Dear ASDP Board
Jody Bailey Kinard Tree skirt
Jody Kinard, of JK Creations, in Loma Linda California: This was a pair of pants that belonged to my client's grandpa. They now have a new life as a Christmas tree skirt. Visit Jody online at www.jkcreations.com
Bonny Carmincino, XOX (Scarf 42)
Bonny Carmincino, founder of Way of the Thread, and ASDP President: Here is one of my knitting patterns, XOX (Scarf 42), knit to a large scale. It is incredibly cozy to snuggle in while reading a favorite book! The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop.
Pat Billups Top Coat
Tina Crockett Quilt
Years ago I participated in a research opportunity with a group that was working on software to bridge the gap between 3D body scanning and custom digital patterns. I was intrigued with the idea so I volunteered to stand in my skivvies for about a minute while the hardware captured thousands of data points. When the project was shut down, I was able to talk with some of the developers about their thoughts. The failure of the project centered around the software not being able to account for “noise”. Errant or missing data points, and distortion around body areas that touch caused the pattern software to have significant deviations from sizing standards that had to be reconciled by an experienced pattern drafter. The time and technical knowledge needed couldn't be supported under their pricing model.
Since the early 90’s retailers have hailed ‘Mass Customization’ as the next revolution in fashion. Levi’s, Lands’ End and Brooks Brothers were some of the early adopters in this type of technology-setting up 3D scanners in store and allowing customers to order made-to-measure versions of their current styles. While the high cost of adopting new tech and development hiccups were a factor; overcoming customer behavior patterns is the greatest hurdle. While widely adopted mass-customization has not been the radical disruption that was predicted, the fashion world is being transformed by advances in technology.
With safety concerns and the constantly changing business restrictions because of Covid, I was immediately intrigued with the possibilities presented by this new technology. I signed up for a trial to see how it worked. During the two week free trial, you are allowed 10 scans. While getting familiar with the online dashboard they allow you to practice and scan yourself without counting against the allotment. I found the platform easy to use: the interface allows you to send the measurement link to a customer through email or text, and the dashboard keeps track of the status of the measurement requests you have sent. During the trial you get the chance to check out the 3D avatar feature that is available in their higher level plans.
To test using this tech I accepted a custom project for a birthday dress for the daughter of a current client. Liz would be celebrating her 13th birthday at home and wanted an outfit that was low key but special. Everything for this project was done without meeting with Liz in person. After discussing with Liz and her mom what they were envisioning, I sent them a sketch and a link from Mobile Tailor. Using her measurements, I drafted the dress from a basic sheath pattern and combined flat pattern work and draping for the bodice detail and peplum. I dropped off the completed dress with high hopes but also assured them I would guide them through marking any alterations that might be needed.
The outcome for this project was better than I hoped for, and my clients were thrilled to have a custom fit garment in the middle of a statewide lockdown. There were several factors that contributed to the success; the design was a fairly classic silhouette and we chose a ponte knit fabric that lent an additional amount of flexibility in the fit.
This technology is not likely to completely remove the manual measurements and fittings from my design process; interactions between body shapes, pattern shapes, and fabric properties will cause fitting issues that will need to be addressed. But I love that I have access to it when needed.
I invite ASDP members to read more about Mobile Tailor and sign up for a trial to see the technology at work. At the scale that many sewing professionals operate, even the Starter Plan-$99/month for up to 50 scans is likely not a reasonable expense. But 3DLook does want to extend the technology to small businesses with an option that isn’t listed on the website. After going through the trial, ASDP members can email to request pay-per-scan billing and pay a flat rate of $5 per scan. Opting into the per scan pricing doesn’t give you access to the 3D avatar nor are you able to embed the software as a widget within your website.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this interesting advance in technology or about your experience with a Mobile Tailor trial! Share your comments below or reach out to me in the Discuss List(ASDP members only), ASDP Facebook group or through email.
Jennifer Phillips is a designer in Portland, OR who specializes in custom bridal, special event and performance wear. Jennifer is currently serving as the VP of Membership in ASDP.
Notes from Mechiel about this project:
This is the first year I have done a peanut festival princess so I'm not very informed about their tradition. A dominant crop in Floresville, TX is peanuts, hence the harvest time festival.
High school girls and boys apply through a committee to be royalty in the festival. I have been working with other festivals/coronations in my area for well over 20 yrs. The Order of the Alamo Coronation of the Queen of Fiesta is the main one I work with as well as the Lutheran Coronation and the Waco, TX Cotton Palace festival.
I made 3 duchesses this year but the event was postponed until next year so I cannot reveal photos of them until April next year.
The process starts with the artwork of the Robe, gown and train. I source fabric, jewels and beads to create the design. I have employees 3-5 that work alongside me to accomplish the task in the allotted time, 4-7 months. I usually require 3 fittings for the garment.
ATS proved in our first virtual edition nothing can stop us from moving forward and connecting the buyers and suppliers in the textile and apparel market. Over 2000 retailers, brands, manufacturers and professionals attended our last digital event in May. Due to the immense demand for ATS to produce more virtual shows we made a decision to significantly upgrade our virtual platform and announce two more virtual experiences for you this October and November.
Features include more enhanced live matchmaking, a real virtual booth experience, interactive live text, video and voice chat, a live product demo hall, countless expert-led panels and sessions, downloadable product catalogs and direct links. We understand how much the industry relies on us to bring the globe together, which is why we decided to launch two more editions.
The ATS November 16-20 event will feature panels and sessions focused on the global supplier and the USA buyer:
Both ATS virtual events both will attract attendees and suppliers from all over the world who want to connect with over 200 world class suppliers at each edition. Seminar tracts will be focused on Sourcing, Design and Sustainability with an emphasis on marketing, logistics, fashion, design and trade.
Speakers will be industry leaders including:
All ATS international sourcing events provide FREE ACCESS for attendees to meet the top manufacturers of apparel, fabric, home textiles, ready-made garments, accessories and Personal Protective Equipment. PPE is the fastest growing category in the textile & apparel industry and at ATS.
In April, a friend of mine invited me to help out with the “Lets Breathe” project that her family was starting. This was a way to get much needed masks to healthcare providers at the beginning of the Pandemic when masks were in short supply. I decided that it was a good way to help out so I came on board the project.
HOW the “Let’s Breathe” project GOT STARTED
Like many Americans, the Allvin family learned of the critical shortage healthcare providers were experiencing in N95 and surgical masks to help keep them from breathing in or out the coronavirus. Determined to help even while sheltering in place, they launched a quick-start effort on March 21, 2020, to mobilize people in our communities to make and distribute reusable masks to those on the frontlines of the pandemic in urgent need of additional breathing protection.
In just 3 days, they delivered the first masks – 85, to an assisted living and memory care center in Falls Church, Virginia where two residents had contracted coronavirus. Soon, their growing cadre of family and community volunteers were making dozens, then hundreds of masks per week, sustained by the skilled labor of sewists and the generosity of those donating money to buy materials. The masks have gone to hospitals, community clinics, nursing homes, home healthcare providers, and rehabilitation centers in northern Virginia, Washington DC, Washington state, and Arizona.
The formula was simple: They employed easy-to-use online platforms to organize nearby neighbors quickly, raise money easily, and find local healthcare providers who need the masks. They kept the organization lean and "flat," which enabled them to move swiftly and focus our efforts on three basic tasks: (1) find and organize the people to help, (2) secure materials to make the masks, and (3) deliver the finished masks safely and hygienically.
Almost 28,000 masks were made by 101 volunteers in 6 months. I made 1788 of them. By September the need had diminished so they ended the program. By then, manufacturers had gotten up to speed with a healthy supply of masks. I was happy to help out with such a worthwhile program while sheltering in place.
Hi Everyone - Wanted to take a moment today to introduce myself to the group.
I'm Megan Avery, your new VP Of communications. I'm excited to take on this position and I'm really excited to dive a bit deeper into my ASDP membership. I was asked to consider taking on a board position and figured there would be no better way to get to know all of you! And I'm always happy to be of service.
I joined ASDP in January of this year after I attended my local chapters weekend retreat. I loved hanging with all the ladies of my NJ Chapter so I decided to make it official.
My sewing school in Hoboken NJ is currently called M Avery Designs (I will be changing names in December - if anyone has an advice about changing your business name after being in business for 20+ years, please give me a shout!)
My studio teaches classes to anyone over the age of 5 how to sew. We have many sewing classes for kids, adults and anyone wanting to learn how to sew. (Even Elsa - see above :)
Up until March, we taught mobile sewing classes to almost every school in Hudson Country as part of their after school enrichment programs. We also host sewing birthday and bachelorette parties.
Since COVID, we've been trying to get by teaching small kids and adult classes in our 650 square foot studio on the third floor of an old Levelor blind factory in Hoboken NJ.
We've also been ramping up our virtual sewing class offerings and have been enjoying having new sewing students as far away as Israel.
I also have another side business called Hipstitch Academy where I coach other people wanting to get started teaching sewing classes. I teach marketing and business strategies for starting, growing and scaling your sewing school. I also create all the curriculum we teach in the studio and sell it to other people teaching sewing classes.
I'm excited to get to know you all better. Drop a comment below and tell me about what YOU do!
M Avery Designs Sewing Studio - www.maverydesigns.com
Hipstitch Academy - www.hipstitch.co
I was doing to some reading this morning and came across this really interesting report put out by the Strategic Sewing & Quilting Summit about the state of the sewing industry during COVID-19.
Here is the interesting overview of the study. It's actually a follow up of a previous report put out mid April.
Here's the original report.
Since our last report, the uncertainty of the future remains, but the pandemic has had a positive impact on our industry. Sales are up. Our industry is being forced to innovate in the digital sales space, and it is expected that it will help all of us. The global pandemic has had a significant impact on global sewing supply chains.
Brick and Mortar retailers have rebounded a bit since the start of the pandemic. They have adapted with curbside, social distance shopping, and improving and optimizing their digital presence. Yet, they are still hurting without retailer events. Keeping everyone safe with social distancing often requires a higher labor cost. Retailers have reported moving workshops online, through workshops.
In our industry, event-based companies are bearing the brunt of the impact in the pandemic economy. With in-person events on hold for the foreseeable future, they have to adapt to the virtual world or they will go out of business. The virtual event has its successes and challenges. It’s great for learning and education, but harder to execute successfully for closing sales.
In the broader world, businesses reported over and over that a vaccine and/or effective treatment is essential to returning fully to business. There are also comments about the broader impact of the elections and increasing polarization
Sewing is a bright spot in a dark world. Our biggest challenge is an uncertain future. Our current dedicated consumers are sewing more and many new sewists have arrived with the mask movement. How we keep them sewing is up to us.
Many of our members are using some of this social-distancing time to work on their Four Elements garment for the 2020 Threads Challenge. One of the biggest hurdles when submitting a garment for a show, contest, or exhibit can be making sure that you have the best quality photographs of your work that show the garment to advantage. Today on the blog, we've got a wonderful article from the Senior Technical Editor at Threads Magazine that we're pulling from our archives to help you learn more about how to accomplish this task!
In a time that many of us are unable to carry out our traditional business due to social distancing guidelines, this article can also be a great help as you try to move your portfolio online. While your business may not be suited to being solely online in nature, having a professional presence on the web to showcase your work can help you stay relevant and be visible for new and existing clients.
Log in to your ASDP member account and check out this fantastic advice today!
VP of Communications
As you may have seen, this article about Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IN has been making the rounds online in the last few days with a call for those with sewing knowledge to help fill the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of homemade face masks for use in case of supply shortages during the Covid-19 outbreak. There are dozens of other patterns, instructions, and articles going around as well. We're passing this information on to you for in case you are interested.
We have not been able to independently verify whether the masks are effective. Medical devices are not my area of expertise and in this time of need, different medical facilities may have different needs and requirements for these last resort masks. I am working with the information that I have to try to help you make sense of the information out there.
If you find yourself with free time, as many of us currently do as we practice social distancing to keep our communities safe, consider making masks for your local hospitals, cancer treatment centers, and other medical offices.
Contact offices in your area for details on if and how to make and deliver masks. These masks are for last resort use only, so be sure to ensure your local providers are accepting them before investing your time and materials.
CDC guidelines regarding PPE
Deaconess video on how to make a mask
Pattern for mask
Information regarding mask materials
Additional information regarding effectiveness
This afternoon I logged on to a conference call along with many other small business owners across the country to hear from the Small Business Administration and a number of White House Advisory staff.
On this call we heard from a number of government agency leaders on the kinds of help available to small businesses, employers, and employees during this national emergency.
First up was Dr. Sylvia Trent-Adams, who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health at the Department of Health and Human Services. She stressed that every single citizen needs to do their part to help slow the spread of this virus. It is our civic duty to do everything in our power to practice social distancing in the hopes of keeping our hospitals and medical professionals from being overwhelmed as they do their part to treat those who become critically ill. Please remember that 80% of people infected with Covid-19 will only suffer minor to moderate symptoms. Most people will not need to seek medical care. It is our responsibility to make sure that the small percentage of people who will need medical intervention or critical care are able to get it. Take this seriously. Be calm, be kind, and do what your local, state, and federal administrations ask of you in this difficult time.
Dr. Trent-Adams discussed the ongoing development of drive-through testing initiatives nationwide. These sites will be run by the states and private offices in partnership with the federal government. Eligibility currently varies by location, but they are actively working towards sides in every state.
As we all go through this together, please follow the March 16th guidelines and recommendations from the White House in addition to those issued by your state and local offices.
Next we heard from Dan Kowalski, Counselor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury about assistance for employers. If you have employees, there is assistance for you to pay wages, health insurance, and payroll taxes. These programs are still being finalized, but will allow for two weeks of paid sick leave for your employee(s). If the employee themselves is sick, this assistance will reimburse employers for 100% of that employee's wages. If someone in the employee's house is ill and the household must self-isolate, 2/3 of the employee's wages can be reimbursed up to $200 per day for 80 hours (two weeks). If the employee must stay home on family leave due to school or other closures, again, 2/3 of the employee's wages are reimbursable up to $200 per day for a maximum of$10,000 for six weeks up to 12 weeks of paid family leave time. This assistance will be reimbursed as tax credits. If you pre-pay taxes, such as on a quarterly basis, employers can use accrued payments to pay for the sick leave. This procedure would require employers to pay out the employee wages and then file a claim with the federal government. The plan is for employers to receive immediate reimbursement, hopefully through a direct deposit, in order to streamline the process as much as possible. This is a temporary benefit and expires on 12/31/2021. Even if your company of under 500 employees already has paid sick leave, you can still be reimbursed through this program.
Federal Business Interruption loans are also being made available for companies who have been mandated to shut down or are unable to remain open during this crisis. These loans are 100% guaranteed by the federal government and available to qualified business under 500 employees. Loans are capped at a maximum of approximately $10 million per loan. In an effort to keep people employed and not overwhelm the unemployment offices, there is a loan forgiveness component available to companies who keep their employees on payroll through this crisis. If your company retains all workers through this, loan forgiveness is available for the full cost of those workers' payroll expenses.
After a brief moment of technical difficulty, Jovita Carranza, administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA) joined the call as just one of her many outreach calls today. She stressed that nationwide, staff from the Disaster Assistance offices, as well as district offices of the Women's Business Center, Small Business Development Center, and SCORE were all on board and doing everything they could to help small businesses through this very difficult time. They are working quickly to set up webinars, conference calls, and online classes to help businesses answer their many questions. The SBA is working to expedite disaster relief loans for small businesses affected by this economic disaster. Many states have already been approved for loan programs and the SBA expects all 50 US states to be approved to accept applications. They are actively working to cut out much of the red tape that is normally a part of this process given the absolutely unprecedented situation we find ourselves in across the globe. In the event that a qualified business receives a notice that their loan application has been denied, Ms. Carranza assured us that all district offices are being set up to execute follow-up calls within a day or two to help the applicant get approved or to match them with an alternative lender. All states are being encouraged to coordinate with the SBA to make this process as easy to navigate as possible.
Ms. Carranza also stressed that we should not let this situation crush people's dreams of starting a business. Business counselling is still available throughout this time. For this, as well as disaster relief related information, the SBA is constantly updating their website on a daily basis. They are currently averaging 400,000+ calls a day and approximately 20,000 loan applications have already been submitted. In the event that there is some kind of website crash or service breakdown due to volume, the SBA has already partnered with FEMA who has sourced an additional 5,000 workers to help with calls and assistance.
After Ms. Carranza headed off for another call we heard from an assistant to the Secretary of the Labor Department (DOL) named Nick (apologies for not being able to catch his last name), who talked about what comes next. He urges small business owners to contact their local and state Workforce Development office. They can help you understand the unemployment insurance program. This is a state and federal partnership. On March 11, the DOL issued guidelines to the states for this program. While eligibility varies by state, the DOL is working hard to make sure states understand the flexibility they have in interpreting the written eligibility guidelines during this emergency. Employees are eligible if their employer is prevented from operating during this time, if the employee is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after, or is caring for a family member who is quarantined. Federal law does NOT require the employee to quit in order to apply for benefits. Given the scale of this situation, lines are often full and wait times can be long. Nick encourages people to continue to apply. Don't be discouraged.
We also heard from Alejandro Contreras, Director of Preparedness, Communications and Coordination at the SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance. He discussed the up to $2 million, low interest, long term Disaster Relief loans available to small businesses that can be used for working capital to cover their normal operating expenses in the event of lost revenue, anticipated lost revenue, lost workforce, or supply chain disruption due to Covid-19. Businesses qualify based on their eligibility (being a small business or privately held 501c3), credit (these loans are backed by the federal government and are much more flexible than a traditional lender), and repayment ability (calculated based on the business's pre-disaster conditions). One major concern that has been voiced by a number of business owners I have talked to about this loan program is in regard to repayment of the loan. How are businesses expected to afford monthly payments while they are shut down due to the coronavirus emergency? Director Contreras assured those of us on the call that these loans come with a one year deferment, meaning that your first loan payment isn't due until 12 months after your loan is issued.
After each of our speakers had presented their information and resources, the call was opened up for a brief question and answer session. Some of the information covered dealt with clarifying who was eligible for disaster relief loans. Loans are available for eligible small businesses under 500 employees, including franchises, and privately held 501c3s, although as this is an economic disaster and not a natural disaster of some kind, churches and religious groups are not eligible. If you already have an SBA loan, you can still apply for a disaster relief loan, however you are not able to use the disaster loan to refinance a preexisting loan.
Approximately 22 states have already been approved to accept Disaster Relief loan applications and SBA officials expect all 50 states to be approved by the end of the week.
Other questions revolved around how to have conversations with landlords during this time of economic stress. One caller wanted to use what money he had to be able to continue paying his employees, but that would mean he was unable to pay his rent. Speakers from the SBA were quick to reinforce that funds from Disaster Relief loans can be used for all kinds of regular expenses including paying rent. Loan funds are not instant, so it is the responsibility of individual business owners to negotiate with their landlords in order to temporarily defer payment if necessary.
There are multiple loan options available to businesses during this time. In addition to the SBA Disaster Relief loan, businesses can also apply for Business Interruption loans, which are the up to $10 million loans that Dan Kowalski from the Treasury Department had mentioned.
There were approximately 2000 people on today's call and we have all been encouraged to help get this information out to our business communities. Please help spread the word and provide these links to other businesses that you know who have been impacted.
Before we wrapped up today's call, which we were assured was the first of many of these that will take place, we also heard from Chris Wilkerson, the Executive Director of Opportunity Now, who wants to work with businesses engaged in workforce development, economic empowerment, and local and national non-profits to support small businesses with workforce growth and employee retention. He encouraged us to keep fighting for our businesses. We will get through this.
Small businesses are beacons of hope in this country. When we do well, the country does well.
Below you will find a summary of the resources provided on this call. Please check in regularly if your business has suffered during this pandemic.
Center for Disease Control (CDC)
www.sba.gov/disaster - Apply for a Disaster Assistance Loan
Women's Business Center
Small Business Development Center
Department of Labor
www.careeronestop.org - Search by state for instructions on filing for unemployment benefits.
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