Different ways to manufacturer your lingerie

It’s usually the manufacturing part of getting your lingerie made is the part which most people either stumble on or it’s this part that takes the longest. You have this great idea or this beautiful lingerie that you wish to get out there and yet you find yourself at a stand still because of manufacturing. Depending on the amount you want there are a numerous ways of getting your lingerie made.

 

IN HOUSE

This is where as a designer you will do everything, it’s a common practice for designers to design, pattern cut and manufacturer their own lingerie. This is how I started Vanjo, I did everything, and whilst not always time efficient it was a great learning curve and go the brand to be built slow and steady. And don’t think I was a great sewer when I was starting, yes I could sew, but I didn’t understand why stitches skipped, or thread tensions etc, it was only by practising for a year, yup that’s right one whole year busy sewing samples, that I learnt. Yes it was frustrating and slow, and attimes i could have hurled that machine onto the floor, yelling “why won’t you just sew?” but in the end it turned out to be one of the things I loved about designing. I could take an idea from my head and produce it and that in itself is pretty special.

If you go down this route you will be responsible for sourcing all your fabrics and trims.

 

COTTAGE INDUSTRY

This is where you as the designer will outsource your sampling, production and even maybe the technical side of lingerie such as technical drawings and tech packs. You’re still working on a small scale and can build up a relationship with the person helping you. That person will be somebody usually working from their home or small studio. They will be able to do small runs of production for you, it may be more expensive then heading to a full blown factory but they will be able to small if not any minimums.

If you go down this route you will be responsible for sourcing all your fabrics and trims. 

sewing lingerie


CMT

(Cut, Make and Trim) This is where you outsource your designs to a production unit, where they will take your designs and cut the fabric, make the garments and trim the garment. This can be done within a small manufacturing unit or a big factory. Minimums will vary depending on who you approach.

During the trim section of the garment they will inspect the garment to make sure it’s up to standard.

If you go down this route you will be responsible for sourcing all your fabrics and trims. 

 

FULL PACKAGE

This is where a factory will CMT, offer sampling, graded patterns and many will include the cost to source fabrics and trims for you as well as developing garment labels and swing tickets. This is as stated in the title the full package, if you’re going down this route then it’s simpler to start with one or two designs, don’t go full on with loads of designs, it will be costly, if errors occur then you’ve got to sort them out over many styles. Get good at producing one (or two) designs and get that one through production, it’s going to be a steep learning curve so it’s far better to put all your effort in a small collection and get it looking good rather than a larger collection and not have it to the standard you want. This option will have have the highest minimums sometimes up to 2000 pieces.

If you go down this route it’s very important to have a tech pack that includes the style of swing tickets and labels you want producing. The factory will be responsible for sourcing all your fabrics and trims.


HARDEST PART OF FINDING A LINGERIE MANUFACTURER

As making lingerie is a specialised skill not all manufacturers are equipped to make it, which can make it frustrating finding one, especially a local one but there can be ways to start if you are wanting to start small but you may have to alter you’re original thoughts.

If you’ve found a person who make a sample for you in the cottage industry, are they willing to do a small run for you? You may be an expensive option but it may be a way for you to start.

Some manufacturers that usually do outerwear don’t touch lingerie especially any that is underwires, but if your designs are a crop top without hook and eyes they may be willing to look at it.

Also if you can’t afford the initial out lay for a manufacturer is there a way you can part manufacturer ? So you’re not making everything. For example when I first Vanjo, another label I knew would send part of her lingerie to be made. Like sending her straps off to be made, and committed to a bigger order as she used the same straps on all her designs. Another time she cut out all her briefs and sent them off to be overlocked, it probably cost her more per procedure than getting the whole garment made but she built up a relationship with the factory and so when it came to placing a small order they were more willing to accept her order.

Overall make it easy for the factory to deal with you, some factories will want a graded pattern, a sample to follow and a tech page or tech pack, arriving with these shows you’re serious about your lingerie. If you have no sample providing a tech page or pack for the factory to cost out is essential, having these from the go puts you one step ahead of another person who has just contacted them, and it’s easier for the factory to deal with you than that other person.

And above all, if you find a factory or person to manufacturer, pay on time, something so simple holds you in good steed for the next time.