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Don't Be Afraid to Cut: How Manipulating Garments Leads to Better Apparel Development

In the world of apparel development, a well-run fitting session is crucial for creating high-quality garments. This blog post, the final installment in a series on running effective fittings, dives into the importance of making adjustments directly on your prototype clothing.

The Power of Cutting and Marking

The traditional approach to garment fitting involves marking and even cutting the sample garments. This allows for adjustments that visualize potential pattern revisions, leading to significant improvements in the next round. However, there's a recent trend of avoiding modifications to preserve the garments.

I've noticed that a lot of brands want to "save" their proto samples for wear testing or photography, but you're truly doing a disservice to your product line by doing this. Your prototype is sent to you for fitting. If you need to run a wear test or hold a photo shoot, you should really be ordering additional samples for those needs.

Why You Should Cut and Mark

While it's understandable to want to keep your prototype in pristine condition if you're trying to use it for multiple purposes, the true purpose of a prototype is to refine the design and ensure a perfect final product. Being hesitant to make adjustments hinders the fitting process and limits the valuable feedback you can glean.

Would you rather make sure to get a pretty picture on your website, or gain a customer for life? The lifetime value of a customer is going to be exponential, compared to the results you'll get from a photo shoot. Make sure to adjust your garment so that the fit, feel, comfort and functionality of your garment makes your customers coming back to your brand for years and years to come!

A Case Study in Cutting for Clarity

I recently had a real-life experience where I encountered resistance to cutting a jersey prototype during a fitting. We were struggling to pinpoint fit issues that were causing a cycling jersey to ride up and wrinkle drastically around the neck. By simply cutting off the sleeves, we were able to see how the garment draped naturally, revealing the need for a wider armhole and shoulder area.

If we'd not taken a pair of scissors to that jersey, we might have rebalance the entire garment, reduced the shoulder slope and reshaped the neckline. That's what it looked like it needed before we relaxed the shoulders!

This visual demonstration convinced the team of the actual necessary changes, leading to a more balanced and comfortable garment in the next iteration. Interestingly, this experience transformed their approach to fittings. Now, the first question they ask is, "Can we cut it?"

Embrace the Cut for Better Results

The key takeaway is that manipulating the garment during a fitting provides invaluable insights. Don't be afraid to cut or mark your prototype – it's a necessary step in the development process. This allows you to identify and address fit issues more effectively, ultimately leading to a superior final product.

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