Behind The Seams: A Day in the life of a Garment Technician Karen McGregor

Following the last interview with our Head Garment Technician, Suzanne Cleminson we are featuring the effervescent Karen McGregor.

Karen is the Garment Technician for our Plus Size range (Sara, Capture Woman, Grace Hill Woman, Emerge Woman, Together Woman) who works her magic to bring out beautiful Plus Size pieces season after season.

We found Karen working hard in the fitting room with a size 16 mannequin; ensuring one of EziBuy’s popular beaded dress looks good on women of any shape and size.

Tell us about a little about yourself and your current role
I have been working at Ezibuy for just over 4 years now as a Garment Technician. Overall, I have been a Garment Technician for over 10 years. Prior to that, I was a factory supervisor in a lingerie company for 5 years. I began my work experience in the Fashion Industry as a Garment Machinist that has spanned over 18 years for 3 different companies. I would say I know the ‘Rag Trade’ very well and have extensive experience in different areas of the industry.

What is a typical day at work for you?
On most days my work revolves around measuring and fitting garments. From there, I will come back with some comments on the fit on garments via emails. My other daily responsibilities include checking Fabric Test Reports and Costing. I am also involved with issuing approvals for the ‘Care & Content’ labels.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
I like taking on challenges as it keeps me inspired and I also enjoy the process of developing a garment from a few garment ideas to sketching the garment on Corel Draw.

If someone is considering a career as a Garment Technologist, what advice would you give them?
It is a challenging career and you must have a big passion for the Fashion Industry.

What was the biggest challenge to getting where you are today when you started out your career in this industry?
Having faith and stepping up, being positive and going forth. I went from being a machinist to supervising to now a Garment Technician, who knows where I will head to next. That is the exciting part!

Name one item in your wardrobe this season that you are looking forward to wear and why.
Coats! Because it completes your whole look.

Who is your fashion/style icon and why?
It has to be Trelise Cooper. I love her flare and take on things. I also like Vivienne Westwood. I was a punk in the 80’s and I love the strange and wacky.

How different is the process of selecting the type of material/cut/details for plus size clothing range?
Due to paying more for the Modern Curve range you need a better weight and quality of fabric, stretch is good; firm to hold OR soft to drape but does not cling to the body. I also look at adding concealed support panels and this need to be carefully done as to where seam lines fall on the body, necklines and armholes to give the right coverage, sleeve and body lengths as well to give the desired look for the larger woman.

Do you have any tips for plus size women shopping for a flattering dress for a night out? (type of material, cut, print, colour or combination to avoid?)
Go for drapey non-clingy fabric to cover the lumps and bumps. Also, choosing a firm woven stretch fabric if the sizing of the woman is proportionate. If you are going for stripes, go for vertical stripes that run down the body. For tops, stay away from big cowl necks lines. Lastly, remember that double breasted garments; coats, blazers or jackets are not the most flattering on a larger woman.

What is your favorite fashion trend?
As for fashion I am a big lover of roses and I have a lot of classic rose print garments but I don’t date in my over-flowing wardrobe.

Shop the Grace Hill Woman Beaded Shift Dress