As Project Runway demonstrates every year, fashion design, sewing, and dressmaking can be a pretty cut-throat world.
The number of aspiring professionals out there is mind-blowing, and amidst this clamor for attention, it can be hard to get noticed.
What makes your work special?
The first thing that you must do if you want to make a go of it as a dressmaker of designer is to keep up with fashion trends. This is not to say that you should be copying the latest chic trend in your work, but that your interpretation of something happening today may be more likely to garner positive attention than something that is completely unconnected to the fashion now. Watch some current TV, pick up a magazine or two, or just spend a few minutes every day poking around online. That’s enough to keep your finger on the fashion world’s pulse, so to speak.
It can be helpful to specialize. If you pick a specific target audience – women of a certain age, interest, body type, or social group, for example – you’ll have an easier time distinguishing yourself and creating an image for your work than if you try to generalize. You may sacrifice some markets, but it’s a sound strategy. Faced with a client looking for something outside of your specialty, of course you won’t throw them out. Our clients allow us to make our living, and it’s our job to keep them happy. Whatever the client asks for, make sure that you execute it beautifully, and that the end result is both wearable and comfortable. This will bring you some good karma, at the least.
Maintain top-quality gear. A good, well-maintained sewing machine is a joy to work with. Surprisingly, there’s even a noticeable difference between working with top-quality pins and their dollar-store counterparts. If you’re serious about your work, you owe it to yourself and to your clients to use the best equipment that you can afford. Even if you can’t afford to buy the best of the best, you can make a big impact by simply maintaining your equipment – that means regular service and maintenance. One of the best investments you can make is in a dressmakers dummy. Read about it in our article here;
Think about needle size. It’s not something the casual user needs to concern themselves with, but the size needle you use in your sewing machine can have a big impact on your finished work. There are thicker needles appropriate for denim or leather, and thin ones for silks. Keeping a wide selections of needles on-hand will make life behind the sewing machine a lot easier. The same goes for hand-work – a good selection of needles is critical.
Keep your scissors sharp. You can buy the tools to sharpen them yourselves, or take them in to the shop to be sharpened on a regular schedule. If you’ve noticed that your scissors are feeling dull, you’ve already waited too long between sharpenings.
Find a dedicated space. Hauling all of your equipment and supplies out of the closet every time you want to work will get tiring, and it may lead you to stop sewing altogether. On top of that, a multi-purpose space may be full of lint, children’s toys, dog and cat hair, and all manner of ick. If at all possible, set aside some corner or room to be your dedicated studio. If you’re able to put even half of these dressmaking tips into action, you’ll be well on your way to dressmaking success.
Recommended Read; Cool Couture: Construction Secrets for Runway Style (Singer Studio)