Have you ever been just a tad bit curious about a Designer's design process?
When I worked at Nordstrom way back when, I developed a true appreciation for how certain designers made their clothes and the amount of time it takes to go from the design stage to holding an actual item but I have never really understood exactly what happened.
It has always been something I have admired and wanted to know more about.
Last week I sat down with Courtney Kates the designer behind Maison Du Soir, a sleepwear line that I adore and have featured previously here on the blog, to chat about her design process. She patiently walked me through each step, from start to finish. It was incredibly fascinating. I had to share because I think we sometimes forget how hard designers work to create pieces that we love. Here is a little walk through the Maison Du Soir process...
Picking out the fabric and colors for a collectionWhat originally caught my eye when I first saw Maison Du Soir were the colors used and the beautiful silk selected. Courtney does an incredible job of bringing beautiful color combinations together. Can you imagine how fun it is to select from so many options?!
Here is a look at the color combinations and silk selected for the Fall 2014 collection.
Creating the drawings
After the colors and fabrics have been selected, it is time to start designing. Courtney will begin by drawing it out, assigning colors and creating different styles. Then she will move to having tech sketches created, which will pull together the line as a whole and allow her to make sure that all the pieces work together. These tech sketches will provide not only the design but specific instructions for the bindings and hems.
Patterns and Salesmen Samples
Once the tech sketches are confirmed, it is time to move to paper pattern making and the creation of a Salesmen sample. The Salesmen sample is the sample that will be brought to accounts to showcase the collection prior to production. Below is a Salesmen sample from a new piece launching this Fall.
Once the paper pattern has been confirmed, it is time to make different sizes. The pattern is digitized and then graded to get the cuts needed for each size. As you move up in each size, the pattern becomes a certain percentage larger.
Calculating your fabric
Ever wonder how a designer knows how much fabric they are going to need? Once the patterns are created for each size, a marker is created on fabric paper based on how many of each size Courtney would like and printed for the cutter. Below is a small scale example.
Time to cut!
Both the marker and rolls of fabric are taken to the Cutter and the cutting begins!
Once all the fabric is cut (can you imagine the number of pieces of fabric you are now responsible for?!) it is off to the Sewer. When arriving at the Sewer, Courtney must ensure she has EVERYTHING. The fabric, the elastic, the buttons, the labels, the hang tags. EVERYTHING. Once the Sewer has everything, the final products are created.
On top of having the pieces created, Courtney works on putting together a media kit to accompany the Salesmen samples to be delivered to different accounts and publications. This kit will include the photo shoot and a line sheet, showing each item available in the collection, along with the fabric options.
At the end, a beautiful collection is created and as a designer, Courtney hopes everyone loves it as much as she does.
And I do.
Then she starts all over for the next season.
Sitting with Courtney and talking through this entire process, you can feel the passion she has towards her design and it makes me love Maison Du Soir that much more. I also have a new found respect for all the time, work and love that is poured into creating just one collection. And she creates a couple collections a year! It is amazing.
Makes you think a little more about the clothes you own and how much was put into creating that one piece doesn't it?
Thank you Courtney for sharing your process. You're the best!
I can't wait to see the final Fall 2014 collection!
If you would like to preview the entire Maison Du Soir line, click here.
You really should. It is gorgeous.