Friday, August 30, 2013


Sample makers are highly skilled. 

A sample garment is an item of clothing used in the fashion industry to represent a clothing style that will be, or is being mass-produced in a range of sizes. The methods used in making sample clothes are the same as those used in mass-production with one exception: one person sews a sample garment together. Many people are involved in the making of a mass-produced garment.

How sample making differs from mass-production:

Mass-produced clothing is made in a factory where each sewing machine operator does one to three or more steps of the assembly process.

Samples are usually made in designing departments.

A sample maker is a seamstress who can make an entire garment using industrial sewing procedures. Sample makers are intelligent and highly skilled. They women work closely with the patterrnmakers and designers, making suggestions and criticisms that are carefully listened to as their suggestions and criticisms will offset problems on the factory floor when the garment is put into production. Traditionally sample makers begin their careers as piece workers in clothing factories where they learn first one operation and then another until finally they know the entire sewing procedure involved in manufacturing clothing.

One sample-maker is responsible for sewing the entire garment together, checking for errors as she does so, and often deciding, as she sews the sample together, the sewing procedures that will work best for that garment when it is mass-produced. Some sample-makers also cut the garments they sew.

Hand sewing is done  in designing departments on high-end garments

Gowns made in 1969 for Atlantic City's Miss America contest.
Sample making procedures are also used in the fashion industry to produce high-end garments for retail and special events. Hand sewing is seldom done in mass-production. But this is not the case with high-end garments that often cost thousands of dollars. These garments are usually cut and sewn in the designing departments. The exclusive right to a style garment may be purchased by a high-end store such as Sax Fifth Avenue. A customer will see the sample and decide to order the garment. It will then be made to size in the manufacturer’s designing department.

The very best machine and hand sewing I have ever seen has been in the industry. One might ask what could possibly be so wonderful about a garment that has a price tag of $10,000. But if you were to see such a garment you would fully understand. These clothes are so beautiful and feel so good on the body one might think they were made in heaven.

Sample making is a responsible job. It requires a thorough understanding of how a garment is manufactured.


Link for Laurel's books on Amazon
P:215 884 7065, C:610 908 7222

Monday, August 5, 2013


Ever wonder how designers organize a line of clothing? Ever wish you could do that for yourself? Come learn how August 28, Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Wadsworth Public Library, 1500 Wadsworth Avenue, Philadelphia where I’ll be presenting a free seminar, Personal Designing & Shopping.

Learn how to efficiently produce an exquisite wardrobe utilizing the same procedures as the industry pros! These techniques from the fashion industry will make organizing your and your family members’ wardrobes much easier. You will find that analyzing individual color and wardrobe styles are not all that difficult to understand. Combined with personal wardrobing, dressing becomes just so much easier.

Included will be tips on how to better organize your closet. You will be given information on how to successfully shop for even the pickiest family member.
Because the most important aspect of anyone’s clothing is color the seminar will include information about color analysis. Done correctly it brings out the very best of a person’s looks. The difference wearing one’s best colors make in one’s appearance is almost unbelievable.
In the above picture Fati is being color analyzed. It’s obvious, just by looking at the picture that one of Fati’s best colors is dark green. Not surprising if you have some knowledge of Johannes Itten’s seasonal color theory. You would therefore be aware that her best season is winter and her second best, autumn. I’ve always found Itten’s seasonal color theory the easiest to understand and use. But no matter what color theory one uses, an individual’s best colors are always the same.

In my classes students drape each other and discuss which colors look best. You will learn how to do that at the seminar, August 28. Having a group determine its members’ color palettes works well, enabling the members to become more knowledgeable about color theory.

Once one is aware of one’s best colors and style shopping becomes much easier. It is important to first analyze one’s wardrobe, eliminating the clothing that doesn’t work, determining what is needed to complete clothing that does work. A swatch book in one’s palette is helpful with selecting what works, with organizing, and when shopping.

After eliminating what doesn't work, one should organize what is left. Piling up fabrics that work together spark ideas of what to make that will look good and be enjoyable to wear.

If you sew, organizing a swatch book of fabrics already owned to take with you to the fabric store is a very good idea. The swatch book enables buying fabrics that coordinate with what one already has. It also prevents buying fabric just like that already owned.  Writing the yardages of favorite patterns on the front cover prevents over buying. 

Colors vary in different lighting. Those that match in fluorescent light may not match in incandescent light. Natural light is almost always the best lightening to use when checking color coordination. This is why it is important to check the colors of purchases with each other and with swatches and clothing brought from home.
Organizing solves the problem of what to wear, creating a wardrobe that not only works, but provides clothing ready for use whatever the occasion. When one looks in a closet of a color-coordinated wardrobe, one sees the owner’s color palette. That’s when you know you have done it right.
For more information about the seminar
Contact: Juanita Vega-DeJoseph at 215-685-9293 - Wadsworth Free Library
or Laurel Hoffmann at 215 884 7065

Here are some links to color and wardrobing information and materials on the net that my students and I have found helpful:

For information about personal color and wardrobing I’ve always found Carole Jackson’s books, Color Me Beautiful and Color for Men to be outstanding. Each presents a practical application of seasonal color palette system, combined with a realistic approach to individualistic wardrobing .  

In her book Always in Style with Color Me Beautiful Doris Pooser proposes Color Flow, which she discovered and developed into 12 seasonal color palettes. Her book includes her color charts which explain exactly how this color theory works. Her discovery takes the seasonal color theory one step further, making it much easier to understand and use.

Determining one’s best colors is not always easy. Of all the disciplines involved with designing and making clothing the most difficult is color. Help with this can be found on the net at Stylemakeovers. They offer free, on-line color makeover. They will color analyze from a photo for a very reasonable fee. They also sell excellent color swatch books.

Style and the Man by Alan Flusser, noted NYC expert on men's high-end tailoring. Excellent information on impeccable dressing, plus global sourcing of men's clothing stores.

The Triumph of Individual Style by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor. Through some of the world's greatest artists this book shows the beauty of all figure types and aspects, and how to conceal or highlight them.

Women of Color by Darlene Mathis. Excellent book on determining personal color palettes for women of color.


Link for Laurel's books on Amazon
P:215 884 7065, C:610 908 7222