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.

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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!

Episode 13:

Pyjama Party with Olivia von Halle

Olivia von Halle is a cult luxury British silk brand whose name has become synonymous with reinventing silk pyjamas and disrupting the nightwear market. You will have seen her beautiful silk creations in films, on the red carpet and worn by all of your favourite celebs. In this interview she talks us through everything from her early days as a start up to how she is coping through Coronavirus, her business model and everything in between. Thank you Olivia for taking the time to chat with us!

To find Olivia’s work head to the Olivia von Halle website or find them on Instagram.

While living in Hong Kong, Olivia freelanced for WGSN. If you would like to know more about trend forecasting and WGSN you can find them here

Olivia’s hilarious story about her wedding day had us in fits of laughter! Check out her amazing wedding outfit!

Olivia von Halle is a firm favourite with celebs like Victoria Beckham, the Hadid sisters, Rihanna, Cara Delevigne, Kim Kardashian and many, many more! You will have also spotted her creations on TV and in films like Killing Eve and Maleficent.


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 12:

Demystifying Blocks and Slopers

This episode is all about one of our favourite bits of kit…blocks!
(or slopers as our lovely American friends call them)
Join us as we discuss what they are, how to make them, how to use them and the different types that we’ve come across in the industry and at home.

Our new favourite definition from Rhinannon Bydawell:
(A block is……)

“a basic pattern that you create so that you don’t have to recreate the wheel every time you make a pattern”


Our Definitions:

(A block is….)

  • The starting point or basis of most new patterns
  • The basic body shape with the minimum amount of body ease added in
  • The foundation that you build your garment from
  • Unique to each company or person

Different Types of Blocks

  • Basic blocks (skirt, bodice, dress, trousers etc)
  • Tailoring blocks
  • Stretch blocks
  • Design detail blocks (collars, raglans, etc)
  • Basic garment blocks (shirts, corsets etc)

Learning to draft your own blocks:

Buying blocks:

If you’ve got more block related questions then we would love to hear them or you can check out Kathryn Blog post 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 11:

Draping on the Stand

In this episode we dive deep in the beautiful and creative world of draping! This is both of our favourite ways to work and we’ve packed this episode full of do’s, don’t’s and handy tips and tricks!

Top 5 do’s:

  1. Mark your grain on your fabric before you start to draping with it 
  2. Mark accurately and carefully using different colours to match details if complex
  3. Photograph your drape from lots of angles before you take it apart(if you do after marking it up then you can easily place the different colours/details!)
  4. Use a fabric that’s exactly the same as your final fabric or very very similar
  5. Remember that drapes don’t float on air so think about what inner construction you’ll need and drape over a basic block and mark your seams/support if you need to.

Top 5 don’ts:

  1. Don’t switch between different fabric types, same fabric won’t work for different designs 
  2. Don’t rush!
  3. Don’t assume that it will go together with other flat pieces, always double check your notches!
  4. Don’t be afraid to cut into your fabric!!! Sometimes not cutting away will hinder you massively. Especially around waist, armholes etc
  5. Don’t force it! Draping is creative, if the juices aren’t flowing do something else and come back to it. Sometimes it won’t create what you want, let the fabric do the talking.

Some last handy tips:

  • We already said about colour coding your drape…do it to your pattern too!
  • If you’re struggling to get the look you want try changing the grain of your fabric
  • Pin correctly! 
  • If you’re draping on a base, make the base/lining first and use this as your guide. Work inside out!

We also have a few recommendations for you: 

  • Favourite draping brands: Mcqueen, Westwood, old school Galliano for Dior couture, Rolf and Russo, Com de Garcon…the list is endless!

Draping history: Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès


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 10:

Interview with Elisalex de Castro Peake, co-founder of By Hand London

In this episode we are joined by the lovely Elisalex de Castro Peake, many of you will know her as the co-founder of By Hand London, an independent pattern company that makes the most beautiful patterns for people who sew their own clothes.

She originally trained as shoemaker at London College of Fashion and has had a colourful and interesting journey to get to where she is today. 

You can now find her running every aspect of the business, from social media to design and pattern development.  As well as this, Elisalex is also a fantastic teacher and has a reputation for being a bodice fitting extraordinaire! Last but not least, she is an avid crafter and big supporter of sustainable fashion.

Join us as we discuss the fashion industry, the sewing community, the ups and downs of starting and running a business, fashion revolution, sustainable fashion, sharing your knowledge as a teacher and juggling personal and work life while still giving yourself some slack.

“If I was talking to myself, in a non-judgemental way… I would say to be kind to yourself”

A couple of notes from the show:

Fashion definitely runs in the family for Elisalex, her mum is the founder of Fashion Revolution, an organisation that campaigns for ethical and sustainable practice in the fashion industry.
If you’re keen to try a bodice fitting master class then head over to the New Craft House where Elisalex regularly teaches. At the time of release of the episode all classes are on hold due to Coronavirus but they will be back up and running as soon as it’s safe so keep an eye out for future dates!
This episode coincides with fashion revolution week, head to the fashion revolution website to find out more.
“Who made my fabric” is By Hand London’s response to fashion revolution week, check out their list of sustainable fabric merchants on their Instagram account!
You can find Elisalex on her personal Instagram account, the By Hand London website and The By Hand London Instagram.

A couple of notes from our Caroline & Kathryn:

You can listen to all the Vogue Global Conversations online. Take a look, they’re really inspiring! The conversations are:
“The Future of Creativity” with British Vogue’s Edward Enninful, Marc Jacobs and Kenneth Ize.
“The Future of Sustainability with Vogue España’s Eugenia de la Torriente, Stella McCartney and Gabriela Hearst.
“The Future of the Fashion Show” with Vogue Runway’s Nicole Phelps, Olivier Rousteing, Natacha Ramsay-Levi and Cedric Charbit.
“The Future of E-Commerce” withVogue China’s Angelica Cheung, Virgil Abloh, Stephanie Phair and Remo Ruffini.
The Future of Brick-and-Mortar” with Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue’s Emanuele Farneti, Vittorio Radice, Pete Nordstrom, Burch Pierre-Yves Roussel.

Kathryn’s Live Pattern Cutting class


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 9:

Our Top 7 Essential Tools for Pattern Cutting & Making

In this episode we talk you through our top 7 Pattern Cutting tools and pieces of equipment. These are our absolute essentials that we just couldn’t function without!
Like most pattern cutters we know, we’re both massive fans of clever stationary. If you want to hear us raving about rulers and which notchers send us nutty then this is the episode for you!

7 Top Pattern Cutting Tools:

  1. Blocks & Slopers:
    We love our large collection of block and slopers and would be TOTALLY lost without them! Caroline has even been know to fly around the world with hers in her hand luggage…precious cargo!
  2. Rulers:
    From Set Squares to Pattern Masters to random ones we’ve picked up along the way…we use our rulers every day!
  3. Notchers:
    This is how communicate with the seamstresses who are making our lovely garments so these little paper punching guys are of huge importance to us!
  4. Pattern Drills:
    Another way of communicating and accurately marking our patterns, so these are of course on the list! We even have a favourite type – which we both found separately via Japan and prevents us getting painful pattern cutters wrists! (yes, we’ve totally made this condition up but it’s real for us!)
  5. Tracing wheel:
    Perhaps the simplest tool, but the most effective and irreplaceable! We use it for tracing the underlays of darts, pleats and inner pattern details. We even use it to copy garments that we can’t unpick to trace the pattern from.
  6. Scissors:
    This might seem obvious but cutting is a major part of making patterns so we have different sets of scissors for different jobs. Paper is one weight and fabric is another! Scissors can take all shapes and forms for us pattern cutters, including rotary blades and we’ve even come across pattern cutters using scalpels! It definitely feels like we’ve doing surgery sometimes!
  7. Tapes:
    We’re talking Measuring tapes, sticky tapes, tailoring tapes….all the tapes you can imagine!
  8. Bonus: Mechanical pencil with a rubber!
    Lastly, WE LOVE PENCILS! but not the kind you have to sharpen yourself.
    Mechanical pencils stay sharper for longer which means our patterns are more accurate and we even have a favourite type of lead which is strong and doesn’t snap as easily! We’re talking 0.5 HB lead…serious pencils for serious pattern cutting!

To get hold of any of the tools that we’ve spoken about, please follow the links below:

Blocks & Slopers
You can find Caroline’s class HERE
You can find Kathryn’s class HERE
You can buy blocks and slopers HERE

Pattern cutting tools

Rulers
You can buy Kathryn’s favourite ruler HERE

Notchers
You can buy pattern notchers HERE

Pattern cutting tools
Pattern cutting tools

Pattern Drills
You can buy our favourite type of pattern drill HERE

Tracing wheel
You can buy tracing wheels HERE

Pattern cutting tools
Pattern cutting tools

Tapes
You can buy fashion tape HERE
You can buy scotch tape HERE
You can buy tapes measures HERE

Mechanical pencil with a rubber
You can buy Caroline’s favourite pencil HERE

Pattern cutting tools


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 8:

London Fashion Week

Join us behind the scenes and take a front row seat at the iconic London Fashion Week. We discuss past fashion week experiences,  and Caroline brings you her diary of live recordings from the studio, the catwalk and the show rooms. Step inside our shoes and experience what fashion week is like for a real life pattern cutter

London Fashion Week quick facts:

  • It happens in London twice a year, once in February (A/W) and once in September(S/S)
  • one of the “Big Four” fashion weeks, and of course the other 3 would be…. New York, Milan and Paris
  • London Fashion Week first took place in October 1983
  • It’s estimated that it generates over £100 million worth of orders
  • It happens in 2 parts… there are the big catwalk shows which take place either at the British Fashion Council’s own show space or at special locations around central London
  • In Summer 2012, London introduced London Collections: Men, in addition to the collection shows in S/S and A/W
  • The public can only watch the shows via live streaming

To find out more about London fashion week, the brands that show there and what they’re all about, click here

Live Diary….

A quick snap comparing the very first stage of this dress and the final beauty that walked the catwalk

KATIE McGUIGAN PRESENTATION

Caroline went to see the stunning Katie McGuigan AW20 presentation. You can check out more of her work here.

A few of the other brands that Caroline spoke to were in the Newgen section of the showrooms are:

The Catwalk Show


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 7:

The Coronavirus Effect & Working From Home

As the Coronavirus pandemic plunges the world into chaos, we bring you a bonus episode with an update on life as freelancers and small business owners in this very scary time. We share our thoughts and tips for working from home and how we’re managing to continue work as pattern cutters. While this episode focuses on the work and business side of things, our first thought is always for your health and we hope that you’re all safe and well at home.

In the last couple of weeks we’ve seen one country after another putting strict measures in place for the public and closing their borders. 
Our first concern is always and should always be our health but as freelancers and small business owners it’s a pretty terrifying economic situation too. 
At the time of recording Italy, France and Spain are all in total lockdown. The UK hasn’t hit that point yet but our Coronavirus cases continue to rise. Restaurants, bars and shops are starting to close.

Every industry has been hit hard and quickly by this shock, and in fashion we’re seeing supply chains and production grinding to halt , stores closing , buyers cancelling orders, shipments stuck in the far east and Europe, the list goes on…. 
It’s a very serious situation and as a result we’re already seeing freelancers being laid off and businesses beginning to strain under the financial pressure.
So we just wanted to take a moment to say that our hearts are going out to everyone affected in anyway.  We’re thinking of you, and we’re all in this together.

 On a lighter note here are our top tips for working from home effectively!

  • Get good podcast/audio books/playlists etc so you’re not sat in silence
  • Make a routine and stick to it! Try to keep normality in your life
  • Use apps that limit how much time you can spend on sites like Facebook & Youtube
  •  Be patient and bare in mind that any frustrations or troubles that you’re having are the same as your co-workers so just be nice to everyone! 
  • Keep a spare set of pattern cutting equipment & convert an area into a temporary workspace.
  • Communicate as much as possible
  • Having some spare savings 

Find yourself at a loose end? Try these:

  • Turn your hobby into a business, sewing, painting, crafting etc…there are huge crafting communities out there and everyone is stuck in doors so this is your time to get involved
  • Do some online based work, Virtual Assistant work is always needed
  • Make an online class…skillshare, udemy, teachable all great to share you skills
  • Or take an online course and learn a new trade towards a career change you always wanted
  • Do some sewing: For yourself or if any friends or family need garments making for an occasion this is your time!

And just to bring a smile to your face, here’s Naomi Campbell taking things to the extreme. All hail queen Naomi, we love you!

Naomi Campbell is taking no chances while traveling!

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 6:

Interview with Emmeline Child, Sustainability Expert

Emmeline Child, fashion sustainability programme leader and lecturer at the University of Northampton, joins Kathryn and Caroline to talk about all things sustainable in fashion. 
Emmeline gained an impressive amount of knowledge and experience in this field while launching her own brand and business and became a real pioneer in her field. She is now a Researcher, Senior lecturer and University Programme leader. Teaching in the areas of sustainability, fashion and design in the UK, India and Sri Lanka.

During this episode we cover a range or topics. Starting with Emmelines journey and how she became interested in sustainable fashion. Then moving onto her research and work as a lecturer and finally, we pick her brains about some key areas in sustainable fashion including:

  • Natural fibres & Organic fabrics
  • Tech fabrics and new developments in that world
  • Fast Fashion
  • Green Washing
  • The future of fashion as she sees it

Can find more information about Emmeline below:
Linkedin
http://www.tedresearch.net/people/staff/emmeline-child/

And you can contact her on emmeline.child@northampton.ac.uk


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!