Sell Your Work

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In reference to my post last week (about questions BurdaStyle users have regarding selling your work online, wholesale, retail) I decided to answer some of these questions here directly.

Last Thursday I addressed a myriad of questions as to how one goes about succeeding with an Etsy shop. Please read this for thorough details on steps to take to selling your goods online.

From Mirela:
This might sound silly, but I’m more interested in this: after you decide on a line (collection) and produce a garment for each pattern in the collection, how do you deal with the supplies for more? Do you buy larger quantities of fabric to have and sew on demand, do you sew everything in more sizes to begin with? (same questions as Bola). What kind of labels do you have to use, sizing, care instruction, contents, is it mandatory to have the labels?

That is the least silly question one could ask when talking about selling your collections wholesale. I had the same questions once I graduated from Fashion School- I was angry because I wasn’t necessarily trained to be a wholesale designer and I had many questions about selling my work. So I learned from experience. Take these steps when designing a collection you may put into production.

1. Sourcing, Sourcing,Sourcing. Seek out wholesale textile manufacturers so you will not be paying retail costs for your production fabric. For notions try to find wholesale price points. You can find many resources online, and you can request swatch books by mail to choose from. Make sure these items will be in stock for the next 4-8 months. If you can, buy extra, not too much or too little. You don’t want to overspend but it is always helpful to have extra. You decide, once your orders from retailers have come in, how much fabric you’ll need for production. Always ask for minimums and wholesale price breaks.

2. Labeling. You most definitely want your clothing to be labeled while it is also the law. Each garment must have a label, size tab, care instructions, where it was made ( i.e. “Made in the USA”) and hang-tags. This part I find quite fun, it is where your personality can shine through and your creativity can have a 2-dimensional outlet.

3. Samples. It is so important to have enough samples of your collection to be shown- and the craftmanship should be impeccable. I usually make 2-3 samples of each design: 1 for my showroom (usually a model’s size 2), 2 for press (usually a size 2 and 4), if a press contact wants to view your samples, you have one to mail. This is a good starting point- most young designers cannot afford to make many more. If your pieces are more “specialty” pieces, like phenomenal Rodarte for example, you will probably just make 1 sample.

It is extremely helpful to go into stores which carry like items to which yours would be represented like. Look at the hang-tags, the labels, the care instructions; these garments are made up of everything you need to know to prepare your own for selling retail and/or wholesale.

Scarf Dress Challenge- Last Day to Enter!

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Tomorrow, September 23rd, is the last day to submit your scarf dress for a chance to win a BERNINA activa 210 sewing machine! We know that you have been working hard all week creating your own amazing variations of the scarf dress. What? You haven’t created one yet? Don’t worry, there is still time to sew up this quick and easy project! Check out this blog post for details and download the instructions for the scarf dress at the Sewing Republic brought to you by BERNINA. We will be accepting entries through tomorrow (11:59 pm EST) so send ‘em in!

Beginner's Sewing Blog: Vintage Love

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I’m throwing a party this weekend called the decades party, everyone shows up as the decade they fit into best. Now, you all know me, I should have been born in the 40s. I have the perfect dress, but it needs some love

The dress is a hand made beautiful printed pink silk floor length gown. Unfortunately, time hasn’t been kind to this gown, there are holes where the fabric has worn through, one of the shoulders broke apart last time I wore it, and the hem has fallen. If I am going was going to wear it this weekend I had to bring it to the office for some serious rehab.

Independent Designers Guide

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I wrote an entry last week asking for questions you all have about being an independent designer and which areas you need advice in. The majority of comments led me to first touch on online sales & marketing, particularly selling your wares on websites such as Etsy, or your own. I spoke to editor-in-chief of Etsy’s blog,

Featured Member: Naughtylittlepony

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I am from Sussex in the South of England, and now live in London. I just got back from a Holiday in St Ives, Cornwall and wish I could move there!

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
The first thing I made was an applique wall hanging. I did a lot of sewing by hand before I found an a sewing machine, which was a bit of a eureka moment, and I made of all sorts of things before I got up the courage to try making clothes. I started sewing when I first met my husband, he had a flatmate at the time who had a cupboard full of fabric and sewing things. Sewing was a revelation for me, I have struggled in the past with other creative outlets as I couldn’t seem to just let myself enjoy creating without being hypercritical.

A Picture is Worth 1000 Words

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This past weekend I played dress-up with my dear friend Elissa. Elissa is a stylist extraordinaire, photographer and most recently a fashion designer with whom I used to live with in Florence, Italy. We have been taking photos together for a very long time, she even taught me how to develop photos with an enlarger in a little darkroom we created in a windowless bathroom in our flat in Florence.

Spolight on Designer Wenlan Chia of Twinkle by Wenlan

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We are excited to announce Wenlan Chia, an established designer of successful clothing, accessories and home décor lines. Twinkle by Wenlan, founded by Chia in 2000, has been rocking the runways at Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week since its 2002 debut. Known for incorporating knitwear into collections, Twinkle by Wenlan has won international critical acclaim. In the coming weeks we will release two sewing patterns of hers, one of which can be found in her new book Twinkle Sews which will be released on September 29th, the other is an exclusive for you BurdaStyle members. But first, we would like to introduce you to the driving force behind it all: Wenlan Chia, Founder and designer for Twinkle by Wenlan.

Scarf Dress Challenge - Win a BERNINA Sewing Machine!

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BurdaStyle and BERNINA have teamed up to bring you an awesome contest and a chance to win a brand new BERNINA activa 210 sewing machine.

Sewing Green brought to you by BERNINA

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The trend of going green is hard to ignore. Between the big factories, poor wages and the inefficient shipping, we all know that the culture and concept of disposable clothing just has to disappear. Take a look at America, in 2007 alone the country as a whole sent over 11.9 MILLION TONS of clothing to the landfills! Everyone reading this already has the right idea, handmade items not only fit better but also tell stories, and are cherished by those for whom they are made making them less disposable and therefore better for the environment.

BurdaStyle Sewing Club Update: Upcoming BSC Meetings!

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You don’t have to sew alone!

BSCs all over the world are gearing up for their latest meetings, and with the advent of our <a href= “http://burdastyleclubs.ning.com/&#8221;&gt;Ning Social Networking site, finding out upcoming dates is easier than ever! Here is a look at a few of the latest BSC happenings. Interested in joining one? Simply visit their respective Ning group page, or contact the BSC Leaders directly.

Beginner's Sewing Blog: Done! Well, sorta.

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I am finally pretty much done with my skirt, it only took a few more awkward moments and seams ripped out.

My lining is all kindsa crazy. We didn’t have enough big pieces, so I had to Frankenstein it together out of 5 smaller pieces. Some pieces just barely squeezed by, with slight chunks missing out of the bottom here and there. Attaching the lining was fairly easy, but of course, I did it a roundabout way so it took me much longer than it should have. Yet again, this is a good example of why you should read everything carefully. Once that was in place, I was set to hem!

Music Makes Fashion Makes Music...

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The connection between fashion and music is one of everlasting glory. Taking Londoners by storm in the early 1960s, fashion’s influence on music (and vice versa), became something incredibly meaningful and symbolic to a generation of young revolutionary minds. Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm Mclaren dressed the Sex Pistols early in the decade in ripped up t-shirts with safety pins and bondage gear- which literally kick-started the “punk” fashion aesthetic. Mary Quant invented the mini skirt and hot pant which every hippy & freedom lover of the 60s adapted into their wardrobes. The bikini made it’s

Bumpy Road to the First Patent on a Sewing Machine

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Check out this WIRED article by Randy Alfred on the first sewing machine patent that was filed by Elias Howe today – 163 years ago.

An earlier inventor in France, Barthelemy Thimonnier, patented a simple hand-stitch machine in 1830, but had to flee for his live after 200 tailors rioted, “destroying 80 sewing machines and throwing the pieces out the windows.” Another inventor, Walter Hunt, was afraid of the massive unemployment of seamstresses and did not pursue his ideas, as well.

Read here how this lovely invention went on quite an adventurous path before it became a mass product affordable for you today!

How a Sewing Machine Works

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Ever wonder how a sewing machine works? We found this really cool animation that shows you exactly what is “going on under the hood” so to speak.

Featured Member: Chri_stine

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1. Where are you from and/or where do you live?
I grew up and studied in Germany and after graduating from university lived in London for 2 1/2 years. My husband moved to Brooklyn for work in April, and I finally moved to Brooklyn three weeks ago after finishing my project at my job in London.

2. What was the 1st thing you made? How did you start sewing?
My mother used to sew a lot when I was little so I was always used to hearing the sewing machine and picked up the basics just by watching. One of the first things I really made that I can remember was probably a jacket

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