Apparel manufacturers converge in Albuquerque NM

Our sewing supervisors, heading out from Austin TX this morning.

Our sewing supervisors, heading out from Austin TX this morning.

Here’s a run down for this first ever event, we have participants coming from as far away as Calgary AB Canada, and with financial support from cities like London and Hong Kong!

2- Albuquerque NM
1- Espanola NM
9- Austin TX
1-Bloomington IN
1-Buffalo NY
1- Calgary Alberta Canada
4- Centerville MO
1-Detroit MI
1-Farmington UT
2- Hackensack NJ
1-Houston TX
1-Los Angeles CA
1-Norristown PA
3-Oakland CA
1-Portland OR
3-Richmond VA
2-San Marcos TX

Texas is the clear winner with 12 residents attending.

It’s pretty amazing that this event is happening at all, it’s the first time it has ever been done, anywhere, ever. Oh, a buddy of mine and I used to do 3 day manufacturing boot camps events in the late 90’s (in Missouri) but it was nothing like this. Each person only made one item. This time, we’ll be making over 100 fully lined coats to donate to needy children.

It’s gratifying that New Mexico is on the map for hosting this historic event but sad that so few local residents choose to participate. New Mexico is also home to the leading international site for apparel production. New Mexicans often grouse that we’re last on every economic indicator but we should  take advantage of the resources we do have. Everybody else does.

Boot Camp Orientation & Updates


Tommy is fine tuning the welt pocket machine I bought to sew the coat pockets. I’ve known Tommy for 25 years; we worked in the same factory way back when.

Well, we’re eagerly awaiting the start of apparel manufacturing boot camp and working like fools to get it all done. We’re looking forward to meeting all of you and getting some work done for a great cause.

Here are a few updates and reminders:
1. Schedule
2. Factory Feeding
3. Lunch sponsors
4. Coat recipient selection
5. Supply list -please note that the supply list has changed slightly.
6. Mandatory dress code
7. Safety and scents policy Read More

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. Read More