One of the first questions people ask is "who comes up with the ideas, them or you?" And the answer is both. Betsy Burger, my design director is the best at keeping up with the latest trends and TV and movies that are popular. But I, living outside New York City, am aware of some thinks she might not be. I'd have to say though, lately, more come from her. But, that doesn't mean she designs them for me. After I'm told what they are looking for, I then have to send in design sketches, which she then will critique and show others. And I will make corrections, etc.
The maximum amount of paper that can fit into an envelope is 4 large sheets of pattern tissue, but then with only 3 guide sheets. If the instructions are very complicated and 4 guide sheets are needed, then only 3 large sheets of pattern tissue can fit. And remember, part of the instructions need to be for Spanish and French translations.
So, when designing something that will be turned into a commercial pattern these are the things I have to keep in mind all the time.
1. Are there too many or too large pattern pieces?
2. I make the sample size, but when the pattern is made into larger sizes will the pieces still fit on the 3 or 4 large pieces of tissue paper.
3. Am I making the construction too hard to be explained clearly on the guide sheet?
4. Will the fabrics chosen photograph well?
5. Whenever possible, I'm told to use fabrics and trims from chain fabric stores so most people can find similar fabrics.
6. Can the same pattern pieces be used for several garments?
7. To make a skirt or cape really full, I will make a piece that can be cut multiple times.
8. If it is a costume, will it be comfortable to wear?
9. If it is a costume, will it be flattering on most people?
And most importantly, is this a design that lots of people will want to make?
Everything I do has to be approved by the folks in Simplicity's design office.
And I never forget how lucky I am to have such a terrific job!
Tomorrow, I well tell you how is my handmade pattern transformed into a Simplicity pattern that fits into that little envelope.