We live in an utterly fucked up world.
Where we are happy to fight in defence in our own rights and own wellbeing, but close our eyes and look the other way, when it is about somebody else’s.
In fact, we even try to force a beneficial injustice for us whenever we can.
Let get back to me the dressmaker.
I started to make custom made pieces back in 2008, when I failed big time…
Wanna know why?
I believed what my costumers told me.
“oh, but XY costumier does this whole thing for me for less than 200 euros. ..”
Talking about: a fake leather g string, bra, corselette, shorts, big tull skirt, a head piece and a jacket. Designed, sewed and lavishly hand decorated….
So she wanted better than that, but for less money.
I started my piece in question and realized how I will hardly make the price of material out of the sum.
Then, another, a seemingly simple lycra piece… have you ever sewn lycra? Could you do it for 30 euros? Well only the material needed surpassed 20 euros. (long dress)
The patterning? The labour? The machinery? The knowledge? Queeze that in 10 euros, cuz y’know, a poor little stripper getting at the time 120+ euros per day cannot afford paying you more than 2-3 euros an hour?
And now, back to 2015.
I started my new project out, with the massive input from my baby daddy, who is responsible for the purchase of the industrial machinery I own, so that his little preggo momma wouldn’t be bored at home.
What goes into a dress?
This part surely has no monetary value, just ask any fashionista…
Obviously, we just eye measure and hand draw and kabooom. Magic happens.
After this sudden sparkle of magic, this pattern just multiplies itself into different sizes, flies and sticks on the textile and cuts itself.
If you see 0.2 m2 of fabric approx of a dress then it obviously means the pattern was made out of 0.2 meters of fabric, right? We all know, that you can buy a 20cm x 20 cm square at the textile shop, right?Which must be something dirth cheap to get out there, even, must be something you find for free on the street!
Then you sew this all together in less than 5 minutes.
You were born with this talent, you could just handle industrial machinery by nature and from the age of 5. (Apart of having slipped out fearlessly from your moms womb in an oversplit position to also become an effortless circus artist)
Let’s start this again, shall we…
People get degrees in this field, although I’m against the whole educational system, but still then, you need basic drawing skills and fantasy of the tonload. (you can also copy, why not? It’s good for you…)
Someone has to make a pattern, draft the sizes and cut them out.
Pattern making is at least a two year long school, or without schooling, still massive hours inverted in self education.
Also: space for a table, paper, markers, french curve (the f**k is that you ask….)
At the beginning you just use the living room floor, so I did at age 12, or I do whenever the piece is bigger than my table.
Once you have your little dossiers of patterns set up (that never mix up, never get lost and never get teared, so you never have to redo then, obviousity here).
You just cut them….
You draw or pin them (forget this on lycra or thin material) on, cut one by one, or two by two, at the bestest of strength I would stop by 3 pieces of fabric on top of each other at once. (or cutting machine… which is another investment)
If you draw, you cannot write “FRONT” and “BACK” with a marker in the middle obviously. You want to draw so that once sewn no drawing is seen.
Patterns don’t just mash up on the textile. They have a direction that needs to be followed. So you might push a piece 20 times next, on top and all over the fabric, but most likely once cut out 19 pieces sewn will end in the garbage or stay for personal use, as are not sale quality.
So in any case a surplus of fabric has to be counted for mistakes, because people still make mistakes.
And now you sew all together, carefully, so you won’t cut the pattern into half with the serger, many times with elastics you need serious pinning before passing it with the machine, to avoid distortion of the pieces, pinned so that it won’t show pin marks once you are done.
So here goes the done in 5 minutes bubble.
Apart of taste and talent, it obviously includes knowledge.
Oh and knowledge of the machinery, that brings in a costy detail, the specialized mechanic, who might as well charge half of your kidney to figure why a stitch skips…
(I’ve been fighting my kansai coverstitch for about 3 weeks and I am giving up, will need to call a mechanic)
Competing with the sweatshops
Have you ever researshed this topic? Do you know what you wear? Where it comes from?
Yes, a top in big brand shops is dirt cheap. Made in a questionable country under questionable circumstances, and by, well, not so questionable almost slave labour.
If you ask me, I rather buy a 30 euro cloth diaper made by a young mom in the north of Spain, than 10 euro made in China piece, cuz it’s cheaper… (In this case for the benefit of a baby bum)
Please stop being %@##&%%^!
You want it all! Bigger, better, shinier, comfier, more durable, but cheaper than the underwear in a chinese store…
I’ve just been around trying to sell my shit here in Bcn, good God, people, I already desire the end of the world to come.
So here’s this (terribly done zigzags, awful pattern, etc. Let’s call it a dress)
Can you make it cheaper than…?
I offer quality here. Quality, that calls someone’s attention from the other end of the room to come take a closer look, just like that.
Not wanting quality is not taking yourself seriously on the first place…
What does a sex-shop bought factory made unitard say about an artist?
What does a garnment so not well done, that others wouldn’t let their kids going to a Halloween party in it, tell about you as an artist?
Or on a sport championship?
It says CHEAP!!!
Do you go into Zara or Mango and say ‘hey, this dress is pretty, but can you sell it to me for the half of the price, since it’s only serves to out a fancy evening, so I won’t be using it that much.’
So, this is how that ‘I cannot afford spending so much on a piece I will be putting on once or twice sounds like in a different context…
I own yoga stuff from the chinese, they are good for 6-12 months, then cleaning cloth, or at best undone seams all over the place….
The pieces you get from a quality costumier are in most cases bulletproof.
The individual producer vs. The factory
Remember history class? Industrialization?
Craftsmen -> Manufacture -> Factory?
The costumier is a craftsman not a factory.
A factory has material by the ton, machines equipped and calibrated to only do the tiniest detail, if necessary. Workers only doing one single task, like a machine only to sew the necklines of the T-shirt.
Rollers, pullers, binders, overlocks, different coverstitches, the people, they just pass the product on and do their detail.
Whereas me and my kind we do it all by ourselves. We need to change machine settings, set up the thread, handsew, cut, decorate, measure, pattern, etc.
Buy the materials!! That can take hours of our lives, and nope, it is not fun, it is work.
And once again, the fact that I like my job doesn’t mean it should not be payed.
So, after my negative hate the world rant.
Please appreciate other people’s work, let it be of an artist, a costumier, or your regular cashier in the supermarket.