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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

Episode 19:

Dressing From the Feet First with Footwear Designer, Anna Kichenside

This week we’ve got an interview with footwear designer, Anna Kichenside, who has been in the industry for over 16 years. Anna gives us a glimpse into the world of footwear design and fills us in on her journey, from where she trained, to how she got her first foot in the door. We also hear her thoughts on the business of footwear, where she thinks it’s heading and how she’s merging her two worlds today.

Hayley’s lovely review

 “Great to hear from fellow Pattern Cutters

“Hey ladies, this was soooo nice to listen to last night (I only got up to how you got into fashion but I’ll be listening more). More lovely as I also know you Caroline from when I was an intern at Roland and I really think that you inspired me into going down the pattern cutting route with your super detailed and colour coded patterns, and I’ve never looked back, love my jobs! Great to hear fellow pattern cutters, I’ll be staying tuned (which is something as I’m not usually a podcast listener 😬), keep it up. Hayley x”

Thank you so much Hayley!

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

Anna has been in the industry for 16 years, designing ladies shoes for luxury brands as well as the UK high street, giving her a breadth of knowledge of factories, design, costing, and limitations vs pushing boundaries. During her work at luxury brand Gina, Anna learned a lot about pattern making and production, designing brand-led collections of 50 shoe designs. However, Anna now works part-time in the industry, designing for a UK highstreet supplier, with frequent trips to the Far East, designing a 300+ range of shoes…which has added depth to Anna’s design process

Here are some of Anna’s beautiful designs

Anna’s career has been full of adventures and she’s worked for a range of brands but we touch upon one in particular during the episode, Gina. Gina is a luxury footwear brand founded in 1954 by master shoemaker Mehmet Kurdash.

We also spoke about a few industry expo’s that she’s taken part in over the years. They’re Premiere Vision in Paris and Expo Riva Schuh in Italy.

Anna’s New Venture

Anna recently found a new love in Yoga and has been working on a project combining this and her love of fashion.
Her new Yoga fashion line is called @flamingoyogamaya

Want to see more of Anna?
Find her on Instagram
Find her Yoga brand on Instagram
Find her Yoga brands website

Are you interested in becoming a footwear designer?

UAL do an intensive short course, find out more here.

London college of Fashion offer a BA(hons) in Footwear, find out more here.
For a full list of courses that London College of Fashion offer, click here.

De Montfort University also offer a very highly rated BA(hons) in footwear design. Find out more here.

And Northampton University offer another very highly recommended BA(hons) in footwear and accessories. Find out more here.

Want to learn more about making your own shoes but don’t fancy making a career out of it?

I Can Make Shoes offers online and in person classes to anyone wanting to learn to make their own shoes. They also have a book that it packed full of amazing projects, tips and tricks, as well as a shop supplying all the things you’ll need to get started!
Find them 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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

Episode 18:

The Industries Best Kept Secret…Samples Sales!

This week we’re sharing a real insider secret with all of you lovely listeners. It’s one of the few perks of the jobs when you work in fashion and it’s definitely one of our favourite parts of the job! We are of course, talking about… SAMPLE SALES!
We’re covering what exactly they are, how they differ between high street and luxury, how to find them and, of course, some of our own sample sale experiences!

HannaFF’s lovely review

 “Fantastic

“Absolutely love how Kathryn & Caroline take us behind the curtain of fashion collections! It truly shines a light on all the work and effort that goes into making collections become reality. Can’t wait for more episodes!”

Thank you so much HannaFF!

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

Monica from friends has her sample sale technique down!

Sample sales are essentially special, in person, on the day, take it now or forever hold your peace discount sales that brands hold to get rid of either old development samples or old stock that they can’t shift otherwise.

As we said in the episode, sample sale invites are usually a little on the down low and you often have to have a friend in the know but there are a couple of websites that can help you out if you’re not fortunate enough to have a friend working at your favourite brand….

Showcase.co
This site will give you all the insider info like time and date of your favourite sample sales and you’ll get access to their exclusive, members only sales for a small membership fee.

samplesaleguide.co.uk
This website will tell you when and where the latest sample sales are…keep an eye out for your favourite brand!


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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

Episode 17:

Exploring Maternity Wear

It’s Caroline’s last week before she breaks for maternity leave and in honour of that we are talking about all things maternity wear!
Expect some great shopping recommendations, a view of maternity wear and all the details through a pattern cutters eye and a mini interview with a maternity wear specialist, Paige Colthart.

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO CAROLINE ON THE BIRTH OF HER BEAUTIFUL TWINS!

Doreen’s lovely review

 “Fashion insights

“Fabulous insight into the fashion world. Real content which I found exceptionally interesting and helpful!”

Thank you so much Doreen123!

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

A big thank you to Paige for joining us!

Paige is a product Developer at a specialist maternity wear brand, so we’re really lucky to have her!

If you’re not sure what a product developer is, Paige’s job is basically to guide the product through all of the development stages. 

So she’s involved in every stage of the process, from initial research, to tech drawings, to fabric sourcing, to proto development, to print design, to briefing pattern, fitting garments through to negotiating costs and fabric testing. So it’s a very well rounded and varied role, giving her a great understanding of the garment!


Some Notes from us…

Caroline’s shopping Recommendations:

Dorothy Perkins Maternity
Zara
Lyst  
Seraphine
Mamas and Papas – Bloom and blossom
Jojo Maman Bebe
H&M Mama
ASOS
New look
Marks and Spencer
Gap
Mamalicious

Indie pattern recommendations:

The Fold Line have done a fab blog post about their favourite maternity wear patterns, check it out here!

Some of our favourites:

Trousers – styleARC
Bettine Dress  – Tilly and the Buttons
Alissa Maternity Top – Megan Neisen

Kathryn bought a little pre-baby pattern cutting present for Caroline…a childrens wear book by Winifred Aldrich! What else could a pregnant pattern cutter want?!


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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

Episode 16:

Interview with Charlotta Ayers, co-founder of
School of Pattern Cutting

This week Kathryn interviews Charlotta Ayers, the co-founder of School of pattern cutting. Charlotta started life as a designer, before moving into the world of pattern cutting and teaching. In this interview we talk about studying at Central st. Martins, the pros and cons of pattern cutting and life as a teacher, both at college and through her own business. Charlotta has a some great pearls of wisdom for any fashion students out there so if that’s you, then stay tuned!

Anna’s lovely review

 “Very informative!

“Listening to both these girls in fashion makes you feel at ease and relaxed as they talk about the industry and how to get into the industry, what it’s actually like, the long hours, the internships, the books to study and learn from…couldn’t recommend this podcast enough for anyone interested in fashion and pattern cutting!”

Thank you so much Anna!

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

A big thank you to Charlotta for joining us!

Charlotta has worked around the globe in capitals such as London and Hong Kong for luxury brands as both a designer and pattern cutter.
She also studied at the prestigious Central st. Martins and after working in the industry decided to share her love of fashion by becoming a fashion tutor at Suffolk New College. 
She currently runs her own online teaching platform called “School of Pattern Cutting” which specialises in offering online pattern cutting classes with a focus on vintage styles and detailing.

(Plus she loves cats and Pattern cutting…what more could you want?!)

If you want to find out more about the courses we discussed, click the links below:

Central st. Martins – Innovative Pattern Cutting for Graduates and Professionals

London College of Fashion – BA (Hons) Fashion Pattern Cutting

Suffolk New College – Foundation Diploma in Art & Design


Some Notes from us…

If you want to find the mini Dior couture collection you can check it out here. Safe to say we’re in love!


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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

Episode 15:

Understanding Sizing, Grading and Everything in-between

Caroline and Kathryn pull back to curtain and expose the very grey area of sizing and grading within the fashion industry.
We chat about how it fits into the development garment life cycle, to how grading works and even our own personal experiences.
We are also joined by Maggie Stott who is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to grading and pattern cutting. With nearly 50 years of experience in the fashion world, she’s a real expert!

Victoria’s lovely review

Everything every new fashionista needs to know!

“Absolutely brilliant podcast! Full of handy hints, tips and tricks of the trade for anyone and everyone thinking about going into the world of fashion either for work, or for fun. Real life people talking about real life journeys into and around the world of fashion. For all ages, for all interests. A great way to get your stiletto in the door of some brilliant advice. A ‘must’ for young aspiring designers, pattern cutters and anyone interested in the world of fashion.”

Thank you so much Victoria!

This week we are extremely lucky to have the wonderful Maggie Stott join us to answer all our questions about grading and help us all to understand the finer details involved in sizing.
Thank you so much for joining us Maggie!

During her long career in the pattern cutting industry Maggie Stott has worked in couture, for designer labels and high street brands. She has also been a Lecturer at the London College of Fashion, Ravensbourne and  the University of East London.

Over the last 15 years she has worked to combine traditional cutting methods with modern CAD software, in particular Lectra’s Modaris, and has been teaching both students and industry veterans the many benefits that this new technology brings.

She is the author of a series of workbooks that bring together the skills, tips and tricks she has learnt along the way in an easy-to-follow format that is ideal for both beginners and those already familiar with CAD software.


Some Notes from us…

If you want to find the Carolines grading class you can find it on skillshare and her website.

An example of a size chart for a bodice and trouser (garment measurements)

As you know we both fly the flag for manual and digital pattern cutting, here are some quick snaps of how the two look side by side.


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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!

Episode 14:

Ask Us Anything

You asked, and we answered!
A huge thank you to all of our lovely listeners who sent in questions, we absolutely loved hearing from you! The questions range from freelance life, to recognition in the industry and also include things like the technical aspects of pattern making and what we personally like to sew. 

fashion podcast

Questions:

  1. As pattern cutters, how much influence do you have on the designs in terms of both style and fabric choice?
  2. Do you sew for yourselves – and do you use commercial patterns or just self-drafted garments? What do you enjoy sewing most?
  3. Do you prefer using blocks as a basis for design or draping – and why?
  4. How do Freelance pattern cutters find more clients and work?
  5. What should a pattern cutters portfolio look like?
  6. After I make a block, how do I use it as a tool to get patterns I own to fit better? Is it possible to use the block as a fitting guide and would I transfer elements of the pattern to the block or vice versa?
  7. What are some easy things to do with blocks once they’re made? I really would like some successful projects and don’t want to over reach myself but I don’t need a bodice top or pencil skirt these days. 
  8. What advice would you give a graduate in fashion design who wants to find a job or internship in pattern cutting? I really want to learn more and build on my skills as well as confidence, but I’m not quite sure where to go. Especially during this time.
  9. I was wondering what your opinion was, on the recognition that people get when it comes to fashion. Usually 100s of people work on a collection, from pattern cutters to machinists, but it is the designer (who probably spent the least amount of time compared to everyone else on the collection) that gets all the credit. Designers like Pierre Paolo are changing that. How do you feel about it? And if you wanted more credit, what do you think could be an effective way of getting that done?
  10. Do Europeans have a different method of pattern cutting? I have heard of a french method called the moulage.
  11. How did you each come up with the names/logos for your businesses? I’m a pattern cutter and am planning to set up a professional Instagram page, but am struggling to come up with a name! I don’t want to use my own name as I’d use that for if I had my own brand in the future.
  12. Pricing! Most people in the fashion industry are so secretive about rates! How much would you recommend newer pattern cutters (of about a years experience) set their rates at for both manual and digital patterns? Is by the hour or per pattern better pricing?
  13. What process/book do you use for your made to measure garments and making blocks from scratch and are you at the stage in your career now where you can make blocks from memory, or do you still have to refer back to a book or your notes each time?

Some notes from our Answers!

Kathryn mentioned one of her students recent projects, the student was @chloemademe and this is her gorgeous skirt!


We also spoke about a couple of books, our standard favourites of course!

Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich
Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph-Armstrong


Caroline mentioned her online portfolio….go and have a little nosy at her amazing work 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.

Subscribe to our blog for the latest episodes and bonus blog posts!