Spring 2018: Kid’s pants manufacturing

Next Friday, our Spring 2018 event officially begins. Friday is somewhat anticlimactic because people start arriving as early as the Tuesday, or even Monday, prior. It is an exciting time, lots of positive and young energy fills the place up. And, many hands make light work of all the set up that is involved in organizing an event of this magnitude.

So let’s meet the pre-production team who volunteered to organize the projects we’re undertaking. Left to right (back), Rhonda, Celeste, Emily, Melanie. Front row: Lisa, Sammy and Courtney. This crew was unusual in that nearly everyone (except Courtney from Canada) was local. We did have two people from out of town but they had to cancel for pre-production (they’ll be here for production). It’s very affirming that we had so many local residents this time, first time ever.

Our crew had the task of testing several pant styles for suitability in our environment. Specifically, these were the criteria they had to fulfill:

  • Create an industrial engineering work study to determine the number of operations, sewing time per operation and type of equipment will we need.
  • Analyze the sewing skills we need to train for and finalize a plan to manage the challenges of an unknown workforce.
  • Assist with cut order planning (calculating yields), creating the master schedule to order goods, final costing, and generally learning how to manage production soup to nuts.
  • Finalize the sourcing plan to include the costs and inventory we need to complete the project.

So, no small feat.

Notes on upcoming Fall 2018

There has been scattered discussion among stakeholders about doing something different for Fall 2018 when we traditionally make coats. It has been suggested that the upcoming event should be invitation only, invitations primarily extended to alums of previous events. This could be seen as exclusionary but we are testing a whole gamut of changes in how we do things and for assessment purposes, alumni have something to compare with and ideally, they’d have a better idea of what is working and what isn’t as we look forward to Spring 2019.

The other idea is that we will begin to hold a lottery for registrants. Reason being, our slots fill so quickly now that many interested candidates never get the chance to register in time to be considered. So, the latter is also a possibility. I’m not sure how long I should keep registration open for the lottery -maybe a month?

So, this is all that has been happening around here. There is much more of course but as I am remiss in posting, one can draw inaccurate conclusions. Attendees post a lot of photos and such to Instagram. Search with the #abqfi hashtag for a more complete picture.

And to remind you, our 501c3 charitable status was approved in January 2018. We welcome whatever support you can provide. Call if you like.

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Our charity status was approved!

I’m pleased to announce that our IRS application for 501c3 status was approved in only 3 weeks. I’d heard it can take up to 2 years for approval so we were very pleased that our commitments to assisting needy New Mexico kids and increasing economic development through training entrepreneurs in factory management, was recognized so quickly.

We appreciate the support of all of our participants and the manufacturing community. We are grateful for the donation of sewing machines, tools, goods, marketing, and of course, money. If you’re looking for information on how we can support you, see Manufacturing Boot Camp or call us during regular office hours.

If you know you can’t participate in the world’s only clothing manufacturing boot camps but would like to underwrite the project or sponsor a scholarship, you can do that too. Please let us know if you’re providing a scholarship so we can notify the benefactor of your generosity.

We’re becoming a Not for Profit! And, a 2017 Summary of Good Works

At the end of this year, we want to provide an update to everyone who is interested in the ABQFI community and mission.

Our mission is to produce first quality sewn products for donation to charities and underserved communities in New Mexico; these products are made by volunteers during events that we host twice each year. We call these events “Apparel Manufacturing Bootcamps”, during which volunteers may experience everything from design through final inspection in a real factory environment.

To date, here is a list of the bootcamps, the number of volunteers, and a synopsis of the items produced and donated:

Boot Camp EventVolunteers
Fall 2015435104 coats
Spring 2016830270 house dresses
Fall 2016525105 coats
100 cat trap covers*
Spring 2017722100 pants
360 napkins**
Fall 2017629100 coats
86 pants
75 Cat trap covers*

Total: 5 camps including 4 pre-production camps


>100 volunteers

Including many returning alumni


Total Production:

309 coats
270 house dresses
186 pants
360 napkins
175 cat trap covers

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