Sewing: Dithering

One of the things that I go through quite regularly (more often now, as I try to move into cosplay/couture/costume sewing), is what size to make things.  It’s one thing to make a quilt — usually everything I make is a baby quilt or a crib quilt or maybe a throw quilt, which have standard sizes.fabricChoices
And it’s hard for me to make anything much larger than that.

But I made some kimono this summer, which were popular at the one fair/sales-event I went to as a merchant. So I bought a bunch of fabric that I thought would look good in this pattern. They look nice on nearly everyone, as long as the size is close to yours (small, medium, large, extra large, extra extra large). But then comes the dithering.

What size should I make it? Most of these fabric I won’t be able to get again — if someone says, “I love this fabric, do you have it in large?” I have to say “no”.  Once it’s cut to a given size, it’s cut. It’s done.  No backsies — it’s a small, t’will always be a small, and there won’t ever be another one like that (excuse the small pun there about twill).

Or it will be a medium (34″-36″ chest) — like this water/wave kimono in dark blue with golden wave patterns.  Do you want it? let me know.

Because this is the challenge, of course. I’m discerning that I can’t compete in the global marketplace for items that are all the same fabric but in different sizes. This garment is around three yards of fabric. It’s about three yards regardless of other considerations like size — to make one in each size from small to XXL is around 15 yards of fabric (call it 16 to account for errors or miscuts); at $15-20 a yard for high end cotton, means shelling out $50 per garment for the fabric… adding in my time to construct them and the challenges of inventory, storage, or transport to and from events… I’m pricing myself out of a market where Eastern bloc seamstresses beat me in price, quantity, and quality. Where I seem to do well, is in producing unique or nearly-unique items.

I’m sorry — did you want this in a large? Too late. This garment is made. If you like one of the other fabrics, and want me to work to a different size, you have to speak up.

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