"Whoever’s designing for plus-size doesn’t get it. The entire garment needs to be re-conceived. You can’t just take a size 8 and make it larger." Tim Gunn – American Fashion Consultant
It has always been my frustration to shop at retail stores and only have a small selection to choose from. Before Farmhouse Frocks my closet certainly revealed how few options I had and it seemed I only had about three or four outfits that I loved to wear at any given time. I loved fashion, but it seemed fashion didn't love my plus size body.
Two years later and one of the favorite things about my morning is opening my closet doors and revealing my beautiful and abundant wardrobe - hanging there in neat rows, all pieces that I love to wear and they fit my plus size body so well. It is never a frustration these days to get dressed and I know I’m not alone, many other ladies just like me want better selections and this is why I do what I do.
A lot of work and thought goes into our frocks. Our design team puts a lot of weight on getting the fit just right for each size. Our goal is for other ladies of all sizes to feel confident and excited when they open their closet doors in the morning after they have added some Farmhouse Frock pieces to their wardrobe.
When I saw this video of fashion guru, Tim Gunn, talking about the need for the fashion industry to take notice and do something about fashion for plus sized women I felt validated that I was on the right path with our company. Our size 3X needs to fit a size 3X shape or we are not putting it in production. A size small is different than a size 3X and we keep in mind the different shapes as we design. The challenge of a fashion designer is to take the time to make their garments fit before they send them off to production.
Freda, our production manager and part of the design team, has been pivotal in this process. She has a knack to get the patterns just right. Freda generally works out of her house and visits our seamstresses, but now she is in the studio one day per week just so our team can work closer together and iron out more details in less time. It takes a lot of tweaking to get our patterns just right. After the girls and I come up with an idea for a frock we take it to Freda and show her sketches and describe to her what we want and then she gets to work designing our newest frock. She begins with the largest size we sell, 3X, and once she has that perfected she goes on to create the other sizes.
I can’t brag about Freda enough. She has been a dream to work with and she takes a certain pride in designing and sewing the frocks that is admirable. She says one of her favorite things about going out to eat is when she sees a lady walk into the restaurant wearing a frock and she knows she had a hand in designing the piece. Even though Freda is Amish and doesn’t have many options for style of dress for herself, you can tell she feels a certain sense of pride knowing she is a part of Farmhouse Frocks and has helped dress so many ladies in a fashionable and modest way.
After Freda has designed the newest pattern there are other steps in the process. We have to find the perfect fabric for the pattern. We hand pick each fabric, making sure that we have flowing fabric for a flowing frock and a stiffer, more substantial fabric for something like the romper or a jacket. The colors are key to a successful piece, sometimes we decide to go with one color and other times we decide if we need to go with two or three colors because of the options the colors would afford the customer.
After the design work is finished, all the details are ironed out (pun intended) and we have a new challenge of figuring out which seamstress is the perfect fit for the newest frock. If the frock is going to be a popular one we know we need more pieces and the seamstress will have to be able to work full time at sewing. If it is a piece that we don't anticipate it being a top seller we can choose a seamstress who wants to work part time.
From the business side of things I have to come up with a projected amount of frocks to make for each size and each color. We sell more of the larger sizes so we have to make more of those.
For those of you following me on social media, especially Instagram, you probably know that I have this thing about having a “Kiss from God.” My Kiss from God in this instance is that when we design a frock my girls and I we can be the models for our newest frock in production and don’t have to go looking for a model to stand in. Makes everything easier because one of us are always available to slip into the newest piece and make sure it fits just right. This is a Kiss from God for sure.
There are many more processes we go through to get a frock to our showroom floor, but for this time we wanted to share with you how this part of the business works.