In keeping with our “We’ve got your back” theme this month, we’d like to take you back – literally. Would you like to go backstage to see our Design Team? We like to say this is where the magic happens. The Design Studio is where our team makes all the samples you see in the store or online. In addition, it’s where we test new patterns for accuracy and fit. It’s a beehive of activity and it’s a fun place to work.
We recently moved our crowded studio from a back corner in our store (where our work table was constantly under siege from delivery men wanting to plop rolls of incoming fabric) to a spacious new area in our building next door. Our Design Studio now has windows in the front (!) so we get natural daylight. Never mind that the window looks out onto the street – it is still daylight! We are connected by French doors to the classroom, where we can seat 12 students very comfortably. It’s a big step up from our last classroom, which was still pretty impressive.
We have two large cutting tables in the studio. In the planning stage, there was some discussion about whether we really needed a second table, but now we agree it was absolutely necessary. Four women working at one table was not an effective arrangement.
For years, I designed my bra patterns in solitude, working in my sewing room after a full day in the shop. When I finally came out of the dark ages into the 20th century, I bought a computer program to make computerized patterns instead of hand-drawn. That was a huge step for me (some of you may understand my love/hate relationship with computers!) So in some cases, weeks of hand-drawn work have been reduced to hours. But the biggest hurdle for me has always been the sewing of the testers and the fitting. Once the fitting is completed on a live model, I go back to the computer to alter the pattern. This fit testing happens with most of the sizes in the range. The sewing and fitting process can take weeks or months when it is just one person.
But now, I have three designers working alongside, and each has contributed greatly to the sample making, pattern development, and book production flow. Denise McKenna came to us in 2009 after a long and successful career as a quilt designer. Her attention to detail and all those added touches you see on her creations mark her as a teacher you can learn from every time. her latest creation was the Piped Sapphire.
Linda Crawford of Uplift Custom Bras (some of you know her from our Facebook Page “Students of the Fairy Bra Mother“). Linda has had a connection with Bra-makers since our first location in Hamilton in 2005. She’s still here! Linda’s sewing and fitting skills rival that of ready-to-wear.
The newest member of our team is Kit Smulders. Kit has been sewing production garments for several years (even though she looks only 12 years of age!) Kit wants to grow her bra-making and pattern drafting skills to take Bra-makers to the next level. You’ll get to see some of her innovative ideas in the next few months!
Our design team is the best of the best. Together we try to Inspire and Educate anyone who wants to experience the Magic of Bra-making.