Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Famous Suede Evening Gown

This gown, in a very soft lambskin suede, has probably become the greatest highlight of my career: as a creative haute couture design, as an elegant FASHION SOLUTION IN ENGINEERING DESIGN and PRODUCTION, and as a very financially successful fashion business product. As you can see. I am most proud of the engineering design solution, and it has a fascinating story that has helped many young designers in recent years through mentoring them.

It was one piece from my 1971 suede and leather collection, that I had been selling successfully to many top designer stores, e.g. Neiman Marcus, Bonwit Teller, Bloomingdales, Bullocks Wilshire, Saks Fifth Ave,, and many others along with smaller boutiques. The original purpose for designing the gown, was to show my uniqueness as a publicity promotion. No one had done a gown in suede before me, and I never dreamed it would sell. I first showed it to the Bonwit Teller buyer, and she almost bowed, calling me a great artist! It became a great selling success, and was in their Christmas catalog.

It was good that I had someone from the fashion world to advise me. With my background of being poor, and learning by stitching in the moderate price garment factories, I calculated the price by the ACTUAL costs. This woman told me no, I had to up the price to what it should be in the market for this kind of garment.

If you note the way the pieces were cut, in swirling circles with the 3-D body shaping within them, that no production system that had ever been designed could do it. So, I had to CREATE a totally new production system to accommodate the way these pieces were cut. There are some interesting methods I designed for the matching of notches in order to have the suede pieces OVERLAP at the seams, but the most unique creation was how I set it up at the machine for the stitchers, My pattern would have letters and numbers, which the cutters would mark on the wrong side. They would bundle the sections of the gown as you see in the drawing above, and I drew these pictures for the stitchers at their machines. All my stitchers had such great fun, calling it “sew by numbers”. But the greatest accomplishment was that it took them only 15 minutes to sew together the shell of the gown. And because I could not sell it that cheap, I made 60% PROFIT on each one!!

I do hope there will be some young designers who see this blog, and will ask me questions. I want you all to realize that “production systems” and “pattern engineering” can be CREATED as well as the garments themselves. Engineering design is my greatest joy. I hope to help many others through my mentoring.


Gwynne Rose said...

Thank you for sharing your knowledge. The concepts of engineering fit and construction were missing at the design school I attended. The classes were taught by skilled home sewers and I wanted more. I have a family and need to stay put, but am in the country with not much opportunity for industry employment. I do patternmaking, small production and what I truly love is problem solving. Your website is great.

selma said...

Hi shirly this is something i never thought i would be doing Im sitting here wishing to meet someone like you I NEED HELP IN PATTERNMAKING I have somewhat of aproblem and I hope my sewing something I love to do can get me and my 6 children a better life Please help with any type information Thank you selma 2674970397 40 west hamlin ave telford pa 18969 GOD BLESS

selma said...

Hi Im sitting here amazed at your story my dream was to create fashion places unique peices Because of problems I was not able to so six children later and living in a shelter I NEED TO DO SOMETHING! I am not a young person but im a person that love fashion and believe it will help me out of my hardship If there is anything you would are could pass on im not to old to recieve it.PLEASE HELP I SEW FOR MY FAMILY ARE DID BEFORE THIS HAPPENED SELMA MOORE 267 497 0397 40WEST HAMLIN AVE TELFORD PA 18969 Looking forward to hereing from you GOD BLESS!

selma said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Hi shirly this is something i never thought i would be doing Im sitting here wishing to meet someone like you
Womens Leather Coats