors were slow on the up take, has resulted in Alvanon growing to become a global leader in the world of fitting and dress stands. And now they’re leading the way on 3D modelling and digital avatars, the future of fitting.

By regularly hosting 3D body scanning events around the world Alvanon have collected up to date body scans from all over the world and by using this data they produce Alvaforms, both physical and digital, that are representative of different global markets and are quick to update and adapt these forms to reflect any changes they find.

MOTIF

MOTIF was created in response to the gap of practical technical skills that we often see in the industry today. In a world that is constantly changing it only seems logical that we need regular training to keep up to date with this advancing world.
MOTIF have range of courses with some our favourites including:
Basics in CLO-3D
Fundamentals of plus size
Solving fit problems: women’s tops
How to run a fit session
Denim 101 (coming soon)
Their courses are taught by industry professionals who are experts in their field and are passionate about imparting their knowledge.

At a time when most of the world has been forced to move online, MOTIF seems the ideal way to further your training and gain new knowledge. Not only do they offer courses that will improve both individuals and brands but they’re also creating a community of likeminded individuals and creating a space to share resources and inspiring work in fashion.

3D Tech Festival

Together these companies facilitated the 3D tech festival and brought together leaders from the 3D and virtual world. From Cameron-James Wilson, CEO / Creative Director at The Diigitals, the worlds first digital modelling agency to Dominic Sluiter, Head of STITCH, a tech focussed company driving the embrace of 3D design technologies for fashion brands.
This tech festival generated invaluable conversation about 3D designing, 3D pattern cutting and 3D fitting, and how we can follow through from a 3D development process to a 3D marketing campaign by making full use of 3D rendering, 3D catwalks and digital models and influencers. By embracing this amazing technology we can create entire collections with minimal wastage and maximum impact.


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 28:

Our 2020 reflections and 2021 goals…Bring on 2021!

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2020…What a year you’ve been! Covid-19 definitely put a spanner in the works but we’ve still got plenty to be thankful for. The launching of this podcast for one! In this episode we look back at our favourite moments of the past year and discuss what lies ahead for us in 2021.

Happy 2021 from both of us!


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 27:

Starting a Global Fashion Brand, with Zak Timol Creative Director of Velsvoir

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Zak Timol, the creative brain behind the well known menswear brand, Velsvoir, joins us to talk us through how he and his 2 brothers started up the brand (by accident) and how their famous bow ties have led to them winning awards and building a globally recognised brand. Zak is full of creative wisdom and stories about how this family run business has gone from strength to strength and is now even part of a Guinness world record! 
A big thank you to Zak for joining us!

Zak Timol

Zak Timol is an entrepreneur and Creative Director of international luxury brand Velsvoir, a menswear luxury fashion brand. A lifestyle tastemaker, he has launched three start-ups and has plied his trade across Europe, Asia and Middle East working with many premium establishments including Sketch, Cafe Royal Hotel, GQ Dubai, Catalunya Singapore and Supperclub.

Since 2013, Zak has been awarded ‘Best Regional Brand’ by Esquire Middle East, nominated ‘Best Menswear Designer’ by Grazia Middle East and awarded ‘Best Accessory Designer’ by FF London. He was also recognised in the Esquire Middle East Top 100 influencers of the decade.

A few notes from Caroline’s and Zaks chat:

Grazia Middle East

Esquire Middle East

Modest Fashion Week

TED talks


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 26:

Sewing Lessons That We’ve Learnt From Professional Seamstresses

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As pattern cutters we work side by side with those amazing sewing experts, the professional seamstresses. While we don’t sew everyday we’ve definitely picked up our fair share of tips from these talented individuals and this is the episode where we share them with you!
Expect to learn more about our sewing journeys and how we put these tips into practise. From fusing tape to different types of needles, to having a good attitude…these are or top 9 sewing tips and lessons.

 A few notes from us…

If you want to hear Kathryn’s interview on The New Craft House Podcast you can find it on Spotify here and on iTunes here.

Caroline mentioned that she’s been pressing flowers that were gifted to her when her babies were born and they’re just so beautiful we had to share them with you!

She even used a pattern cutting book to press them…very appropriate!

We’ve both had formal training in professional sewing but we’re not shy to say that our sewing skills are not as perfect as they once were. As part of that training we produced technical folders and Kathryn found hers stashed away from her students days. Take a look!

Lesson 1

It takes as long as it takes…use your time wisely but don’t rush!

Lesson 2:

Use the correct needle and foot for your fabric.

Lesson 3:

Use tape to control bagged out edges and seams!

Lesson 4:

If you can’t tape…stay stitch! And do it through your paper pattern piece to help keep control of the fabric.

Lesson 5:

Do some testers with your fabric before you start stitching your actual garment. Test things like needles, feet, fuse, ironing, pattern details etc.

Lesson 6:

Pressing (Ironing) is your friend…and can fix a multitude of sins!

Lesson 7:

Sewing really is trial and error & a learning experience.

Lesson 8:

Take your time when cutting & marking drill holes & notches.

Lesson 9:

Working with your pattern cutter not against them will result in a  better garment and working experience for everyone.


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 25:

The Art of Being a Drag Queen, with Dan Mcilwraith AKA Daisy Puller

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For this fabulous episode we’re joined by Dan Mcilwraith. Product developer by day, glamorous drag queen by night! 
Dan shares his world with us and fills us in on the more technical aspects of how he transforms into Daisy. We hear about the pattern cutting, the fabrics, the sewing and how he got the nickname deadline Dan. He also gives some advice for anyone wanting to try out drag for themselves and shares his personal journey with us, including his work with the charity Positively UK. This amazing glimpse behind the sequin curtain was an incredible chat and we give a huge thanks to Dan for joining us!

Daisy is well known in the London drag scene as one half of the Twinnies, a regular face in the Sink the Pink Party crew and co-producer and host of Love Potion no.9. You can find her performing at shows, festivals and even as an extra in the Absolutely Fabulous movie! 

Want to see more of Daisy?
Daisy’s Instagram
Love Potion no.9 Instagram

Love Potion no. 9

If you want to see this groovy, glamorous & ridiculous girl in action then head over to Love Potion no. 9, a night co-hosted by Daisy which celebrates drag of all types and is set in the beautiful Fontaines in London.

Behind the scenes!

There’s far more than meets the eye though, behind these wonderful creative looks are hours of preparation including designing, sewing and even gluing! This process includes creating the below pads that give Daisy her curves.
Daisy also has the most incredible hair and make up which add more hours of prep and as Dan said in our interview “I’d rather have big hair” when I quizzed about busty curves.

 “The thicker end goes up the top to create the hip curve and then the skinnier end extends down the thigh. The trick with pads is to get them shaved down as thin as possible all around the edges so they don’t create a ridge under your tights. I also wear 4 pairs of dancers tights so that helps!”

Positively UK

Dan’s work with the charity Positively UK is close to his heart and he says that they are responsible for his positive emotional and mental attitude. He is a peer mentor with them, and readily gives back to HIV positive members of the community what he was given when first diagnosed. The work that he and the charity do is truly wonderful and I couldn’t let this interview go by without giving them some of the spotlight. If you would like to find out more information about what they offer you can do so here.


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 24:

Bias Cutting & Sewing Explained

Caroline’s back! For her return we decided to spill the beans on one of our favourite techniques…cutting on the bias!
Yes, that 45 degree grain line that we know you all love and love to hate. Expect explanations of what it is, how to do it, why we love it, tips for sewing and plenty of bias pattern cutting and sewing related stories.

This beautiful bias cut dress was draped by Madam Vionette and is a perfect example of piecing together bias pieces while keeping the seams on the straight grain.
let’s take a closer look at why a bias grain gives us a stretch effect

Our Top Tips for Cutting on the Bias:

  • Grains should form a chevron at side seams
  • Try to avoid zips/fastenings as the fabric ripples/warps/stretches 
  • Let your seam hang before stitching if the grain is at slightly odd angles when meeting at seams. The fabric will drop dramatically!
  • Stay stitch, don’t tape…this allows the fabric to move more
  • Toile in fabric VERY similar or exactly the same…this is where the differences in fabrics really show up!
  • Get something on the body or stand ASAP…there’s not very much you can predict about a bias garment on a flat pattern
  • Cut fabric on paper, with warp & weft lines marked on and fabric pinned down…this ensures the grain is true!
  • Be really gentle when stitching & pressing, don’t pull or distort fabric
  • Allow your garment to hang before hemming it

Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 23:

Ep. 23: Menswear Pattern Cutting and Making, with Rhiannon Bydawell

In this episode we’re joined by Rhiannon Bydawell who is a menswear pattern cutter for McQ by Alexander McQueen. We discuss the key differences between menswear and womenswear, and Rhiannon shares stories about bespoke tailoring on the infamous Saville Row, which is where her journey started. She also shares some industry tips and lessons learnt along the way and gives us a sneaky glimpse of her impressive VIP client list! 

This weeks lovely review

I want be a pattern cutter!”

“Love this podcast! Kathryn and Caroline give a brilliant insight into what it is actually like to work in the Fashion Industry and for a fashion student the information is invaluable! From the tools you need to get started, to model fittings, to getting your first job, this podcast really gives you all the inside information you need to know. I am studying for a HND in Fashion Design and the recent episode on fitting has really helped me with my assignment. I reached out to the ladies for some advice about a toile I am making and got a quick response telling me what I need to do, thanks so much for your help! Looking forward to the next episode!”

Thanks Paula!

If you would like to rate us or leave a review, you can do so on Itunes or drop us a message on email.

Rhiannon is a creative menswear pattern cutter. She trained at a bespoke tailoring Atelier in Spitalfields, London dealing mostly with male clients. She went on to teach tailoring at the London College of Fashion and for the last 4 years, she’s worked as the menswear pattern cutter at MCQ Alexander Mcqueen where she works along side Caroline.


One of Rhiannon’s many amazing career highlights is making the suits that Ralph Fiennes wore in the Bond Film, Skyfall!

Are you interested in Tailoring or Menswear?

These are some of the amazing courses that are on offer in the UK:

Here are some books to take a look at:


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 22:

Working with Garment Factories, with Alice Warne

As pattern makers we create the “blue print” that the factories use to produce hundreds of garments, so it’s no surprise that we spend a fair amount of our job working with Factories!
This episode is all about how that relationship works, who’s involved and how to ensure your work is factory friendly for easy, mistake free sewing. To help me discuss this I’m joined by Alice Warne, a production and product developer, to help talk us through some of the finer details of what life working with factories is like for her. She gives us tips on finding factories, working with them and fills us in on her personal experiences, both at home in the UK and abroad.
Whether you’re a pattern cutter, a garment tech, a fashion student or you’re thinking about launching your own brand…this episode is for all of you!

This weeks lovely review

UK Fashion Stories!!

“Finally a behind the scenes fashion show focused on the UK market. It’s great that both Caroline and Kathryn are both ‘insiders’ love the show so far, keep ’em coming.”

Thanks Andrew!

If you would like to rate us or leave a review, you can do so on Itunes or drop us a message on email.

I’m joined by Alice Warne, who I first met while I was working at Karen Millen…she joined the brand as a pattern room assistant while on an industry year during her diploma studying fashion technology & design. Through her career she has been involved in every aspect of production, from in house sampling, to sourcing fabrics and trims, to coordinating the production of whole collections. 

Her current role is production and product development at well known luxury brand Asceno. Through this role, she manages the whole garment life cycle and is involved in every step of the journey, a large part of which involves factories



Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 21:

Getting your first job, with Sidnie Brennan

Our favourite Intern turned employee, Sidnie Brennan joins us to discuss her journey so far. She fills us in on everything from going to university to study fashion, to developing her design portfolio, her internships and then finally getting her first job as a Technical and Product Development Assistant. 

This weeks lovely review

 “All you ever wanted to know about pattern cutting

“What a fantastic podcast full of information, while also managing to be entertaining.

Caroline and Kathryn really know what they’re talking about, they manage to make quite complex pattern cutting sound straight forward and explain all the little details nobody else ever talks about!”

Thank you so much Charlotta!

If you would like to rate us or leave a review, you can do so on Itunes or drop us a message on email.

Sidnie graduated with a first class degree in 2018 from Portsmouth University where she studied for 4 years on a Fashion and Textiles degree. In the middle of this she took a gap year where she did work experience for 3 very different fashion brands. 

After graduating, Sidnie then took some much needed time out to go traveling before returning home to prepare her portfolio for the world of fashion that awaited her using platforms such as Fashion Workie, BOF and Linkedin for connections. After reaching out to some old friends from her internship days, she landed a role as Technical and Product Development Assistant at Emilia Wickstead which is where she still works now.

getting your first job in fashion
Sidnie is often used as a temporary fit model and has even been called in for make up trials! A welcome moment of calm in her busy day!

A few things that we mentioned…

Sidnie studied at Portsmouth uni, find their fashion degree here.
She used sites like Linkedin and Fashion Workie to find connections, internships and jobs. As well as sites like Business of Fashion and Drapers to find jobs once she graduated.


A few notes from Kathryn….

Fashion week is here! Head to the London Fashion Week website to watch the digital presentations, interviews and shows.

Bora Aksu’s collection is one my favourites, find it here.

Find amazon’s collaboration with the British Fashion Council here.


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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Episode 20:

How Fittings Work, with Fitting Model Anna Popovich

Fittings are an integral part of garment development, and as pattern makers we spend much of our time in the infamous fitting room! Join us as we talk you through how fittings work, why they’re so important and let you in on our own experiences and some top tips. We also hear what life is like as a fitting model, from Anna Popovich who has spent years working for brands, both big and small. She gives us a really unique perspective through the eyes of one of the most important people in the room.

This weeks lovely review

 “Absolutely love this

“Great content, entertaining and informative! Keep up the great podcasts!”

Thank you so much LBW3246!

If you would like to rate us or leave a review, you can do so on Itunes or drop us a message on email.

Anna has worked as a fit model for nearly 10 years for over 50 different London fashion houses. What started out as helping out a designer she was interning for has turned into an unexpected career for her. 

Anna works with designers while they’re developing their ideas for the samples you see on the runway, with the production team before multiples are made for stores and in showrooms where samples are shown to buyers. She has a wealth of knowledge and we’re very lucky to have her on our podcast!

Our Top Tips for Fitting:

  1. Always fit a full toile before you cut into your final fabric
  2. Pin Pin Pin! It’s tempting to take a hands off approach when fitting but it’s so key to pin out excess and volume so that you get a real impression of what the amendment will do and so that you can alter the pattern accurately! Don’t be shy!
  3. Don’t be stingy when drafting your pattern, it’s always easier to pin out excess than it is to cut into a toile and pin in extra fabric if a garment is to tight.
  4. Don’t be afraid to cut a toile up, that’s what mock ups are for!
  5.  If the designer decides to change loads of things or isn’t happy with the outcome, don’t take it personally
  6. Remember to check the balance and the length for every garment.
  7. Take photos! ALWAYS! And notes…lots of notes!

Always remember to take photos of garments during the fitting. Front, back and side as well as any detail photos of amendments or ares of concern/detail.


Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Kathryn and Caroline directly with any comments / feedback on fashionhalfcut@gmail.com. Alternatively you can reach out on instagram @fashionhalfcut.

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