Week Three - Cutting the fabric.
The Organic Cotton Chino fabric used to make Batch No.8 has been 'shrink tested' this week. Each roll was sent 20km up the road to the dye house where testing takes place. We test each roll of fabric to see when dyed, how much it will shrink in the warp and weft. Shrinkage is natural and if we factor it in before cutting, it means your jacket will come out just the right size when it's dyed later on.
With test results back, it's time to tweak the pattern and lay out the pieces alongside each other with as little wasted fabric in-between. Watch the video below to see the cutting take place.
P.s. Offcuts are recycled locally into new cotton thread.
Week Two - Making the 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 carving 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. Here are the brown buttons for the Dusty Pink and Desert Tan jackets being dyed by Lise...
Once dyed, they're counted before being sent to our factory, it's not a job for the faint hearted!
Pictured above: Navy buttons being counted, and Olive Drab buttons drying on a towel before being counted.
Week One - The Beginning.
Here's what's happened so far, and what to expect from our making process.
- Every Friday from now until your jacket is delivered, you'll get an update including photos and videos directly from the factory, showing your jacket being made
- You'll see buttons being dyed, sewing, dying, checking and numbering
- If you have questions about the process along the way, just drop us a message and we'll do our best to show you what's what.
Progress this week.
The first week of making is never the most visual, it's more about getting your ducks in a row, ready for production to begin. On Monday we called Sergio to place our order, after counting the exact sizes and colours you chose. Over the next week we begin to finalise the cut plan. That means organising how best to cut out every pattern piece while making as little waste as possible. This is a job done by Sergio, Sandra and Lurdes.
Sandra is head of pattern cutting and Sergio and Lurdes are responsible for production standards, quality and timings. They wanted to pass on their 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, 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 Sandra, 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 in Italy, who make the organic cotton chino fabric. Then there's the team of four button makers in the UK, thread makers in Germany, packaging makers in the UK, a Korean illustrator who designed your label, and others who 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 November.