Saturday, May 30, 2009

I've been thinking

**Do you sometimes wonder what your garments would be worth in the retail market? I was on the Sara Campbell website and realized that she is selling sheath dresses from $250 to $328. I make a lot of sheath dresses...does that mean the dresses that I create would be worth that much in retail?

**I need to snoop shop again soon. I need to make a trip to an upscale shop like Bergdorf Goodman's or the Saks Fifth Avenue or maybe some of the designer boutiques on Madison Avenue - and sneak a peek at some interior construction. I need to up my sewing game especially after that invisible zipper debacle.

**I noticed that I'm sewing a lot less this year than I have in past years...and I wonder if its because my wardrobe is full of pretty awesome garments...or am I just lazier this year?!

**Finally I've reached a point in my sewing that I've been dreaming of since my 20s. I now have the time to sew, as well as, the money to spend on fabric and patterns like I want. When I was younger, I coveted the time, experience and collection of fabric of some of my sewing mentors, as well as, some of my sewing friends. So it has always been my desire to be able to work with affordable, quality fabrics making some awesome garments. I think I've finally arrived.

**I recently bought a new Rowenta Steam Generator Iron and I still haven't taken it out of the box. Pointed comments have been made about how long the box has sat there...I guess I need to unbox it.

**Ummm, getting pics in those last few posts haven't been easy. I still don't have a new hard drive...that will arrive in the middle of June. So I took my scan disk card to the local drugstore that develops pics and will also give you the pics on a cd. I took said cd to work to upload pics...ummm...since we've moved to flashdrives for everything...no cd tray. In the graphics department, a friend transferred the pics from a cd to a flashdrive. Finally, they got loaded onto Flickr and then the blog. Convoluted yes...was it worth it? YES! Cause seriously how can you show a garment without pictures?

See, I've been thinking....

13 comments:

  1. I sometimes wonder what my garments would be worth. It can be difficult to factor in the custom-fit factor in the value. DH, when I finished his new linen shirt last week, said it was his new $400shirt.

    Not bad for $5/yard fabric from FM and maybe 10 hours work total including the muslin fitting.

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  2. I have to travel to either Southampton or Huntington to snoop shop high end shops. I am generally to lazy for that. But, there is a small interesting boutique in my town who carries small designers for the most part and a mix of clothing that appeals to the locals and the weekend summer city crowd. Much more casual than you look for, but perfect for my lifestyle. She has interesting cuts and fabrics, and a pretty minimalist aesthetic and rather sophisticated. My fabrics are on a par with the clothing, the finishes are not better than mine but they are much simpler than the pattern companies instruct. Not a facing in site except in jackets. The edges are narrow and she has a collection of light tunics, ala Calypso and Tory Birch, but simpler and cheaper. The neck edges are simple French bindings exactly like tops I brought back from India. Jackets and coats have very little construction detail and are of course not lined in silk like mine are these days thanks to Fabric Mart.
    Her things are mid priced and I don't see the finish that I have seen at Saks on Burberry or Armani etc. But my lifestyle doesn't warrant that kind of clothing either. What are my knits worth? My good fit on pants and skirts? Well Net a Porter has knits that are $200 and above for relatively simple things in rayon jersey, hundreds for pants. Is it just the name or is the fabric that much better than I can buy? All I know is that I can sew it for a lot less, even in good fabric.

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  3. The problem with trying to price clothing you make is coming up with what your time is worth. I can put on paper how much the fabric, pattern, notions, etc... cost, but what are my time and talent worth? Most people who want to buy home sewn items think they will get them for less than ready made. UH, no I don't think so! There are some out there who really appreciate the one of a kindness of home sewn stuff though.
    Your things are awesome.
    It's good to be at a place in your life where you can buy the fabrics you want and have to time to sew them into beautiful garments. Congrats!

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  4. Yes you have reached a great time in your life. It's lovely to be able to have the knowledge and references available to do that things you want to in lovely fabrics you can afford. I'm working toward it slowly. Keep up the encouragement and support.

    And take the iron out of the box - I love mine :) g

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  5. To reach the point where you have the time, the money, the experience, and the skill to do the things you wish to do AND to appreciate that achievement - that is something. I find myself with more time than money these days whereas when I was younger I had the money (double income, no kids!) but not the time (working too many hours). Now my kids are older and time is available but this economy has caused a belt tightening that does not allow for fabric purchases. Thank heavens for a stash to work with and develop skills and gain the experience. Thanks for reminding me to appreciate the time that I have as well as the equipment (where would I be without my treasured Pfaff!) that allow me to keep sane by sewing.

    Teresa Marie

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  6. I always thought that by this time in my life I would have the time but I don't. I keep thinking I am getting it, but no. The rest is there, and I fear that my skills are languishing but I hope they are only resting, not rusting away. You really have made an awesome collection of garments.

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  7. I'd say your garments would retail for a whole lot more. You are custom making, fitting to your client as well as taking the time to find fabric and notions that will set your garment apart. Yours are one of a kind and that alone, in my opinion, makes them priceless. Like you, I love that I have the time and money to sew as I want. I don't feel too guilty if I take some time out and do other things. A while ago you spoke about the planning time that goes into sewing, about how most of your time is spent with thoughts of your sewing in the back of your mind even when you're not actually sewing. Just because you spend less time at the machine doesn't mean you're not sewing! I'm keen to hear how you find the steam generator. I've been tossing up whether to buy one of those or one of the flat bed presses. Thanks for a very thought provoking post!

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  8. Carolyn, your dresses would definately be worth that much. Firstly they are custom made to fit you exactly, you have to pay extra to get alterations in RTW. Not to mention your quality of fabric and hand sewn details. Plus you get exactly what you want. How many times have you had a garment in your mind and headed for the shops to never find it?
    Maybe your not sewing as much due to the arrival of that cute little baby boy.... :)

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  9. I know exactly how you feel about having arrived! I'm at the same place and discovered I 've arrived but have no place to go to wear the things I want to make. Once again we come to the green grass on the other side of the fence!

    As to the iron I hope you like it better than I do. This is my second steam generator from Rowenta and I loved the first one. But with this one you cannot just pick it up and use the steam. After the iron has been put down for even a minute or two, when you pick it up you must hold the steam button down for perhaps 45 seconds and release all the water that has collected in the hose. If not it will just spit water all over. according to the manual this is tha way it is supposed to work. For sewing this is a problem for me because I put the iron down adjust the fabric, etc. If you find solution to this I'd love to know what it is.

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  10. You have been thinking! Thanks for sharing those thoughts. Like you I make a lot of sheath style garments. Just completed one. I have seen similar in local shops for over $120 and some less. I think mine look as nice and have taken some extra time to make sure that there are no strings left uncut, stitches are good, etc.

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  11. I purchased a Rowenta Steam Generator iron a week ago. I really like it. This is the first steam generator iron for me. I have not had any of the problems that I have read concerning it spitting water.

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  12. Oh I'm so warped in my idea of what clothes cost. My business is almost exclusively formal wear, and I compete with the locals and make a nice profit, but for casual stuff, I can not charge the same fee - people think custom-designed/sewn clothes are supposed to be cheaper than RTW - in Europe, Canada and outside US, this isn't a problem, and is well understood.

    As far as either replacing or (if my left hand fell off and couldn't sew again) I had to go out and buy what I'm wearing today, it would cost a fortune. Considering the fabrics I use, the quality of workmanship (have you all looked at RTW these days?....cheap, cheap cheap). Anyway to have to do RTW these days, I think I would learn to sew with one hand. I'm so spoiled now that I can do what I want.

    When I get ready to do something, it's usually a "feel" I'm after not really a specific look. One of these days when I get old, blind and can't sit to sew, I won't have a thing to wear!

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  13. I recently made a pair of linen pants, making the pattern myself, to fit only me. After all of the hand sewing and stitching in the waistband and such, I figured out that they were worth at least $200. It makes me feel good to wear them, knowing how much time I put into them.

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