How It's Made
Making quality clothing takes time. Each of our garments takes anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to complete from start to finish — and that's not including all the designing, drafting, and grading that goes on beforehand! We don't take shortcuts, and we obsess over every little thing, but that's just what makes our clothing so special.
It takes me a lot of time to put together a collection, and a lot of the reason for that is because I obsess over the details. Every piece has to be beautiful, has to be functional, has to be comfortable, has to fit perfectly, has to make sense on its own but also make sense with the collection. I obsess over pockets: where to put them, how many, how big, what kind. I obsess over the length of every garment: it can't be too short, nor too long, and it needs to work with a variety of different heights and shoe types. I obsess over fabric: whether it's soft, how it drapes, how it looks in different lighting conditions. I obsess over linings — and subsequently line just about anything that makes sense to line. I obsess over seam finishes and which ones to use (it's almost always French seams). I obsess over fit. I obsess over details like bias-bound armholes and blind hems. I obsess over buttons, as evidenced by my always-growing vintage button collection. In some fields, being so obsessive might pose a problem, but in clothing design I like to think that a little obsession makes everything a lot better.
Once I've nailed down the garment I want to make and the fabric I want to make it in, I then begin to draft a pattern. Our patternmaking process is done entirely by hand, with pencil and paper and scissors and tape. Drafting a pattern is essentially like drafting a blueprint for a garment — each section of fabric that will eventually be cut and sewn together starts out as a flat piece of paper, meticulously drafted so that each measurement and curve is just right. There's something so magical to me about creating a 2-dimensional pattern and using it to make a 3-dimensional garment — even after making hundreds of patterns, I'm still in awe of and in love with the process.
All our patterns start out as base blocks in a size 4 (or Small), which we alter to create our designs (an A-line skirt! French darts! Billowy sleeves!) and then grade from 00-16 (or XS-XL). We make a lot of prototypes and muslins to get the fit perfect before beginning grading, which then requires more fit testing. We make many samples, prototypes, and muslins of each style in every collection before releasing our collections to the world, most of which are never shown to the world.
Making quality clothing takes time. Each garment we create takes anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to complete from start to finish. The production process varies garment by garment, but it usually includes:
- Pre-washing, dyeing, and pressing the fabric
- Laying out each paper pattern piece on the fabric
- Cutting out pattern pieces and transferring any markings with chalk
- Sewing, trimming, and pressing seams, hems, collars, plackets, and pockets
- Sewing, trimming, and pressing some more
- Hand-sewing buttons, labels, hooks and eyes, and other small components
- Doing a final pressing/steaming of the garment
Much of what makes our clothing so well-constructed is how we perform each step. In an effort to make well-made clothing that is as beautiful on the inside as it is the outside, we do many small things:
- We sew all our seams with sturdy, beautiful seams finishes such as French seams, flat-fell seams, and Hong Kong seams. You will never see any serged edges in the inside of our garments! Taking the extra time to sew high-quality seam finishes makes a garment more durable as well as more attractive.
- We don't take shortcuts with our dress and skirt linings. Our lined garments are fully lined, meaning that in the construction process we are basically sewing an extra dress out of lining fabric and attaching it at the end. Lining a garment not only makes the garment not sheer on the outside and attractive in the inside, but it also greatly increases the longevity of the garment by putting less stress on the main fabric.
- Our buttons are sewn by hand, making them super sturdy and (almost) impossible to fall off. (If you do ever happen to lose a button, though, we're happy to send you another one.)