Week Eight - Buttons & Quality checks
This week was the final week your jacket was in the factory, and it was a busy one. When it came back from the dye house, it needed pressing, quality checking and to have it's buttons attached.
Once each step was complete, it was packed up into a box to start it's journey to us. On Friday afternoon, every jacket left the factory, wrapped up on four palettes, ready to begin the journey by road. All being well, they'll arrive with us in 7 working days. That means your jacket will leave us and start it's journey to you around the 12th - 15th of November. We can't wait to get your jacket to you.
The video below shows a few of those processes in action. Enjoy!
Week Seven - Time to add some colour
Imagine you've sewn 750 jackets and they need to be dyed. You've got 6 sizes, and 5 colours, that's a lot of possible combinations, and it's not something we ever want to get wrong. So this week begun with carefully sorting through all the white corduroy jackets, to assemble piles of jackets ready to take on colour, whether it be Emerald, Oat, Navy, Burnt Orange or Olive.
Once they're sorted at the factory in Guimaraes, they travel 20km up the road to neighbouring district, Vizela, to the dye house. This is what it looks like there. Note, these photos are from an earlier, pre-covid era!
Each jacket takes 7 hours to be dyed. They'll begin with a soaking to make sure colour is taken on evenly, then the dye is mixed with water and added into the drum. For a few hours, they'll spin one way, then the other way, making sure colour coverage is perfect. And then it's time to dry.
Once each colour has been dyed and dried, they'll head back to the factory for buttons to be sewn on, as well as post-garment dye quality checks.
Week Six - Sewing Complete.
Week Five - Sewing Your Jacket.
After last week's preparations your jacket has started it's next stage: sewing.
You'll see in the video that everybody in the factory has a niche specialist area they're working on. One person is responsible for attaching the cuffs, another is solely focused on pocket bands, someone else on piping the inside seams and sew-on...
Sewing takes two weeks for our team, and one by one, jackets are coming off the production line looking more like, well... jackets! You'll see Lurdes (the production manager) is holding up a part sewn jacket inspecting the various processes it goes through. Quality checking like this happens everyday to make sure each part is done just right.
To see your jacket taking shape, watch this week's update below:
Week Four - Preparing Your Jacket for Sewing.
Now that every piece of your jacket has been cut, all those individual pieces need to be prepared before they get sewn together into a jacket.
Preparations include folding, pressing, overlocking, pointing the cuffs and collars, marking out on each front panel where the pockets will be located, and sewing on all labels to name just a few. And don't worry, all the pen marks that are made on the jackets at this stage come out in the wash! They're just there to help to make sure every part is accurate.
Side note - The pressing/ironing doesn't get much of the lime light in factories, but it's such an important stage of preparation. It's easy to be heavy handed with the iron and stretch or change the shape of something like a pocket band. If not done right it can change the fit and details of the jacket. It requires a lot of care and attention so that when the pockets are sewn onto the jacket, they all look as they're meant to.
To see some of that prep work being done in the factory, check out the video below.
Week Three - Cutting Your Jacket.
This week your jacket has been cut.
Counting up every piece from the cuffs to the hang loop, that’s 25 pieces for every jacket we make. Over 19,000 pieces in total will be cut!
Paula (who you will see in the video below) has been cutting all week. We visited her on Monday and again yesterday to see more of the cutting.
The process is a complex one.
First, Sandra (the head of pattern making and grading) creates the cut plan. That means working out how each pattern piece will be cut from the 1.5m wide fabric, with as little waste as possible.
Sandra works out the cut plan on her computer, laying out each piece for every size separately. It’s important that every piece of your jacket is cut from the same roll of fabric, so that they react in the exact same way when they’re dyed.
Next the cut plan is printed to scale and laid over multiple layers of corduroy stacked on top of each other. To keep them in place, they’re pressed down firmly and clamped into position.
And then cutting begins. One pattern piece at a time.
Paula uses an electronic cutting knife to cut through all the layers of cord, and she wears a chainmail glove to protect her guiding hand. She can cut up to 50 pieces of corduroy accurately in one go. Here she goes...!
Once each size is completely cut, the individual pieces are laid out and labelled by their size, so no piece goes missing.
Next, some components of the jacket need preparing before the sewing begins (we’ll see this being done next week).
Paula was kind enough to let us film her cutting some Medium jackets during our visit. If you look close enough, you might spot your jacket! And if you're wondering where the off-cuts go, they're all recycled, along with all the plastic and paper used in the factory, by a Portuguese government backed recycling scheme.
Next week you’ll see your jacket as it starts to be sewn.