FAQs

Q?

How long does it take to launch a new product?

A.

This depends on a lot of factors! Are you starting a new company? Launching a single product or a collection of garments? How many pieces? Generally speaking, since it is different for everyone, is that it takes about 6-12 months from design to production. Starting a new company from scratch this process may take longer. Most established companies do still develop products 1-2 seasons ahead of the current season. This includes time for actual production (average 6-8 weeks domestically), sourcing and ordering materials, development and finalization of all patterns and prototypes, fittings, tech packs, labels, and design. I'd love to discuss your goals, together we can create a plan for your product/s.

Q?

What do I need to provide to get started?

A.

I need some basic information about your company (market served, price points), and information about each style you are developing. A flat design sketch with front, back and any detail view is ideal, but I'm happy to create your flat sketch from your design inspiration images and existing garments. I need to know what fabric/s and trims you are using, and ideally you have sample yardage ready to go. I'll need to know some measurement specs, for the garment itself, and/or body measurements for your fit model. We'll start your project off with a design brief meeting so we can go over all the details before starting patterns and prototypes. I'm happy to answer your questions and provide advisory if you're unsure about things, such as the best zipper or finishing technique to use.

Q?

What is a tech pack? Do I need one?

A.

I like to call your tech pack your "visual contract" for your factory. Technical Specifications Package can be simple or very complex, depending on your product, where you plan to manufacture, and other factors. It includes your technical design sketches, detailed sketches/photos of your product, bill of materials, construction details, pattern ticket/cutter's must, points of measure and graded measurement specs, and label placements. It can also sometimes include costing information, packaging and shipment detail. I recommend that all clients have a tech pack before they go into production. They also serve as a great tool during the product development process for pattern making and prototype sewing.

Q?

What if I’m still finalizing my designs, or I need sourcing assistance?

A.

You will need this information in order to start pattern making and prototype development, and I am happy to work with you if you need help completing this. Please see my Services page for more information!

Q?

Do you offer grading and marking services?

A.

The Chicago Pattern Maker specializes in development of first through production patterns, and works with a reputable grading and marking service contractor, or your factory for these services.

Q?

How does a fitting work? How many fittings or revisions should I expect?

A.

During your fitting/prototype review meeting, we will evaluate each garment or product for fit and functionality, as well as discuss things including manufacturing, design, fabrication, and price point. I recommend hiring a professional fit model when possible. For new brands and products, expect to have an average of 3-5 revisions of your patterns and prototypes before being ready to go to production, depending on the complexity of the design. Established companies or designers who have existing blocks to work from may expect fewer revisions.

Q?

What types of products do you specialize in?

A.

I have experience working in multiple product categories, for women, men and children. I primarily specialize in pattern making for stretch knits, including active wear, swim and athleisure. I enjoy working with apparel for the contemporary sports wear market, as well as functional products and non-apparel accessories, including new-to-market inventions and category innovations such as medical or performance products.

Q?

Can you sew my samples?

A.

Yes, I offer sewing services for prototyping and samples. However, due to high demand, I only offer sample sewing to my pattern clients.

Q?

Can you help me with manufacturing my product?

A.

The Chicago Pattern Maker is not a factory, but I work with several sewing contractors and would be happy to make a recommendation based on your needs -- product category, production order quantity, etc. I can also help you research other potential factory options, and advise you through the process of selecting and working with your contractor.

Q?

Do you offer custom design?

A.

The short answer is no. My primary business is working with brands and companies (including start-up's!) to develop their products to be produced and sold at market. I will sometimes say yes to custom design projects, but they are usually referrals through friends or family, and only do about one of these types of projects per year.