Once we checked in, we all ate lunch together in the hotel restaurant. This restaurant did not have very good food, but the fried rice was satisfactory. Then we went back to the jeans factory. Yuan wanted to prepare gifts for us he said. He was going to have his company make us each a pair of custom made jeans. He wanted to get our measurements and wanted us to design them however we wanted. What a special treat this was. I was thrilled to have something custom made and embroidered especially for me. It meant a lot to him to do this for us. But instead of jeans, I chose a jeans skirt and, of course, Jillian could fit into a pair of those “skinny” jeans! They will begin making these for us very soon and send them to us later.
We took a tour of the factory, floor by floor, and were amazed at the skills of the people who worked there. There were no modern computers or lazars for cutting. Everything was done by hand or on a sewing machine. On one floor, two men were laying out the fabric on a huge cutting table. Yuan explained the process to us. They stack the fabric sometimes 300 layers high. The pattern pieces are laid out on top of the stack and then the workers use a large “jigsaw” type saw to cut out each pattern piece. In the U.S., this would be done by a computer and lazar. One woman I watched was putting a stencil on a pocket piece. She had some sort of white solution that she brushed over a stencil that sat on top of a large stack of pocket pieces. She was as fast as any machine; her hands moved like lightening. She would stencil each pocket piece so it could be embroidered with stitching.
On another floor, the pieces are sewn together by the sewing staff. It was a large room with many people at sewing machines. Each person had just one job. I watched one man sew the flat felt seam from one end of the pant leg, around the crotch and down to the other end of the pant leg. It may have taken two or three seconds. I watched in amazement how fast he could do this. He had a stack on one side of work to be done and on the other side of him was his completed stack. Parts and pieces were everywhere. Some people wore masks, others did not. The fabric dust was everywhere and scraps of denim lay in piles.
The next floor we toured was the shipping department. The people on this floor inspected and packaged the jeans and prepared them for shipping. It seemed like a very simple process here.
When dinner was over, we went to a shopping mall nearby. We shopped with the owner of the factory. She was so kind and bought us each a small gift. We walked around for awhile and finally headed back to our hotel.
We had a good time but it was getting late and we were tired. So we asked if someone could drop us off at our hotel. Saturday would be our last day and Yuan was taking us to a place called White Water Valley. I knew it would be hot and we needed to get a good night’s rest. Back in our room, I collapsed on the bed and was fast asleep in no time...Karen