Spring 2018: Kid’s School Pants

Scope of project:

We will be making 100+ pairs of zip fly front, trouser style pants for donation to school aged needy children in New Mexico. We’re staffing for 25 positions. If you want to jump ahead to registration, start by filling out this questionnaire.

If you want to see photos and read comments from past events, definitely check out our Instagram and Facebook pages.


January 12-15, 2018, are the dates we will hold the pre-production phase of the pants project. There are six slots open with three reserved for New Mexico residents. The production segment will commence March 16-19, 2018 with coaches and managers starting work on March 15th. We encourage anyone to come early, especially if you want to see how pattern markers are made and to help with spreading fabric which takes place on March 15th. Production pattern auditing and marker making will be done on March 14, 2018. Production planning (sequencing and bundling) is finalized on March 15th. As a practical matter, many people show up the Monday or Tuesday before. I know it may seem strange to show up early, with a bunch of strangers but it works out. We have loads of fun and we can definitely use extra hands in getting the factory switched over to production of the pants.

Melanie, MVP

Pre-production: In the first phase January 12-15, 2018, boot camp designers will:

  • Analyze fitting and dressing challenges for our “customer”.
  • Design for a production run for one style and 2 colorways.
  • Design pants 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 in March.

Production: In this phase March 16-19, 2018, attendees will assist with:

  • Spreading and cutting large quantities of fabric (if you want to help spread, be here on March 15, 2018)
  • Organizing cut pieces for best sewing efficiency (bundling and shade marking)
  • Proper factory fusing
  • Sewing– for quality and efficiency!
  • Learning to train inexperienced sewing operators
  • Creating and producing work instructions
  • Troubleshooting and problem solving
  • Finishing and quality control
  • Final pressing
  • Packaging, labeling and order fulfillment.

Prospective attendees are required to read the caveats, follow the dress code, bring minimal supplies, complete the required reading and sewing tutorials and observe all safety requirements. There will be a test the first day because many people think we won’t know that they haven’t done the reading. We will! If you’re not dissuaded, please fill out this questionnaire.


There seems to be a bit of confusion on this. This is a charitable endeavor that my company has created to benefit entrepreneurs who want to start sewing factories but have never been in one; and to benefit needy citizens of New Mexico. The fee covers the cost of fabric, thread, zippers, buttons and all the stuff we need to make the products that we donate. The Albuquerque Sewing Factory (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. We provide a few scholarships as donations permit but these are not guaranteed. There are no refunds 30 days prior to the event and you will have to pay to secure your slot. You’ll know you’ve been accepted when you receive an invoice.

  • $500 -Pre-production phase
  • $350 -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.


If you’re ready to sign up, please start by filling out the questionnaire. Signing up for the pre-production phase automatically registers you for production. Since the first phase will fill up quickly (last time, in less than 30 minutes!), registrants may be put on a wait list. I’ll be sure to notify you quickly. Be sure to read your invoice! If you don’t pay your deposit by the listed date, you will lose your slot. This is a volunteer effort with no paid staff; do your part by reading instructions carefully.

Support the project

If you would like to underwrite the project or sponsor a scholarship (we’re a 501c3!), we would be sincerely appreciative of your generosity.

Event rating for Fall 2016: 4.95 out of five stars

Some comments from Fall 2016 attendees:

The people, all the volunteers were better than I could have imagined. I felt no matter what happened or the mood, everyone pulled together and worked.

I always believed that the factory takes short cuts but now know that production does way more work than I ever have and taught. Seeing a high quality RTW coat come together has been a life changing event for me. I honestly had no idea they were so picky and obsessed with the smallest seam details. This experience has changed how I approach my sewing forever.

The patience and willingness of everyone to help and teach and share information.

Jumping right in. Extreme hands on. You are not kidding when you call it a boot camp.

I finally got over my fear of sewing zippers.

The work ethic of the other campers. The amount of time and effort the factory owners continue to put into improving the boot camp experience and refining the groups’ work process and flow.

The team. Great group of students and excellent hosts.

The amount of planning and coordination needed to make this all happen. I learned way more than I could have imagined.

I wasn’t expecting to meet such great people. Being for the most part self taught, it felt like I found my family in this lovable bunch.

I was very impressed with the spreading and how important it is to be accurate with it. Overall I was most impressed with how much I enjoyed the entire experience.

Seeing the production process from printing the pattern to sewing the garment was helpful in understanding all the information in your book.

All the tips that were pointed out. Examples: how to handle fabric, how to sew on a cuff, how important seam allowances are.

How to eyeball seam allowances that were incorrect. The importance of process and quality control.

Attention to detail, focusing on detail and of course, inspecting for detail.

I learned much more about the machines and feel much more confident in the spreading/cutting.

I absolutely loved the opportunity to be here!! Everyone was so helpful and willing to share their stories of trial and error, what works for them and even knowing their skill level. What I loved about the boot camp was that I was given the opportunity to try different activities on each day. No day was ever the same and that’s what I enjoyed because it never got boring. Even the littlest job of taking the jacket to another person was great because it gave me a chance to interact with them.

Your willingness as a production manager to allow us to learn what we wanted was important as well because we are taking back that knowledge we were looking for. All your insights and tips are so valuable. I absolutely loved all the hands on time I had here and I truly, truly had a fun, enjoyable and amazing time. It will always be memorable for me. Thank you for allowing me to be here. 🙂

I came here to meet like minded people who I can connect with about my passion. I feel like this event is going to have a big effect on me. It’s exciting to connect with people who want to do similar work. Anyway, I feel like I can see how this is possible now. Thanks.

Thanks again for all your hard work Kathleen and Eric. I know it’s not your job to track people down to ask for their help but please don’t ever hesitate to call and ask me if you need an extra hand with things in the factory. I’ll be here if I’m not already booked.

First day was exciting and confusing. I loved it. I had never seen fabric spread and cut. Second day, systems starting to come together for me. Felt promising with better understanding.

I learned so much, now I have to figure out what to do with it. I hope someday I will do this knowledge and your generosity, justice. I hope I can come again in the spring. Thanks again for the opportunity!

I didn’t get moved to various jobs but that wasn’t important to me. What I wanted to see was how this whole process happened. Mistakes were the best lessons and we got to see how many mistakes although tiny at their particular section/session creates bigger and bigger problems down the line.

Thank you for everything. This has been a wonderful valuable experience. It has given me the confidence to jump in with 2 feet and be 100% committed to starting my own factory on the east coats. Many thanks!