Week Seven - Buttons & Pressing
Our final week in the factory is all about the details. First, buttons are sewn on, then each jacket is quality checked inside and out, before being pressed and folded.
Week Six - Sewing Part 2
This past week every jacket has been sewn, ready to be dyed next week, check out the video below to really see your jacket taking shape.
Oh, and the ladies in the factory have come to expect the weekly visits from Vitor, our videographer... you'll notice everybody had their nails done before this week's visit!
Week Five - Sewing Part 1
For the past week, the team in Portugal have begun sewing each and every jacket, making preparations ahead of them coming together completely next week. Watch the video below to see finer details like labelling, collar preparations and pocket stitching.
You'll notice every detail is shown on a white fabric and you might not recognise it as yours, but it is! We make every jacket in an off-white 'pfd' fabric which means it's 'prepared for dye'. Jackets are fully sewn even with their labels in before they're dyed. This means being able to make the exact number of jackets your ordered in each colour, without having any excess fabric. Another result of garment dying is that your jacket will be little softer than had the fabric been dyed on the roll before sewing.
Week Four - Cutting
For the past week, Sandra, our head pattern cutter has been preparing the cut plan, which means simulating how to lay out the 19 pattern pieces per jacket onto the fabric, making the very best use of the fabric to reduce waste. With 6 size variants, this is a job that takes some serious working out.
Once the cut plan is finalised, it's printed to scale. Then, on a cutting table that's over 10m long, the reverse bull denim is neatly laid out and layered up, pressed flat, ready to be cut.
Here is your jacket being cut in the factory this week:
P.s! At this point we often get asked, "I ordered a coloured jacket, why is all the fabric white?" That's because we use a technique called Garment Dying, we'll tell you more about that in a couple of weeks.
Week Three - Weaving Denim.
This week you’ll see inside Berto Industria Tessile, the Italian denim mill who made the fabric for your chore jacket.
Berto are based in Bovolenta, just outside Venice. Like us, they’re a small company with big ambition. If you'd like to read up on why we chose Berto and this specific denim for our very first chore jacket, and again for Batch No.6, you can do here.
Last year, when we first planning these 'behind the scenes updates', we thought that Covid travel restrictions would be a distant memory by now, and that we’d have been able to be in Italy, showing you around the mill virtually. However as I type this sat in east London, not quite knowing when international travel will fully open up again, we’re pleased to be able to show you something that we think is just as good.
This video shows the many processes of making denim. You’ll notice the denim made is Indigo, rather than the Ecru colour of the denim your jacket is constructed from. That’s because our team couldn’t quite get there to film during the weeks when your fabric was woven. Rather than give up, we worked with Berto to be able to show another of their denims being woven, to give you a good idea of the people, processes and complexity involved in making artisan denim. We do hope you’ll enjoy, and if you have any questions to ask Francesca or Alessandra from the mill, please do get in touch :-)
Week Two - Buttons.
We started making the Corozo nut buttons for your jacket over 15 years ago. Well, that’s when the Tagua Palm tree was planted, and only after 15 years do they start to produce Corozo nuts.
The female trees produce mocochas (big spikey husks) which drop naturally from the tree like a coconut. The husks contain enough valuable Corozo nuts, to make thousands of buttons.
Once collected the nuts are laid out to dry in the sun, before processing into button blanks. Blanks are quite literally blank disks of white nut, from which many styles and sizes of button can be cut. Every nut is cut into slices. The smaller slices destined to become tiny buttons used on shirts, and the biggest and most valuable blanks will become large coat buttons.
Next, the blanks are sent to Andrea & David, Lise & Steve at Courtney & Co in the UK, ready to be made into your buttons. The first stage is taking the blank and ‘turning’ it, which means using machinery to carve the top & bottom sides of the button into the right style & size.
With the buttons carved and ready, there’s just three final stages of the process: polishing, dying and drying.
Week One - The Beginning.
It's been a week since you ordered Batch No.6, our first women's chore jacket, and a little longer for those of you who reserved your jacket early via our fabric deposits.
Since then, work has begun so we wanted to update you on what's happened so far. This week's update takes the form of a written update, and over the weeks to come, you'll see photos and videos as your jacket takes shape.
You see, the first week of making is never our most visual! Think paperwork rather than pattern cutting at this stage! It's very much about getting everyone getting their ducks in a row and gearing up for the making to begin.
So on Monday, we called Sergio to finalise our order, once we knew the sizes and colours each of you had decided on.
Our most popular colour in Batch No.6 was Bill's Blue, followed by French Navy with Sage Green and Ecru very close behind.
Amazingly, you bought this jacket from 29 countries. Mind. Blown.
Sergio was blown away too...
Sergio and Lurdes are responsible for production standards, quality and timings. He wanted to pass on his thanks, on behalf of the whole team, for your order, every jacket means a lot.
We've worked with them to make our jackets since our very first Batch, almost two years ago. We're lucky they agreed to work with us back then, because at the time, we were a very young brand with no track record of ordering from factories. It was a risk for them to agree to work with us. They've since said how glad they are to have taken the punt on us and that they can trust us. We know in return that we've found a great maker to work with for a long time. We have you to thank for that trust.
Other than Sergio and Lurdes, there will be a lot of people involved in making your jacket. From the 40 makers in our mountainside factory in Guimarães, to the skilled fabric weavers over at Berto in Italy, who make the reverse bull denim. Then there's the team of four button makers in the UK, thread makers in Germany, packaging makers in the UK, a Polish illustrator in London and others we'll mention as time goes on.
There's going to be a lot to show you, and we'll be sharing each step of the way until your jacket is made and ready to send in early May.