Cut and Sew vs Wholesale Blanks:
When developing a fashion collection, designers can choose Blanks or Cut and Sew.
Wholesale purchasing of blanks is the simple route. Already established cuts and styles of clothes are available to the public for purchase. Then, designers can print their logos, designs, or other graphics onto the blanks.
Cut and sew is the trademark “designer” way to produce clothing. It is called cut and sew because fabric is cut out to resemble the shape of a pattern. That cut up fabric is then sewn together to construct the garment. Cut and sew is for designers who want to develop their own signature look and shape of their garment.
The truth about cut and sew vs. wholesale blanks is that it all depends on what type of project you are venturing into. If you are just trying to mass produce t-shirts with nice graphics, using blanks makes sense because it’s cheaper. It is important to think about what product you are trying to develop, how much you are willing to spend, and the overall vision for your business.
5 Step Process To Develop a Cut and Sew Collection:
Step 1: Choosing Fabrics
Once I decided to start a dress shirt brand, I immediately started sourcing fabrics. This is where everything starts and was the foundation for the garment that I was trying to produce. At first, I found corduroy and cotton from the fabric store and sampled them. They were both too heavy so I needed to find something a bit lighter. Luckily, I discovered a featherwale corduroy that I absolutely fell in love with.
Step 2: Pattern Making
A pattern is a template used to create the shape and structure of a garment. Patterns are used to ensure that each piece of a garment fits together correctly and that the finished product is the desired shape and size.
Developing a signature look and fit for my dress shirts was the most important part. I wanted to create something that looked completely different than anything else on the market. I am half filipino and was extremely inspired by kimonos and barongs. So I decided to go with a slightly oversized look with a chinese collar.
Step 3: Muslin / Fit Sample
Since a pattern is a piece of paper, a muslin is a great way to see how your garment is going to fit. A muslin is a piece of cotton that you can use as a fit sample for your garments. This helps you save money, fabric, and make quick adjustments. I tried on my muslin and immediately made a few revisions. I took in the chest and width of the elbow. I extended the length of the sleeve and torso.
Step 4: Trim
Trim refers to buttons, zippers, or any materials that you add to the base of your garment. To develop my sample, I needed to find 11 buttons that go well with the fabric that I was using. This was a pretty fun process.
Step 5: Samples
Now, you are ready for your samples. All you have to do is bring your fabrics, pattern, and trim to a sample maker and they will handle the rest. For my dress shirts, I needed to supply 2 yards of fabric and 11 buttons. My first sample came back and I loved the fit but the corduroy was super heavy. I then took the cotton to the manufacturer for a second sample. A few days later, a mentor of mine threw me a gem by directing me towards a fabric wholesaler in the garment district. I found a featherwale corduroy, fell in love, and immediately took it to the manufacturer to get sampled.
Pattern Grading: All you have to do is develop 1 size and then get a pattern grader to scale out the additional sizes.
Bulk Fabric & Trim Order: I am only starting with 100 dress shirts so I had to buy 180 yards of fabric and 1,100 buttons.
Full Production: Recently, I put down a deposit for my full cut and sew collection. We are looking to drop the Practice Shirts in early May.
If you are looking to develop your own cut and sew fashion collection, we have everything that you need at FITS. We can help you develop your collection by sourcing your fabrics, making your patterns, muslins, and final samples. After development, we can manufacture your full batch as well.
To watch the full development & production process:
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If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!
Good luck :)