Fall 2018 Apparel Manufacturing Boot Camp Registration is open

It seems I have less time than ever to post updates and I apologize if anyone is inconvenienced by it. Spring 2018 ended last month, another energizing and vibrant event spent with volunteers constructing the pants we donate to needy NM kids. I thank everyone for their love, time and contributions.

Our next event, Fall 2018, will focus on making kid’s coats (again). These are the dates:

Pre-production phase July 1-4, 2018, 8:00 AM -5:00 PM
Production phase: August 31-September 3, 2018, 7:30 AM -5:00 PM

Event Address: 410 Old Coors Dr SW, Albuquerque NM 87121
Contact us at (505) 877-1713 or factory AT abqfi DOT.com

The usual course is that I open registration to volunteers and we go from there. This time, we’re doing something a little different –Fall 2018 will be a reunion event open to past participants. Also, we’ll be inviting a few people. If you want to be invited, introduce yourself in an email at the address above.

F2018 will be staffed differently because we plan to do more than sew coats; we plan to test our processes. We’ve changed quite a few things about our operations since we first started in 2015, and we are looking for feedback from people who have attended a boot camp in the past. We want to know what is good, what’s bad, how we can be more efficient and still train people effectively and quickly.

So, if you’re an alum and haven’t gotten an invitation via email, let me know so we can rectify it. If you would like to be invited, please send an email introducing yourself and telling us why.

Registration by Lottery: Since the boot camps fill so quickly (sometimes less than an hour), we are going to a lottery system. We’ve had a lot of complaints from people who didn’t know that registration was open until it was too late so we hope this system will be better. There will be a 2 week period to sign up and then we’ll draw names out of the proverbial hat. Once you’re notified of having gotten in, you’ll need to pay a $50 deposit within 3 days time. If the deposit isn’t paid, we pull the next name on the list. 

In sum, registration is officially open. To get to the registration page, check your email or request an invitation. 

Oh, I almost forgot the best part. We’ve decided to increase the number of pre-production slots to 10 people so if you couldn’t get in before, you have a greater chance of doing so now.

To recap, these are the tasks that are completed in pre-production (if you sign up for pre-production, you are automatically enrolled in production):

Pre-production: In the first phase July 1-4, 2018, boot campers will:

    • Analyze fitting and dressing challenges for our “customer”.
    • Design for a production run for one style and 2 colorways.
    • Analyze garments with features valued by our “customer” with an emphasis on safety and utility.
    • Assist in pattern creation and complete production pattern auditing for each style.
    • Sew mock ups of each proposed style for group critique
    • Once a design is selected from the submissions, create finished samples.
    • 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.
  • Ideally, those attending the design phase will assume supervisory or management roles for the production phase over Labor Day (August 31-Sept 3).

We can’t wait to see you!

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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Video of Fall 2017 Boot Camp

I have a treat for you. Documentary film maker, Ramona Emerson, of Reel Indian Pictures, came by during the Fall 2017 Boot Camp to shoot some footage. Ramona’s latest film is The Mayors of Shiprock. You can see this on PBS; October 19th, 2017 at 7 pm NM PBS Channel 5.1. It will also be broadcast on WORLD Channel on November 6, 2017.  Enjoy!