Sunday, December 15, 2013

This was a slow week, with tech week for sounds of the Season. But i have continued to prep patterns and make shopping lists for Monday the 23rd when I plan to buy allot my materials. I have been finalizing sketches and editing down some ideas. I'm getting really really excited to see my work come together. I've made clothes before but a collection that I'm making complete from start to finish is really exciting. I can't wait to start sewing and assembling. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

So the past few weeks I have been really struggling with inspiration and moving forward, but I think things are finally starting to turn around. I have begun pattern making for a few of the designs I have been working on. The process for making patterns for a garment are as follows:
First, you decide measurements. In this case, I'm using standard measurements for a women's medium. I also had to decide measurements for the sweep (circumference of the bottom hem) and shape and length of things like necklines, sleeves, and waistlines. I believe the hardest part of making a garment is the pattern making, because everything after that is simply putting the puzzle together. I have been testing some if the patterns on my dress form which is very close to the standard measurements.
Second, you measure out all of the measurements to make the garment the size and shape that you want it. You do this in halves: the front side and the back side, with additional patterns for things like sleeves and pockets. Usually, the difference between the front and back patterns is a matter of changing the height of the neckline and eliminating darts, so really once you have the pattern for the front, everything really begins to fall together. However, this is my first time making patterns without some type of guide. I am making patterns based on drawings that I made, which is testing my abilities greatly, but I am enjoying the challenge. I can really see myself growing as a clothing designer and manufacturer. I can't wait to see how/if the patterns work. 
I have also added a new design to my list of ones officially going in the collection (attached)!
I have been focusing mainly on dresses so far, and I have to make a decision soon as to whether or not that's all my collection will consist of. It's usually best to have diversity in the collection to show that you are strong with separates as well as single garments. I will see how it goes (it is my first collection, after all). 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Sorry for the late post! Last week, I spent the week in Florida with my family. We went to Disney world, where there unfortunately lies a severe lack of fashion inspiration. Through all the Mickey Mouse tshirts and sweatshirts, I found myself extremely uninspired when I sat down with my sketchbook. On our last day in Orlando we spent a few hours at Cirque du Soleil where I gathered ideas from the extravagant and intricate costume designs. I have been continuing with sketches and patterns so look for another update later this week!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Em by Emily

Unfortunately this week has not been nearly as productive as last. I was extremely busy with sports and school so the amount of time I was able to dedicate to moving forward with Em by Emily was small. I had time to edit some of my sketches and brainstorm more ideas, but unfortunately not much more than that occurred. 
I have been working on timing for this project, and have decided that I'd like to get a good amount of initial sewing of samples finished over Christmas break. I also thought maybe in addition to selling on my etsy shop I could take my samples into locally owned boutiques and sell them from there. That is something I will have to look into. This week I hope to continue sketching and finalizing looks to keep moving forward with Em by Emily. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013


This week I have spent a great deal of time trying to figure out exactly where I'm going with my collection. I feel like hundreds of ideas pop into my head all at once and it's hard to sketch them down in time before I forget. However, thanks to recent generous gifts from Evernote, I was able to sketch down a few ideas today in my moleskin during church. (Probably not the way I'm supposed to spend my time in church...but I was able to sketch and remember a dress that I think would work real well in my collection). Here's the rough sketch I scribbled down: 

In addition to that, I finally compiled all of my ideas for the direction of this collection into my moleskin. Here's what I wrote down: 
Em by Emily: winter/spring 2014 rtw collection 

-Classy but edgy
---structured silhouettes with leather trims and a touch of a more edgy style for the modern high fashion individual 
---mixing of colors, prints, and textures 
---neutrals with a pop of color 
---inspired by Rachel Zoe spring 2014 rtw collection 

-Overall Themes
---neutrals with pops of color 
---leather trims
---overall classy yet edgy feel to the collection 

-Collection Outline
---6 outfits
--------pants, skirts, dresses, tops, coats, etc. 

-Who wears Em by Emily?
---modern, edgy and confident individual 
---consists of everyday clothes suitable for day time with the ability to transition to evening 

Lastly, I've been experimenting with color palettes and different ways to incorporate a pop of color. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Budget Planning

After a failed initial budget meeting with my primary investors in the company, I went back to the drawing board. They suggested I come back for my second proposal with a more concrete plan. Here is what I have so far:

Cheapest Option:
8 looks, at least 3-5 yards per look.
24 yards of fabric at $7 per yard
--fabric would be cheaper and lower quality, wouldn't be able to make a complete profit
Total cost: $168 for fabric, plus an estimated $50 for zippers, buttons, thread and finishing tape

Middle Option:
6 looks, 4 yards of fabric per look
24 yards of fabric at $12 per yard
--fabric would be higher quality than the cheaper option, and provides the most opportunity for profitable turnaround 
Total cost: $288 for fabric, plus an estimated $40 for zippers, buttons, thread and finishing tape

Most Expensive Option:
6 looks, 4 yards of fabric per look
24 yards of fabric at $15-17 per yard
--fabric would be of extremely good quality, would be able to sell clothes for more money therefore has potential for either a highly profitable turnaround or no sales at all because of higher prices on clothin
Total cost: $360-408 for fabric, plus an estimated $40 for zippers, buttons, thread and finishing tape

A closer look at the typical Etsy buyer: choosing the best budget - a credible website with a ton of info on the everyday etsy buyer
Etsy is the 42nd most visited site in the US and the 142nd most visited site worldwide 
Buyers often spend around ten minutes on the site at a time, meaning pictures must spark a quick initial interest
A large majority of the demographic is female, meaning clothes made for women have buying potential

Final budget planning:
My parents have chosen to give me the initial budget of the cheapest option and to up the budget based on fabric needs of particular looks.
We have also decided to create a line with only the initial six looks to ensure well made clothing and a reasonable time commitment 
The current goal is to design and produce the line for sale around springtime (lighter, cheaper fabrics that would allow for a more profitable turnaround to increase sales and continue the business further on from the initial 6 looks)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Timelines, fabrics and cutbacks

A very busy week this week, one that has proven to me that this project is going to require a set amount of time outside of school that is purely dedicated to the completion of this project. From now on, I am going to begin each blog post with my goal for the upcoming week to ensure at least a little bit of progress. 
By this time next week, I hope to have purchased all or most of the fabric that I will need for the beginning stages of this project. I have spent a great deal of time searching for fabrics, and have made little progress. I have been in a constant back and forth decision regarding whether to sacrifice quantity for quality or vice versa. As I touched on in my previous blog post, fabric is EXPENSIVE, almost to the point where the clothes would be ridiculously expensive because if it. I think I am going to go the route of buying cheaper, but still good quality fabrics, and not necessarily in bulk.
 At this point, I'm still pretty set on my original goal in terms of making cute, affordable, well-made and on trend garments for the everyday girl. However, the original goal of making two to three looks for every standard size is not going to be feasible. For an eight piece collection, that is looking at about anywhere from 48-72 garments. I think I will try my best to make one garment for each standard size per look, which is looking at around 24 garments, still a large amount, yet more doable in the long run. 
I am extremely excited about this project. It's so much work, but I'm looking forward to being able to express my design creativity this way. This is something I've always wanted to do and I'm extremely excited/nervous/anxious/intrigued to see how this will all turn out. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Second guessing and trouble moving forward

To the eleven people that have viewed my blog in the United States and the two in Germany, hello and guten Tag!
Being extremely indecisive has proved to be a major obstacle in the beginning stages of this project. I had my entire collection designed and ready to go until this past Friday when I came up with better basis for the collection that seems so much more on trend and just all together BETTER than my original.
I have so many ideas for this second collection that already I've sketched 25 different looks that I want to make and it's overwhelming and I think I'm going crazy and THIS PROJECT IS REALLY FUN. Anyway, this collection is very edgy and neutral with small pops of color in certain pieces and I'm really excited about it's potential. I feel like this dramatic change in direction is going to be very beneficial in the long term because I have more ideas now that I can use later.
In terms of fabrics for this collection, I'm thinking knits in neutral colors and black leather... Which SOUNDS very odd and a little too edgy but I love the idea of adding leather as trim or to a sleeve just to make an item very current or allow it to transfer from day to night. But as I have learned this week, leather is expensive. Like, really expensive. We're talking $14 a yard for FAKE leather. Definitely not something I can afford to buy in bulk. I'm going to try and find something a little bit cheaper yet still high quality. Worse comes to worst I'll incorporate the leather in a smaller, more affordable way. A huge part of my Etsy shop is to make cute clothes that are fashion forward and AFFORDABLE for the everyday girl. Using expensive fabrics would increase the price of garments, which would take away from that goal. Definitely not something I'm interested in doing.
At this point in the project, I feel a little bit stuck and unsure of where to start next and a little apprehensive to begin purchases. I'm going to try and sit down with my mom this week to work out where my initial funding is going to come from. I need to take time to outline my business in order to remain organized and efficient.

I have attached a very rough and tentative sketch of a dress I want to put in my collection (I'm trying to sketch on my iPad so it shows up better on here. Needless to say I'm still getting used to it). It probably won't be white, but the collar and pockets will be black leather, and the top will be black lace lined with a neutral color that goes with the dress. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Pattern Making

Motivating myself to begin this project has proved to be an extremely large obstacle. I began making patterns for some of the pieces in my collection, and for a self-taught pattern-maker it's going surprisingly well. I started making patterns a few years ago when I made myself a Christmas dress, and  it was surprisingly simple. However, this time around I have been experimenting with harder silhouettes that proves to be more difficult. For some reason I really do not understand sleeves. Contrary to popular belief, they are not tube shaped things that you sew into a garment. They are incredibly oddly shaped and I don't understand how to make them. First obstacle of the 20 time project? I guess I'll have to figure it out considering 3 garments in my collection have sleeves... Time to bring in the mentor. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Em by Emily

Coming up with the idea for this project was easy, I've always wanted to have my own store selling the clothes that I make and design. The hard part, however, is going to be actually executing the plan. In order to have my store open to the general public I have to provide a range of sizes (technically I don't HAVE to, but I want to appeal to all kinds of buyers on etsy). The plan is to hopefully create two or three garments per standard size of small, medium, and large. For an eight piece collection, this means at least 48 garments. I guess we will see how that goes.
1. Create samples for every piece in the collection. These will be used to photograph and put on the website but never  actually sold
2. Photograph the clothing in an interesting way to captivate buyers
3. Make the clothes that will be for sale. Will MOST LIKELY make the store live once one sample is created for every size 
4. Set standard prices based on amount spent on materials for the largest size, with a profit margin large enough to continue buying materials

I have a feeling this is going to keep me extremely busy this year.