Sew what’s a sample maker? As a designer-entrepreneur, a sample maker is a core member of your tribe. They are responsible for sewing the design from your pattern to determine any issues before the pattern goes into production. Once a pattern is made, then comes sewing the prototype (think of this as the “model numero uno” of your garment). They work closely with the pattern maker and designer to sew your samples. As a designer and entrepreneur, here is a foolproof outline to follow for final garment triumph!
Make sure to provide all the accessories, trims and materials to your sample maker. Avoid supplying black and white fabric as its hard to spot issues and photograph for fit comments.
The sample maker will sew a first quick sample, typically called a muslin to check for fit. The fit model will try on the garment, while you and the pattern maker discuss any fit adjustments that need to be made to the pattern. If you can, have the sample maker and the pattern maker present at the fit session, and take any advice they have for improving the design for production.
Once the fit and other details – like pocket placements – are finalized, the sample maker then creates a perfect (or close to perfect) prototype sample. Don’t forget to check that all the finalized details are clearly specified on the tech pack.
Things To Remember!
- Choose a qualified sample maker with the proper machinery to stitch the outside and finish the inside of your garment. They should have experience working with sampling for production orders, not just home sewing – they are two very different things!
- Ask for references – and check them!
- If the sample maker cannot make an exact version of a final sample (the prototype), any critical concerns and missed details about how the sample should be duplicated for production must be mentioned directly on the sample with masking tape. The factory will then closely follow and use the prototype as a guide to creating a counter sample.
- Always ask the sample maker to sew an extra sample to keep for yourself to keep as a reference (like a proof copy).
- Your expert sample maker should have a strong understanding of construction and seams terminology. Make sure your tech pack reflects the instructions correctly and have them look it over.
- Pattern makers typically have a sample maker that they prefer to work with. If the sample maker is unable to use the right machinery for a certain stitch or construction, the final prototype must be clearly labeled with the issue.
Moving Forward: The prototype sample is then given to the factory and they create another sample (called a counter sample) which can then be manufactured. This is created to work out any production issues, as well as establish costs. Remember, the sample maker is an important part of your tribe, so don’t forget to have open communication with them for best results.
P.S. Need a sample maker? Check out our sourcing directory to find one closest to you. Click here.
Got any great tips under your belt that you can share? Sourcemygarment was built to connect fashion entrepreneurs and build a community to help propel each other forward – don’t be shy!