One Step Closer: The Designing Process / by Sabria McElroy

I know some of you may have been thinking: “You’ve been at this for a while now. What exactly have you been doing?” Even if you weren’t thinking that, I’m going to tell you!

When I first started working on Born To Be, I worked with a graphic designer to create a couple of initial designs for the line.  Before Born To Be went on hiatus last year, I somehow managed to use my very basic Adobe Illustrator skills to create a sketch of a play dress and T-shirt for the Born To Be line which incorporated these designs.  (And before doing that, I had to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator which was its own time-consuming project).

Here are a couple examples of what I came up with:

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I then worked with a sample maker and sew shop near me to create physical samples the dress and T-shirt. This is the first of several steps to getting a design ready for production by a factory.

The result was a jersey gray t-shirt and t-shirt style dress made from an organic cotton recycled polyester fabric with bright pink trims and contrast stitching. The samples looked much like the sketches but without the graphic designs, since the printing is a separate step in the process. 

The samples were cute.  But they weren’t quite what I wanted them to be. And the more I studied children’s clothes and focused on the things that really stood out as high-quality, unique, and beautiful, the less satisfied I became with the fabric as well.  It was soft and it was sustainably made right here in the US. But I questioned the durability and it didn’t quite have that feel that makes you want to rub it against your cheek all day long.  I also had concerns about the quality of the samples themselves.

When I resumed working on Born To Be last month, I decided that the clothing designs needed some help.  I wanted to create high-quality clothes with an empowering message but also with a design that stood out. 

The problem is I’m not a designer. I’m hardly even crafty. So when it came to translating my ideas for improvement into design, I was struggling.

So, I decided to get some assistance from a design consultant, who, unlike me, has actually worked in the fashion industry. We had our first meeting last week and right now, we’re working with her on a redesign of the Born To Be play dress and I can’t wait to show you all the result!