In my last blog I talked about my embarrassing experience involving LAYMARKERS. Some of you may be puzzled by this story, so this explanation could be helpful.
WHAT IS A LAYMARKER?
When you have decided what kind of garment you want to make, you buy a pattern of the style of your choice and in your size. Your pattern will be made up of a number of parts, e.g front panel, back panel, sleeve, collar etc. You will spread your fabric on a table (or the floor) and arrange the parts in such a way to use as little fabric as possible. You will need to take into account the type of fabric – if it has a nap all parts must face the same way – if it has a pattern the parts must be positioned to match when they are sewn together – some parts may have to be positioned on the fold (if the fabric is spread folded of course).
When you have done this and are happy it is the best you can do – YOU HAVE CREATED A LAY. If you made a copy of the LAY by drawing around the patterns on a piece of paper the same width and length as your fabric, you will have created a LAY MARKER. This could be folded or rolled up and stored away for future use, together with your original pattern pieces. If you wanted to make the same garment again from similar fabric, you could either: Use your original patterns but use the LAYMARKER to remind you of the best positions. Put the LAYMARKER on the fabric, staple it and cut out the parts by following the lines (remember to add your seam allowance!).
Fabric can be expensive, so arranging the parts in the most economical and correct manner is important. In one of my factories one man was responsible for doing this job, positioning the cardboard patterns on the fabric ready for the cutter who would mark around them with tailor's chalk and cut the fabric.
Today most factories use COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY to produce sewing patterns and laymarkers. Individual pattern are stored digitally in a computer, together with information to identify style, size etc. Specialists create a rectangle on the computer screen to represent the fabric and drag the miniaturised pattern images into position, in the same way as if working in full-size on a cutting room table. In factories, laymarkers containing a number of sizes are often produced. The finished laymarker can be stored in the computer until needed.
Technology enables the laymarkers to be produced in a place far away from the actual cutting room. They can be printed in full-size on paper and sent by post or sent online to a printer in the factory.
In my last blog, the situation was that a company in Paris produced a number of laymarkers on paper and sent them, together with the fabric, to my factory in Greece. The factory only needed to spread the fabric, staple the laymarker – and cut by following the lines. Unfortunately, the factory designer/pattern cutter had never seen a paper laymarker and thought he was helping by cutting all the parts, collecting them into sizes and hanging them neatly on a garment rail, to be ready for the technician who would fly from France to monitor the production.
The technician said, as we drove from the airport to the factory, that he was delighted that I had been employed to improve the efficiency of the factory – and be available to keep an eye on the production of his company's order. So I think you will appreciate that it really was a very embarrassing experience for me to see the designer proudly walk into the room, clearly expecting to be praised for his pattern-cutting skills. )))