Re-framing industrial methods

This is response to all the cries and whimpers…”making a jig is too much work”…”so and so says to do this…” …”…if I use so and so’s method, how do I make this work?…” …”what’s an easier way, this is too much work…”

First of all, I’m not stupid. I know the methods I describe are not in any sewing books because all the sewing books say the same thing. You guys say you want “industrial secrets” but when you get them you complain that they’re too much work or they’re not what you’re used to. I don’t care if you agree with me, this is just the way it is. I didn’t design those machines or processes so complain to the engineers at AMF Reece (for one) if you don’t like it because I was never consulted in the matter.

If you’re thinking this is too much prep work, I can only hope you never intend to manufacture. If you’re an enthusiast, I’m delighted that you are here and you’re welcome to learn all you can but the methods and processes I demonstrate are not designed for custom clothiers, one-off designers or home sewers but for manufacturing. My customers are manufacturers, not home sewers. Or perhaps you’ve confused me with yet another home sewing expert who claims to work in apparel industry because that’s all you’ve ever known. And for the record, other than Connie Crawford, I don’t know of any “known” figures in the home sewing world that work in the apparel industry. None. For years they could get away with pretending they did because who was going to have the means to contradict them? Well now I do. And I’m telling you, there’s no such thing as a sewing expert in the apparel industry. None. Every plant has their own expert. They’re called “sample maker” and or “pattern maker”. Nobody you ever would have heard of.

I can understand you may think that making a jig is a lot of work but a manufacturer will use it an innumerable number of times. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t do less work, we do more and that’s why our stuff looks better. Your way doesn’t ensure reproducible results which is why we do things this way. Also, do us a favor and decide whether it is that manufacturers are keeping secrets from you, or, we are making junk. You can’t have it both ways. Either we make junk or we keep sewing secrets from you.

Before complaining this is too much work, try doing it a couple of times before you lament that it doesn’t suit your standard practices or it’s not like your favorite author’s book. I don’t know how you expect to learn new things if you only want to do things the way you’ve always been doing them. If you can’t get your home sewing way to produce professional results for you and you have the book and tried it innumerable times, I don’t know how you expect me to get it to work for you when I’m not familiar with what you’ve been taught.

I know you’ve been taught that our ways are easier and it is because we use this jig! It’s only extra work at the outset. Spending the money (time) to make a jig is a lot less expensive because it allows you to reproduce exact results, so you save them. This is a tool you make yourself. People who own manufacturing companies and who can’t afford a reece machine ($25,000-$35,000) will make these jigs out of metal. I have several jigs like this for different kinds of pockets and different weights of materials. Only the jig changes, not the sewing process.

I reiterate: While I’m glad you’re here, I can’t design my lessons to you for the myriad of bizarre ways different home sewing experts say to do it. Besides, if you can’t get your home sewing way to work for you -and you know more about home sewing than I do- how can you possibly expect me to make it work for you? I can’t defy the laws of physics. Consider trying it before complaining. You’ll love it and you’ll never go back.

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  1. Kathleen says:
    “I can understand that homesewers may think that making a jig is a lot of work but a manufacturer will use it an innumerable number of times. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t do less work, we do more and that’s why our stuff looks better.”

    as a custom clothier timidly thinking about entering the rtw market, this concept (which I got from her book) changed my CUSTOM business for teh better. Basically, I realized that there was nothing wrong with the fact that my clothes are way more expensive than ready-to-wear, it’s not that I totally lack skills, I’m just going though all the hoops for each client!

    I use paper jigs for LOTS of things–turning hems is a great one. I also have a metal jig I bought in Japan that has 4 different round corners that’s great for pockets, etc. I can confirm that it’s worth the inital effort for the ease and excellence of the results.

    But then, I don’t like sewing, so I’m happy to do more prep to minimize it :)

    Kathleen: more jigs, please!

  2. Paul says:

    Jigs are great time saving tools even if you are only going to use it once or twice. It saves having to mark up fabric and measuring over and over again. If you make a jig you are more likely to use it again too.

  3. russ b says:

    Old, been around, new to sewing. Started with a froze up (viking 6k) project. Tried sewing and like it. Alas, one has to mostly ignore the hobby trade infotainment, “if you’d like to Build_One…measured plans…”, pitchman.

    Thanks Kathleen, for telling it like it is.

  4. Jenna Jordan says:

    I Am so thrilled to have found your site! My two biggest passions in life: sewing and manufacturing (seriously) LOVE LOVE LOVE your tutorials!

  5. Judith says:

    Thank you for providing all this information. I have been sewing for 50 years and still can’t get the look of RTW. I’m glad to learn a better process.

  6. Juditz says:

    Boy you are my kind of gal.!!! Say it like it is. If you don’t want to change, don’t gripe.
    to the point.
    I want to try new things because it may actually help me do a better job or possibly even a faster one.
    I have done alterations for many years. Bridal and I am still learning new ways.
    I have taken gowns apart and reconstruct just to learn the techniques that i like.

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