While the fashion industry is often dismissed as frivolous and superficial, the back bone of the rag trade is provided by the many skilled people who work to design and make garments. From the designers who first put pen to paper, to the garment technicians and pattern makers who turn these ideas into concrete design decisions and finally to the cutters, sewing machinists and tailors who turn 2D fabric into 3D reality.
Since 2011, The Cutting Class has been a rare resource that shines a light onto the range of skills used to create garments. Most of the time, the aim of the site is simply to say ‘Look at this. Isn’t it clever?’ for the reason that there are many garment details that we all take for granted. Even on the most utilitarian of garments, someone somewhere has had to consider the best way to finish the seams or the best method to cut and sew the pockets. Some of these methods are hundreds of years old, and some of them have only just been invented.
For a long time, the innovative side of fashion would only bubble to the surface during the catwalk collections that would be held twice a year. But now, we have a constant stream of high-resolution imagery available where collections can be seen in incredible detail. This puts us fashion voyeurs in a much better position to judge how good we think a collection really is, and to have more empathy for the work put in by the design team.
If you work in the fashion industry or sew for yourself, we hope that The Cutting Class will be a source of inspiration and practical solutions. We hope that you will be able to see how others have navigated their way around common garment issues, or that perhaps by seeing a detail in someone else’s work it may trigger an idea for your own.
We also welcome readers who couldn’t sew on a button if their life depended on it. We hope that you will find the explanations enlightening and that you will develop a greater appreciation for those who have worked hard to create your clothes.