Joining The Apparel Agency

May 26, 2012 on 3:46 pm | In Links, Services | No Comments

The Apparel Agency

In order to provide more comprehensive services for clients – beyond patterns, tech packs and samples – Xochil is joining forces with The Apparel Agency.

The Apparel Agency is a one-stop shop for fashion entrepreneurs offering product development, production and supportive services, including business planning, brand identity, product design, materials sourcing, pattern development, grading and marking, sample making, marketing materials, sales strategy, and production management. These services are tailored to the individual needs of your brand and company, from start-up clothing or accessories businesses, to established companies seeking to move their business to the next level.

Xochil recently joined The Apparel Agency as part of the Patterns and Product Development team. She will continue to provide top-notch service to her current clients. Prospective clients are encouraged to contact The Apparel Agency directly for a free exploratory call to discuss your concept and goals and determine what stage your business is in. Our process will empower you with tools, resources and professional guidance so you can build your business, brand and products in a cohesive environment, from concept to production.

For more information about The Apparel Agency, please visit Or call: 312-265-0900 and ask for Nichole.

You can also reach Xochil at:, or by calling 708-497-9377.

Update: Independent Designer Fabric Show NY

January 4, 2012 on 6:50 pm | In Links | No Comments

Update from latest post:

The full information including registration can be found here:

February 6 & 7, 2012

In addition to the show, there will be seminars on topics including fashion business, online retailing, costing, branding, and sourcing.

NEW Wholesale Fabric Show – Low Minimums!

December 19, 2011 on 10:31 pm | In Events | No Comments

That’s right, a fabric show targeted to the independent designer, with low minimums! The show is so new that there is no name, website, or registration, but don’t let that deter you from attending. I am re-blogging the show information from Kathleen Fasanella’s website

The show will take place on February 6-7, 2012 in New York City’s Hotel Pennsylvania.

Hotel Pennsylvania: 401 7th Avenue, 33rd Street, New York, NY 10001
Show Hours: 9:30 to 6:00

Additional details can be found on the event’s Facebook page, or on

Please pass on this valuable information to any other designers or manufacturers that you know, the more successful the show is, the higher chance it will happen again! This is very important for independent designers.

A partial list of vendors who will be in attendance:

Appliques with Glitz
Barbie International
Carr Textile
Dill Buttons of America
Elliott Berman Fabrics
Fabric Avenue
Fishman’s Fabrics
Global Leather
HWC/ Hamburger Woolen
Labels IG
Kendor Textiles
Novatex Int’l
One World Button
Philips Boyne
Products From Abroad
Robert Kaufman Company
Sextet Fabrics
Shannon Fabrics
Solid Stone Fabrics
Stylecrest Fabrics
W and W
Zinman Textiles

Stay tuned for more details.

Made in America – Gaining Popularity

October 16, 2010 on 10:41 am | In Links, Trends | No Comments

I have always thought that having clothing and other products made in America was an important issue. We as a country have long been outsourcing jobs and importing goods, and apparel and sewn products make up a huge amount of those imported goods. A recent poll by Adweek Media/Harris Poll showed that 61% of Americans are more likely to purchase a product if it is “Made in America.” Only 3% would be less likely to purchase.

The study goes on to show slight differences in results between different areas of the country. Midwesterners are most likely to purchase American-made products, with 67% of respondents agreeing with that statement. Though other areas of the country had slightly lower results, all had 57% or more who agreed. Surveyed by age, older consumers, those over age 55, are most likely to purchase products made in the USA. 75% of those in that age group agreed. Younger Americans, those 18-34, were only 44% more likely to purchase products made in the USA, though 52% said they were neither more or less influenced to purchase by country of origin.

The full article can be found here at

Regardless of your personal patriotism, I think it’s important to support the American worker. Products made here are basically guaranteed to not be made using child-labor, substandard or unsafe working conditions, and to pay their employees a fair wage. You can’t regulate a factory overseas as easily or effectively.

Fashion Focus Chicago

October 7, 2010 on 12:30 pm | In Events, Links | No Comments

Chicago fashion has been growing steadily over the past few years. With the creation of the Mayor’s Fashion Council in April 2006, interest from the community has exploded and things are greatly improving for local designers. This year the events are sure to be even better than in years past.

A full listing of events can be found here at

There will be headlining shows sponsored by Macy’s, CS Magazine and, as well as the returning student show, Dress Code. Designers will also have their own shows, some of those include Borris Powell, Kristin Hassan, Vert Couture, and Horatio Nieto.

There are even some FREE events, including some great Industry Education events! Some of these include special trunk shows by Chicago boutiques and designers, including Alice Berry, Elise Bergman, and le Dress.

FREE events during Fashion Focus Chicago can be found here at

For those interested in the Industry Education Day events, visit for a list of all the events. Register early! These are free but will fill up fast!

Also during Fashion Focus Chicago, the Chicago Fabric and Trim Show will be at the Merchandise Mart (pedway) on October 21st and 22nd. For more details go to AIBI. This event is for industry professionals only, and registration is encouraged in advance. You will need a business license and/or EIN, and your business card. Contact the offices at AIBI for more information or questions.

All in all, a pretty exciting time in Chicago!

Press Clippings: Fashionable Activewear

August 2, 2010 on 6:51 pm | In Press | No Comments

I was recently interviewed as part of an article about fitness apparel design. I have been working in a lot in this area of fashion recently, and I was happy to share a few of my experiences with Art Institutes InSite. This site is part of the Art Institutes, where I earned my degree in fashion design, and focuses on the stories of alumni in each industry represented in their program offerings.

Fitness apparel is an interesting segment of fashion. I find that it is continuing to evolve and takes inspiration from mainstream trends, but it is also extremely innovative. Function and performance are the most important elements of activewear, and can be different and special to the customer and the particular sport they are wearing it for. That doesn’t mean that style and trends go out the door. It’s an interesting combination of elements.

Please check out the full article below at the Art Insitutes InSite website:

Press Clippings – Today’s Chicago Woman

July 20, 2010 on 10:12 pm | In Press | No Comments

It’s always great to know that people are talking about you. Here are some recent “press clippings” that mention me that I would like to share with you.

Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine Blog

Kali Evans-Raoul of The Image Studios talks about her secrets to great style.  Restyling items from your existing wardrobe is a great style secret, and I would be happy to help you to transform your dresses, evening wear, outer wear, vintage items and furs.

The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago: Spring 2010 Alumni Newsletter

On Page 7, a brief bio describing my work since graduation.

Fit Samples – Muslin or Sample Fabric?

June 18, 2010 on 4:49 pm | In Services, Tips and Tricks | No Comments

You have your first pattern ready and the next step is to test the pattern and fit on your fit model. Often referred to as a muslin sample, your fit sample should actually be made up in a sample fabric that is the same weight, weave and fiber content as your actual garment, rather than cotton muslin.

Why use “real” fabric?
Cotton muslin bears resemblance to very few real garments. For items that are made up in a lightweight woven (cotton or otherwise), using muslin is just fine. It’s cheap, easy to make up and easy to mark on during a fitting. Muslin is also a great tool to use during the pattern making process, for styles that need to be draped, or even just to do a quick test for your pattern.

To get a good idea on how a garment will hang and drape on the body, however, using your actual fabric or similar sample fabric will be much more accurate. A chiffon drapes differently than a crepe-back satin or charmeuse. A 10oz. denim fits differently from a 8oz. A cotton twill will differ from a wool suiting. And on, and on.

In the case of using a stretch fabric, something with 2% spandex will fit much differently than something with 4% spandex. You cannot use the same pattern for a garment of the same style with these different fabrics. For the same reason, muslin fabric has no stretch, and so a pattern made for stretch would end up being too small if made up in a non-stretch material.

A knit garment, such as a jersey dress, could never be made out of muslin either, it would not fit or drape anywhere near what the jersey would actually do. Jersey is knit and muslin is woven fabric.

Another simple reason to use real fabric: It just looks better. You are more likely to be critical of a real fabric sample than a muslin because it’s harder for most people to visualize the end product, and the excuse “this will look and/or fit better in the real fabric” will be tossed out often. Without testing it first, you might miss that the back thigh of a pant leg is laying on the body funny or that the sweep of a dress is too big or small.

It saves you time, money, and a headache to get your fit sample right before making up your production sample. Keep in mind that is is not uncommon to do multiple fit samples before the production sample is made. This can depend on how fitted the style is or how complicated the design, and also how much information was supplied to your pattern maker beforehand. When producing similar styles, do a fit sample in one style first, before the patterns for all of the styles are made, so that those changes can be applied to the other patterns.

Contact Xochil for questions about your patterns, fit samples, or production samples.

AIBI Fabric and Trim Show

May 6, 2010 on 11:48 pm | In Events, Links | No Comments

This 2-day event put together by AIBI is one that all Chicago area designers need to check out for good resources for fabrics, trims, and more!

Xochil’s favorite fashion resource, Jay Arbetman, will have a booth in the show. She will be hanging out at the show during portions of both days to meet designers and answer any questions.

Jay is a great resource for all types of fabrics, linings, zippers, buttons and more. And unbelieveable pricing.

Fabric and Trim Show

May 13th and 14th – 9am – 4pm

Chicago Merchandise Mart

Technical Illustration vs. Fashion Croquis

March 5, 2010 on 10:05 am | In Services, Tips and Tricks | No Comments

Many fashion designers have beautiful fashion croquis to show their designs, aesthetic, and render fabrications. While they look nice, and require a great amount of both time and artistic talent, a technical illustration is needed to communicate your design to your pattern maker and sewing contractor.

A technical drawing differs from a fashion croqui in that it shows a flat rendering of your design, and shows your pattern maker the relationships and proportions between style lines, placement of buttons and zippers, and even stitch types such as top stitching or flat felled seams. Often special seams will be annotated on the drawing.

Most technical drawings are created on the computer, using a program such as Adobe Illustrator. If you feel comfortable, you (the designer) can do this yourself, or you can hire an illustrator. Most companies will charge per illustration, rather than by the hour.

A good technical illustration, also called a “flat”, will be a scale drawing of your design, both front and back view, and sometimes include detailed drawings of a particular piece, such as a unique pocket design or embroidery. Solid lines show seams, dotted or dashed lines show stitching. Flats are not usually colored in, especially when being used to show the design to your pattern maker, however some designers use flats in their line sheets to show buyers, and in this case it would be appropriate to show colors and prints if applicable. Flats are also utilized, and expanded upon in more detail in your specification package.

If your garment contains any unusual design features or requires specific sewing techniques, it is wise to also have illustrations made up to show these in detail. Along with a sewn sample, it will ensure that your sewing contractor understands what you expect your garment to look like. A side note, some sewing contractors will sew your first samples, others prefer that you or a sample maker do.

Once you have your illustration, front and back, you will use this on your patten card, construction notes, measurement chart (for grading), and often on your company’s line sheets.

For questions or more information on technical illustrations for your company, please email Xochil.

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Xochil Herrera. © 2009
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