Process and Services
Aletheia Design + Sewing Service is based on a collaborative product development model and is happy to offer these services on an a la carte basis to fit the needs and strengths of your brand:
Hard copy pattern making / Pattern edit – $40/hr
Fit Audit $40/hr
Samplemaking – $40/hr
Cut and bundle/Hard copy marker making – $30/hr
Small batch cut and sew (20-200 units) – piece rate
In-house guts, notions, and trim – price per yard or unit
HOW IT WORKS: the development process
Step 0: Be ready
Before we can get started, there a few things that need to be determined:
- your design(s) – can be a sketch or a ready-made garment to start from
- your fabric, trims, and other inputs
- your target customer’s body type and base size (size M or equivalent)
Sourcing, sizing, and aesthetic are all specific to each brand and designer, and these foundational styling and purchasing decisions are best made ahead of time by the brand owner. Waiting to find fabric or choose your base size can cost unnecessary time and money, especially when working toward a production deadline.
Step 1: Develop a style or two
Once you have a design, fabric, and your sizing strategy, we can create a beginning pattern. If you are just getting started, it’s best to develop your trademark style first – something that perfectly fits your brand identity and can be used going forward as a basis for other winning styles. There are a few ways to complete this step:
- hire Aletheia DSS to make your starting pattern. The most affordable approach for this option is to provide a purchased garment which best represents your fit, style, and sizing requirements and specify the unique changes that you want to see in your design. Patterns can also be made from scratch; this is a much more timely endeavor and requires extensive technical specification. $40/hour – estimate 4-8 hours with a starting garment, 8-18 hours from scratch. Hard copy only.
- do your own pattern making: if you are confident in your own engineering skills or want to retain control over style lines, you may provide your own pattern. We can clean it up and make necessary changes during sampling.
- hire a digital pattern service – use a referral or find your own independent pattern maker to make your starting pattern. This is a good option for highly technical designs or brands with tech packs. Cost varies.
Step 2: Sample, cost, and edit
Sampling is the crucial element to your garment’s success in the real world. We can work together to identify issues in design, pattern, or materials as well as determine the most cost-effective way to produce the style. It is rare that a style needs only one round of sampling; count on two or three unless your style is already well developed before coming to the shop. It’s important to take the time to make each design the best it can be before taking it to market or production.
Brands with outside pattern makers should offer a technical sketch or working garment and any important style notes to streamline the sampling process. The first sample is always the most expensive and requires more communication between designer, pattern maker, and sample marker; each subsequent sample will be much faster and less expensive to do. $40/hr – estimate 4-8 hours for a first round sample.
We always sample the base size – size M or whatever is equivalent in your own size range.
With each round of sampling, Aletheia DSS will provide you with a working document detailing inputs and rough allocation, design elements and changes, initial and revised production cost estimates, and style notes for suggested improvements, pattern tweaks, and other issues to address before moving forward.
Step 3: Market and presales
Aletheia DSS wants your brand to succeed! A great way to know that your money will be well spent is to collect orders before investing in a production run. Each brand will have to decide how to sell their product. Trade shows, Kickstarter platforms, and email marketing are all ways to gather sales ahead of time, or find a sales rep to do this work efficiently. Cost varies.
Some brands choose to wait to sell until after production – this is a less risky business decision if you are only planning on producing a small order (20-50 units).
Step 4: Grade approved pattern
Once our pattern and materials are finalized, it is time to grade the base size up and down to include the entire size range your brand intends to offer. This is most accurately and efficiently done using a digital pattern service.. A pattern must be digitized (made into a computer file) to be graded; once this occurs it is easy to calculate fabric needs, print cutting layouts, and use your perfect pattern to create new styles later on. You can use a referral or find your own grading service. Cost varies.
Aletheia DSS and most grading services advise sampling a size set before moving forward. This means sewing up as many sizes as you can afford in the final fabric in order to test them on different bodies within your size range. Size sets are less expensive than editing samples and they are generally faster to do. $30/hr – estimate 1-2 hrs per unit.
Step 5: Production
If each preceding step has been done properly and carefully, production will the easy and least expensive part of the process. In the weeks leading up to your scheduled production date, Aletheia DSS will provide you with another working document with cut order information, finalized costs, and required inputs. It will be up to you to confirm production details and get all inputs and downpayment to the shop by the start date to ensure a timely end date. Production minimum is 20 units per style per colorway. Maximum is 200 pc. $20-$30/hr per piece rate quote + any shop inputs (interfacing, snaps etc).
The rest is up to you!
Once you have a product to sell, you can decide how to prepare it for retail or ship it to customers.
Knock ’em dead!