No matter what size your business or budget, you may have struggled to find a custom sewing company that could meet your needs without problems. Shipping a project overseas sounds much easier nowadays with the internet and global business, but there can still be communication, customs, and logistics problems that turn a simple project into a nightmare. If you have had these problems in the past or lay awake at night worrying that any one or all of them may sabotage your next project, here is some friendly advice with a secret I learned a long time ago for finding just the right person to sew your costumes, clothing samples, or other fabric projects.
There are skilled people and small to mid sized custom sewing companies and stitching contractors in the United States who will work with your US based or Canada based company to deliver your custom sewing project on time with fewer problems. The key to finding a good fabric artist or designer is in the details. What are the details of your next product that you need to make models of or what are your costume needs?
Some companies even have the ability to start with a simple sketch and to deliver the finished product or mock up on time and with no problems. How do you find such a company? Start with one that has worked with other companies similar to yours or companies that have similar needs.
References are the most important asset a good custom sewing company can produce along with pictures or even samples of finished products. Whether you need curtains for a trade show, costumes for a company mascot, or costumes for other purposes, a company that has samples to show you is a proven winner. The secret to finding a reliable person or company is to have them ship you samples.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample delivered to you via mail. Want to know how well your prospective costume maker or stitcher is, then ask him or her to send you a sample in the mail. See how quickly it arrives, how it is packaged, and what attention to detail he or she has shown you. This simple step will demonstrate to you that you have found a custom sewer who will be able to complete your project and deliver it on time and professionally.
I learned this trick from a friend of mine who is a buyer for a clothing company. I asked her how she always seemed to find such great suppliers and never had the problems I’d heard of other companies experiencing. She told me that the place to start researching a new company is their customer service, shipping, and project manager.
Don’t accept a phone call or written estimate as proof that they will be able to deliver. See for yourself whether they ship on time to you and see what they send. If they balk at sending samples or want to charge ridiculous prices, then they simply aren’t interested in satisfying your needs. Custom sewers who really want to get your business will be professional enough to respect a request for samples, though they may charge a small fee to cover their costs.
You should not only receive the samples, but also a letter from the person who will be handling your account or project, in other words, a contact person responsible for all phases of the work who will be available to you at all times.
Nancy Iacono has been sewing since she was 12 years old. Her career includes sample making, soft toy engineering and pattern making as well as design sewing and costume design and sewing. She has worked for Hasbro Toys, Disney on Ice, Baby Boom, Michael Miller Fabrics, Reunion Outfitters, and the Big Apple, a barbershop quartet organization.