If you’re a designer or DIY enthusiast, you’re probably familiar with the term DIY.
If not, you might know the concept of a “fabricator” — a professional who assembles or makes items for you, usually with a degree or certification.
“There’s a lot of people who have a degree in a different discipline and a job that involves fabricating things for themselves,” says Scott Mankoff, a design director at the design studio Artisan & Crafts in New York City.
“Fabricating for others is very rewarding.”
The fabricator can then turn the work into an item or sell it on eBay or Etsy.
But if you’re new to DIY, you probably don’t know the difference between the two terms.
How do you tell the difference?
“The way people talk about fabricating and fabricating for themselves, they use both terms interchangeably,” says Karen McBride, a certified textile designer who works with a number of designers.
“But fabricating is not just fabricating a piece of cloth.
It’s also fabricating an item and making it a part of the finished product.”
If you do know the distinction, you can use a couple of simple guidelines to identify the differences.
“I don’t think there’s a single word that’s going to define this,” McBride says.
“It’s really about what you’re doing.
How much is you making it yourself?
What’s the process involved?
What are the materials and techniques?
How are you making the pieces together?”
The first step in determining whether you need a professional is to find someone who can help you with your process.
“When you’re getting into the design process, the person who you’re going to hire is going to be your go-to person for that,” McLean says.
That person might be a fabricator, a fabric supplier, a machine shop, or a professional embroidery designer.
“For the fabricator it’s not just about making the fabric,” Mclean says.
It means that you need to know the fabric needs to be durable enough to withstand repeated use, the shape needs to make the finished item look like it’s going into the future, and that the fabric is going into a particular project, such as a wedding dress or a sewing project.
“If you’re using a machine or fabric to do it, it’s probably going to look pretty basic,” McBrea says.
But a professional will also be able to tell you about the process and how to work with the machine, so you can plan for a project and avoid mistakes.
“The fabricator is going in and they’re going through the process of making a piece that is going out and into the world,” McLaughin says.
She suggests going through a fabric store to get the pieces you’re buying, then you’ll be ready to fabricate your first item.
The next step is to know how much you’re paying for your finished product.
“You want to know what your cost is,” McBelsay says.
If you don’t, you’ll have to start over with something that is a lot cheaper.
“So you might go to a local fabric store and get a couple items at a time,” Mcbelsay says, “or you might take an online search engine like Etsy or Amazon to see what the fabricators are selling, and you’ll find what you want.
That way you know you’re making a good value, and it also means you know the quality and you’re not going to have to spend a lot on it.”
After your fabricator has your piece, you should also talk to your manufacturer or fabricator.
“They can help,” McMillan says.
McLean suggests going to your local store or fabric store where you can see if the fabric has a label that will let you know what’s inside.
“This is a really important thing because you want to make sure the product is going toward the end product,” McLeary says.
A label is a sign that says, This is the finished garment.
It also shows that the material is made of durable, sustainable fabrics.
“These labels can be a big step in the fabricating process,” McLaure says.
They tell you the cost of the materials you’re working with, the dimensions of the pieces, and where you need help.
“Your fabricator will tell you exactly what to do,” McLeod says.
Then you can go to your final destination and put it all together.
When you have your finished item, the next step in your process is to put it on display and sell it online.
“Once you put it in a place, you want it to stand out and be a symbol of your work,” McBritt says.
There are a couple different types of websites you can look to.
One is called Etsy, which has a listing of many of the items you can buy on Etsy.
Another is a site called The Design Museum, which lists