Establishing A Brands Fit – Old School Ways Go High Tech
Fit Blocks -Why Are They Important?
What once was old school is now becoming the new way of doing what usually proves to be a very difficult task. Establishing fit for any new brand, or fit for a new category for an existing brand, needs to be approached correctly. First, you must establish who your demographic target is. Then, make a basic fit block that fits them perfectly. Your fit block or sloper is the most basic garment possible. It can be a bodice, skirt, dress, legging, or pant. Many years ago, this was how all brands started. Now, everyone is in a hurry and have forgotten one of the most important things, real fit. Real, true fit is the foundation of all great brands.
What is a fit block? A fit block, or basic sloper, is a basic pattern made using your fit model’s measurements. All that is added is the seam allowances. If you have a basic garment that fits your fit model, this will also help your pattern-maker. It is best to make your basic fit garment in woven if you are going to be working in woven fabrics, and knits it you working in knits. If you are working in both knits and woven, then two slopers are advised. It is also good to make the basic fit garment in a fabric as close to what you are using for production. All fabric makes up different and has a different fit, even when it is made from the exact same pattern.
Once the basic block is fitted on your fit model and approved for correct fit with a comfortable range of motion, you are then ready to add design to the fit. By starting with design and attempting to correct fit as you go, you will feel like you are working backwards, once you have started with a true fit block. The first design fit sample very rarely fits correctly. Two to three fit samples need to be made in most cases. By starting with a basic fit block or sloper, you will have to make fewer fit samples for new designs.
State-of -the-art technology is the new way forward and has made making fit block almost an exact science. The brands that are cutting edge, and have the budget, use 3D body-scanning and image-modeling to create the perfect fit. The 3D scan of your fit model is integrated into the pattern-making software. A virtual garment is generated and fitted on an avatar with your fit model’s measurements. Whether you’re making your first fit sloper on an old school drafting table, CAD, or 3D imaging, the end result is the same – a better fit.
Watch this great example of fitting with a 3D Avatar:
News From The Field
Heart Hunters Consulting is continuing to add more factories/workrooms that will do small batch. We even have small batch flatlock! Please note that we can only offer small batch flatlock in Miami and L.A.; we are no longer able to offer it in Dallas. Also remember, as we have stated in the past, that if you are wanting to do small batch that the price is much higher. You will still have to have full tech-packs and go through the exact pre-production process as if you were making larger quantities. Pre-production is the most important part of the production process.
Please go to our Production Management & QC page on this website, and scroll down and read Tech-Pacs – Patterns & Samples.
Fabric prices are going up, due to the new increase duty rates. This does not only apply to China. The sourcing events that HHC attends enable us to provide our clients with the best open-stock options available on the market today. What is open-stock? Open-stock is the term for fabric that is either being imported or made in the U.S.A. If it is imported, the distributors will buy the MQO (minimum quantity order) from the textile mill in whichever country that is making it. They will then offer the smaller brands the option of buying that fabric in smaller one-roll quantities for a higher price.
If you were to become a direct importer, which we can help you to become, you will have to buy between 1,000 and 3,000 yards per fabric. The domestic mills will also offer some open-stock. Always ask what the mill is running in open stock, they will tell you. HHC offers their clients the benefit of over 35 years of building relationships with vendors with open-stock and direct mill contacts. HHC is continually being asked by start-up brands to source fabric that is just like a garment made by a national brand. They will request us to find this fabric in an open-stock program for them. Many times, this is just not possible. But we will do our best to source the best fabrics available in open-stock programs.