Now that I introduced my friend Trish, I can tell you about the treasure trove she lent me. Until recently, the trade magazine of the operations side of the business was called Bobbin, published by Bobbin Blenheim.They sponsored the annual Bobbin Show, a show of legendary size drawing visitors internationally. Bobbin was acquired and went through some changes, one of which being that we don’t have our annual convention anymore. Many of us remember those days with sadness and fondness. Anyway, Bobbin was published for many years, early on the flavor was distinctly different from what we see in today’s trade magazines (today’s focus is software solutions). Much of the early material was pragmatic, operations related, mostly hands on practical advice. In 1989-90, Bobbin started a new publication called Apparel Manufacturer, A Technical Journal of Bobbin Magazine. Trish has some of these and she finally let me borrow them. These are pretty cool.
I haven’t been able to locate another source for these but according to the published circulation figures, there were at least 17,000 copies distributed. I include the photo above in the event you habituate used book stores so you can know what to look for. These are smallish (7″x10″), perfect bound paper backs.
The topics are of interest to those who operate manufacturing plants, the day to day concerns of how to get things done. Each issue featured articles under various categories, those being Preproduction and Design, Cutting Room, Sewing Room, Pressing and Finishing, Factory Management, and New Products. These included topics like how to train sewing operators, sizing problems, materials utilization (a four part series), how to set up piece rates and incentives, seam puckering, thread breakage, skipped stitches, testing garments, management for small to medium sized manufacturers, all kinds of stuff. You just don’t see this kind of stuff anywhere anymore (outside of what I publish on F-I). I compiled a table of contents (pdf) for download. If you find any topics of particular interest, I can provide excerpts as is appropriate. Ideally, these guidebooks would be reprinted but I can’t imagine how one would go about making that happen.