5 Essential Tips When Working With Fashion Manufacturers

Charlie Bradley Ross Friday, 2 October 2015

The toughest thing for designers when wanting to amp up their production is knowing where to start. Sending the wrong information or not having your budget right at the outset are just some of the things that can go wrong and end up costing you time and money. Head designer and director Shilpa from House Of Bilimoria is here to set us straight, offering us the five essential things to know when working with Cut, Make, Trim units or fashion manufacturers.


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House Of Bilimoria are a UK based design studio and #CMT unit. Keep your eyes peeled on the Swatchbook blog next week as they are giving us the lowdown on everything designers need to know before outsourcing their production! 👗 @shilpabilimoria #madeinbritain #sewing #fashiondesign #smallbusiness #growing #fashion #advice #cmt #fashionbusiness #production #outsourcing #fashionproduction #clothesmaking

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Important Things To Know Before #Outsourcing To A #CMT [email protected]

Here is her "Top Five" list of things you should know before you approach any Cut Make, Trim (CMT) Unit, that will save you precious time!

1. Design

Have clear design specifications, including measurements, key construction details and finishes. This will allow the unit to provide you with the most accurate quote. The last thing you want is to have extra expenses that you weren't expecting if you hadn't specified finishes!

bilimoria 1

2. Materials

You may or may not have your fabric choice made. If the unit is to source your fabrics for you, ensure that you have a clear idea of the budget that you have per metre. If you are providing fabrics, ensure correct meterage is handed over. Be accurate and draw up a lay plan (a drawing where all the pattern pieces are laid on the fabric, to ensure the smallest amount of fabric is used up). When it comes to trimmings, check the trimmings that the unit keeps in stock and make sure they work for your product. If not, source your own. If something specialist needs to be brought in, provide this information sooner rather than later as it may affect your delivery time.

House of Bilimoria Material

3. Costs

Know the hourly rate of the CMT unit, and agree a maximum number of hours that will be taken to complete any sampling. Of course, there can be a fluctuation of hours when making the sample, but as the client, you need to know the maximum budget you're prepared to spend to get it made and relay that to your unit. Your CMT unit will let you know if it can or cannot be done for that price.  Get the facts in about pricepoints so you don't halt to a stop even before you can even get to the production order!

House of Bilimoria Measuring

4. Lead Times

Maintain a transparent leadtime up to your deadline. With ethical fashion at the forefront, ensure that you allow a healthy, realistic amount of time for the manufacturing unit to complete your order. When placing orders in your country of residence, it's very easy to visit the unit to see what capacity they have to cope with the order you are giving. If you are uncertain of where and how the work will be done, ASK! Make sure you take responsibility for who is making your clothes.

House of Bilimoria Cutting

5. Communication

Maintain an positive, open line of communication with your unit. Questions during small runs and manufacturing arise and you want to make sure that your producers feel comfortable to ask you a question before it's too late and you receive an order that is incorrect or details missed that you thought were clear.

In the end, we are all human, and the manufacturing industry is crying out for quality work for responsible prices and better working conditions. View your venture into outsourced manufacture as embracing the craft of making clothes that is empowering the industry to move forward into a time of caring about fellow humans, life and the environment.

This is the core of House of Bilimoria. It is a home-grown, studio-based CMT unit that puts love into all the work that they do. They can help with all your small runs, manufacturing, pattern cutting, fabric sourcing and designs. Want to know more? Contact them:  [email protected].

For even more updates follow House of Bilimoria on TwitterInstagram & Facebook!


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The #manufacturing industry is crying out for #quality work, for #responsible prices, and #betterworkingconditions @HOBilimoria

Maintain a #transparent lead time up to your #deadline #fashionproduction