Coat Manufacturing Boot Camp Progress Report #1

abqfi_jkt_sketch1bLate in coming but here is a tl;dr bullet point list of what we have accomplished so far with explanations to follow :

  • Found “customers” for the donated coats.
  • Nailed down the design -at least four times.
  • Determined the size range (6-12).
  • Technical illustration.
  • Made the pattern (x3)
  • Cut and sewed 3 mock ups, and fit them.
  • Ordered sample fabrics (guaranteed continuity).
  • Checked the pattern (x2)
  • Graded the pattern.
  • Created first marker to determine yield.
  • Costing (x3)
  • Selected final fabric.
  • Ordered zippers.
  • Ordered trims (donated)
  • Ordered cuff ribbing (donated)
  • Ordered quilted lining fabric.
  • Created sample marker (jump set).
  • Cut shell for final sample and hopefully, sew bys.

Missing from this list is lots of stuff -to a large extent, all of the industrial engineering activities. The latter is needed to determine the amount of time we’ll need to sew this stuff up and with how many people and machines. We still don’t have a clear answer on this but should have a much better idea when we do the sew bys this week and weekend.

Indirectly, time studies introduce the subject of both design changes and equipment. Initially, we’d wanted to do welt pockets but decided that the preparation would soak up too many resources (time in marking, pressing and training) and still take longer to sew than we’d like. So we changed the design to do an exposed zipper pocket. Time studies showed that sewing one pocket would take anywhere from 1:30 to 7 minutes, depending on the experience of the operator. Fast forward, I somehow ended up on eBay and bought a welt pocket machine. Now, we’ve decided to go back to welt pockets. An experienced operator can make a pocket in 10 seconds (literally) but I’ll be satisfied if we complete one per minute. Reason is, everybody is going to want to play with the machine but even at that rate, we’ll have all 200 pockets completed in under 4 hours. Before, with the results of the time study, we estimated that we’d need 7 operators on single needle machines, to complete the pockets in a bit over 4 hours.

With a rough idea of the time needed for sewing (SAM, standard allowable minutes), we still want all of the single needle machines we can get. I have 3 (to include the needle feed) and ordered 3 more Adler 281’s which brings us up to 6. Another local manufacturer lent us 2 needle feeds and a participant is bringing 2 of hers for a total of 10. She’s also bringing 2 overlocks; I have one of those so that gives us 3.

Pressing will be an issue mostly due to fusing the pieces before hand; we’ll have 3 pressing stations set up.

Cutting should be less worrisome (famous last words) since we have 2, 48 foot long tables and two spreaders. We’ll also have 2 knives and we’ve got feedrail and trolley plugs to make it even nicer.

I should cut this short now and aspire to fill in some of the blanks. I’ll also post photos of the mock ups which are pretty laughable -however bad they are, they’ll make the final product look even better.

One thing that is still uncertain… how to feed 40 people? I didn’t think of that in the beginning. I suppose I’ll need a hospitality crew too.

One thing that is certain, this is going to be a blast. I know I haven’t been diligent about updating anybody but the amount of time and planning we’ve put into this is immeasurable. Several people have said that they already know that this is going to be a defining experience they’ll fondly remember through out their entire careers. Gratifying but for now, I’m wondering how many people can sleep on a cutting table. That’s another thing I forgot, we’ll need a lot of air mattresses!

And we need lunch sponsors to feed 40 people if you’re interested. You’ll get heavy thanks and a link each time. Inquire within.

One thought on “Coat Manufacturing Boot Camp Progress Report #1

  1. Hi, I’d like to help.
    Can’t come to help in person, maybe for the next project.
    But financial help is a possibility.
    What do you need that a price tag can be suggested?
    All the best,
    Marcia Gold

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