One of the manufactures I used to work for, used to describe the workings of a factory as a continuous linking chain that turned around and around. And that you could not simply just remove a link from it. For if you did the wheel would stop turning and the factory/production would come to a standstill.
To me the same thing can almost be used to describe the makings of a good garment.
There are four principles that are interlinked like that of a continuous chain if one is removed or weakened then the integrity of the garment is compromised.
Easy enough to understand, but what are those principles, what roles do they play and why are they so important?
Too easily explain this, I’m going to translate them. Think of a house.
First you have your foundation, your primary pattern base.
This is what is referred to as a BLOCK, this master pattern or patterns form the base from which all fashion/styled patterns are drafted from. The reason why this BLOCK is so important is that it dictates fit, shape and balance for fashion/styled patterns going forward. It also helps you maintain a constant spec/garment measurement at key points of the body.
Basically, if the foundation of your house is skew or not level then so will everything else.
Next, we have the fabric, think of this as the bricks and mortar of a house, the outer walls.
The quality of the fabric plays a vital role in the longevity of a garment and this is often where corners are cut, compromised in order for the manufacture to come into the retailers required purchase price.
The poorer the quality of fibre used and the lower the number of threads used the lower the cost of the fabric.
So how dose quality of the fibres and thread count affect the longevity?
To put it simply, if you build a house with missing bricks or water down the mortar you can’t expect the house to stay up for very long, can you?
The third are what are called essential trims. These are things like thread, elastic, zips and buttons, it does not include things like brand labels, size labels etc. Essential trims are like the load bearing walls in the house, they are vital to the completion of a garment, without them there is no garment.
Last but by all means not least is the garment construction/ the actual sewing of the garment, the roof. A house is not a house without a roof, but the roof can only be as good as what is below it.
If one of the first three principle are compromised, it does not matter how well that garments is sewn and how skilled the machinist is, it will not last.
The reverse can also be said, if the garment is not constructed correctly, like holes in a roof then the other 3 principals are exposed to the elements and their structural integrity is at risk.
Where is Fashion Design in all of this? Surely it is also a foundation? Think of it like decorating the interior of your house or landscaping the garden. It makes the house more appealing and pleasing to look at but does not hold the house up.
Bottom line is you can draw pretty designs all day long, but without those fundamental foundations of strength, pattern; fabric; trims and construction; your garment will not last.