Spring 2016: Dressing Seniors

Jody_elderly_ladyScope of project:

To determine our second project, we conducted interviews with social workers and agencies in attempt to discover under served markets. Almost accidentally, we learned that seniors were a good prospect because once we feed, house and medicate the elderly, they get very little assistance.  Similarly, seniors have increasingly challenging fit and dressing problems as arthritis and range of motion limitations increase along with age.

Thus, we determined to make house dresses for elderly women with limited resources. The plan is to provide each recipient with two dresses if not three. Accordingly, we will be creating a minimum of 3 different dress styles and in at least 3 different colorways because it simply would not do to give each lady, three identical dresses.


February 26-29, 2016, we will start and finish the design phase of the house dress project. There are six slots open with three reserved for New Mexico residents. The production segment will commence May 27-30, 2016; supervisors will need to arrive on May 26th.

Design: In the first phase February 26-29, 2016, boot camp designers will:

  • Analyze fitting and dressing challenges for our “customer”.
  • Design for a production run with a minimum of 3 styles and 3 colorways.
  • Design dresses with a variety of features valued by our “customer” with an emphasis on self dressing.
  • Assist in pattern creation and complete production pattern auditing for each style.
  • Sew mock ups of each style for group critique
  • Once designs are finalized, 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 in May.

Production: In this phase May 27-30, 2016, attendees will:

  • How to spread and cut large quantities of fabric
  • How to organize cut pieces for best sewing efficiency
  • Proper factory fusing
  • Sewing– for quality and efficiency!
  • Troubleshooting and problem solving
  • Finishing and quality control
  • Packaging and labeling
  • Order fulfillment

Attendees are required to read the caveats, follow the dress code, bring minimal supplies and observe all safety requirements.


The fee covers the cost of fabric, thread, zippers, buttons and all the stuff we need to make the products that we donate. The Sewing Factory School (Apparel Technical Svcs) volunteers the use of the factory, buys the machines, provides the training, to say nothing of not being able to earn an income to pay our own bills for the duration of these events, so we rely on our volunteers to cover the cost of materials for each boot camp session.

  • $400 -Design phase
  • $250 -Production
  • $40 for catered lunches ($10 per day per person)


There’s a gem of a place just a few blocks away -the Sandia Peak Inn Motel. This isn’t the best part of town but this place is the second most highly rated place in the city. It is also possible that we may be able to host visitors here in the factory provided one is not too particular. You’ll need an air mattress but we have a full kitchen with stove, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, a shower and laundry facilities.

Support the project

If you know you can’t participate but would like to underwrite the project or sponsor a scholarship, you can do that too. If you choose to donate, please fill out the registration form so we can thank you properly and notify the benefactor of your generosity.

Previous session was rated 4.67 out of five stars by attendees. Some of their comments:

I was amazed by the laying out the fabric and cutting, level of quality and complexity of the coat.

I didn’t understand how much work would go into the project and the scale of all the people involved, I was amazed at the planning and prep work required for an operation like this. Meeting new people and seeing the project from beginning to end was beyond my expectations.

Being able to get hands on training from people in the industry was invaluable. I was glad to see that everybody was encouraged to try anything and everything.

The thoroughness in which the production process was organized. Numbering each piece and garment helped to alleviate much of the confusion I thought we would face. I also appreciated how everyone was encouraged to try things they had not done before or may not been successful with in the past.

I didn’t expect the attention to detail and quality of finished product. The teamwork and overall interactions were fantastic!

Exceptionally hands on. No shortage of all kinds of work. The group was diverse and had specialized knowledge (industry and otherwise).

I thought we would get to observe up close, the manufacturing process. I didn’t realize we would get to be the factory. That absolutely made this experience even more awesome!!

The factory was well equipped, a lot of care and expense went into making sure we had everything we needed. The lunches and dog tags were completely unexpected, loved them both!


If you’re ready to sign up, please fill out the form. Please indicate which session you’re signing up for. Again, signing up for the design phase automatically registers you for production. Since the design phase will fill up quickly, registrants may be put on a wait list. I’ll be sure to notify you quickly.

8 Replies to “Spring 2016: Dressing Seniors”

  1. We have three sign ups for the design phase from out of state so that is full for now. We have one slot filled for New Mexico with 2 still open. I will keep the NM slots open for a week and then take first come, first served from the waiting list. In other words, by all means, fill out the registration form to be put on the waiting list.


  2. Hi,

    I registered for the production segment of the Spring 2016: Dressing Seniors boot camp earlier today. However, I have not been able to figure out what name/email to use to pay the fee via PayPal. Please let me know.

    Charisse Stewart


  3. […] a week and then take first come, first served from the waiting list. In other words, by all means, fill out the registration form to be put on the waiting […]


  4. All design phase filled yesterday, including the slots reserved for New Mexicans.

    There are only about 10 slots left for the production event in May so sign up soon if you’re planning on coming.


  5. We had 2 last minute cancellations so we have 2 openings. First come, first served!


  6. I realized that I just applied for 2016, which has already gone by! If you do a project in Spring 2017, I’d love to be a part of it!


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