Better late than never, here is a discussion of the features that we designed into the child’s coat we produced at last Fall’s apparel manufacturing boot camp that was hosted by the Albuquerque Fashion Incubator and my sewing factory. If you’re new to these parts, we cut and sewed 120 coats in 4 days -all with volunteer labor. After which, the coats were donated to needy families. My company hosts and underwrites the world’s only Apparel Manufacturing Boot Camp which is held twice a year on Memorial and Labor Day weekends, respectively. An immersive educational experience that provides free training, you can sign up for the event next month (due to cancellations, we have 2 openings).
Pitch dispensed with, let’s discuss: above is a photo of the front and back of the child’s coat. Don’t look too closely at its flaws; I only have this coat (and 2 others) because they failed inspection. And yes, we had robust quality control standards. Even though we were giving them away, our standard was retail ready. Needy people get enough of society’s remainders that we would never insult them with anything less. Integrity is everything. But I digress. Features of the coat are as follows:
- A fitted hood -without drawstrings. If you didn’t know, drawstrings are illegal in products intended for children 12 and under.
- Heavy knit rib cuffs to keep one’s arms warm. We had the hardest time sourcing this ($500 minimum). April, an attendee, found scraps at T & T liquidators. I still sing her praises; she solved a huge problem.
- Yokes for safety; we added yokes so we could insert reflective piping into the seam, making the child more visible in low light conditions. This is even more important in the area where our target customer resides as the infrastructure is in tatters.
- The shell fabric is a brushed 12 oz denim, pre-shrunk.
- The back hem of the coat is a good 2″ longer than the front. Our fit model insisted we do this, saying that having it longer in back kept her warmer.
- A heavy YKK zipper plastic zipper, sized for smaller hands.
- Fully lined with a heavy quilted lining. The batting itself is layered between two pieces of lining fabric, making it extra warm.
- Welt pockets, generously sized for mittened hands.
Now onto a discussion of the interior features:
Hood: All of the facings may look like over kill but we built these in for very solid reasons. Take the hood for example; there are facings framing the face because children frequently drag their coats around by the hood. So, this area needs extra wear protection due to handling as opposed to wear.
Hems: The hems are faced for durability. Sure, it would have been a lot less labor to skip this but the lining wears away with constant friction. My thinking was that worst case that the hem facing wears out, an enterprising person could repair the jacket by replacing the facing itself. Without a facing, the bottom of the lining would likely have been in tatters, making a repair more difficult (but not impossible). A separate facing makes a possible future repair, much easier. I should also mention that not only are the insides faced, they are also fused for even longer life.
Back Facing: This is another thing we could have skipped to save time but again, the back neck and shoulders exact a lot of wear on a jacket. We did not design the garment to last for one child -it was our hope that the jacket will be durable to be passed down at least five or six times.
This garment had a lot of pieces which represents a challenge in cutting the various fabrics and managing the bundles. If you’re curious, below is a screen capture of the pieces.
Finally, after repeated requests from visitors, the pattern will be available for sale. I’ll start shipping them the week of May 9th, 2016. I’ll post purchasing information later.