So, now that you know all about the sampling process, I can tell you that we are currently waiting for a final sample in our base size, and from there we will move to size set samples which we have requested will also be a pre-production sample (meaning our size set samples will include everything production will include, correct materials, trims, labels) and we will use these moving forward as our samples for people to try on and feel at upcoming motorcycle events this fall. Stay tuned for more on those events!
All my best,
A little peek into the sampling process for apparel:
I realize not everyone knows exactly what goes on behind the scenes in order to bring new apparel products to the market so for those of you interested I thought I’d break it down for those of you who are interested!
You can break the sampling portion of the process into two stages: prototyping and pre-production samples.
Prototypingis when you start the design process with an idea and some sketches! The prototyping stage is the process of turning those sketches and illustrations into a real garment. This is when you spend time going back and forth with a patternmaker about how you want things to be sewn, where you want the seam lines to sit, how a pocket opens etc. There is usually a bit of back and forth between the designer and the pattern maker and then the pattern is sent to a sample sewer to make the first prototype! From there you receive the prototype, fit it on a real person, wear test it in action (in our case, on and off a motorcycle) and decide what needs to be tweaked to make it better! From there you go back to the patternmaker/sewers with the adjustments you want to make and get another prototype sample.
This stage is all done in one size, referred to as the “Base Size”, which is usually a size Medium. (Size Medium varies a little from company to company or from industry to industry. I’m sure some of you can attest to this as it is especially varied in women’s brands- frustrating I know!) In general, most companies do about 3 or 4 prototypes before a new style moves on to the next stage - per-production - and the ultimate goal: production!
After the design has been confirmed on the base size, materials and trims (zippers, snaps, tags, logos) are ordered for final production and the pre-production sampling process begins. This stage is where you take the base size and a patternmaker grades all the pattern pieces to make patterns for all the other sizes the style will be made in. Then you get to see more samples! These are called Size Set Samples and the factory makes one sample in each size the style will come in, for example if a jacket comes in size XS - XXL, a company would receive 6 samples of that jacket, measure all the samples and fit them on people of each size to see how it fits.
After assessing these samples, you decide if any of the grading needs to be adjusted, or if any of the sizing is off. If the sizing is off, that usually means a couple extra samples but if the sizing is working for you and your customers you move on to one final sample where the factory makes your styles EXACTLY as they are going to make it in bulk production. Until this point you might see a few things that are slightly different from what you’d want in production - like your *zipper sliders might not have any *zipper pulls on them, materials may not be the correct colour and you likely don’t have any of the final labels inside the jacket (example: the label inside the back of your jacket with the brand’s name, size, and country of origin.)
I hope this gives you more of a window into what goes into making your Augusta & Adeline gear a reality!
- *zipper slider - the metal part of the zipper that slides up and down on the zipper teeth to open and close the zipper.
- *zipper pull - the piece of metal or webbing / cord that you grip when moving the zipper slider up and down to open or close a zipper.