Editor’s note: SEAMS has introduced a new feature on the newsletter, Millennial Corner. This blog gives the younger generation – who in the near future will serve in leadership positions and guide the direction of the association – a larger voice and platform NOW and will help them engage more the entire SEAMS’ membership while busting stereotypes.

By: Xochil Herrera Scheer

The Chicago Pattern Maker

Like many people who go to college to major in fashion design, I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer.

I became a pattern maker because I enjoy the analytic side of fashion, making products come to life through technical design details and careful product development. I actually enjoy the spatial thinking and math involved, and the process of prototyping, revisions and perfecting a product for production.

I knew early on that I wanted to be an entrepreneur – but found myself starting perhaps earlier than I expected, because I faced a layoff in 2009 and needed to figure out a way to realize my dream of working in this industry.

At first, I created my own path by piecing together a part-time pattern making job, a part-time tailoring job and freelancing for independent designers and brands the rest of the time, growing that until I was able to employ myself full time with freelance clients. I honed my skillset in technical design and pattern making, and built my clientele for product development services, visited factories to gain contacts as well as to get feedback on my abilities.

Over the years, I have worked with many different brands, as well as many non-designers who had a product and business idea. I re-branded in 2016 as The Chicago Pattern Maker, growing to the point where I have now taken on freelance staff to help me stay on top of it.

In addition to running my company, I keep myself busy with professional organizations, and volunteer my time to speak to young people about opportunities in our industry. I am incredibly thankful for the more experienced people in my life who have offered their guidance and support over the years and believe that paying it forward is important.

I was in high school prior to the days of Project Runway (and these days, I feel like I have to educate people to how that ISN’T the reality of this industry) and had no idea the many different jobs there are in textiles and sewn products. I took drafting and AutoCAD classes because that was the closest skill I could think of that was available to me. My school had only one sewing Read full article here