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I have a beautiful granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. She has enough challenges to face in her life and I want to make sure that finding appropriately fitting clothes will not be one of them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Children's Jeans Almost Complete

September was a busy month and the designers, Jillian and Cara, have been really pushing to complete the children’s jeans pattern.  They had been working on the them for months.  The four children models that we used all looked good in their last fittings and I felt confident that we’d finally gotten the patterns correct.

The girls prepared their final paper patterns, their sample jeans (made out of muslin) and their spec sheets and I sent them off to the factory for what I hoped was the last sample for the children’s jeans.  It took almost four weeks to finally get the sample jeans from the factory; I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to see them on our models.

The next day (Friday) I called Jessica’s mother (one of our little girl models) to see if she could bring her in for a fitting.  She arrived in the afternoon and when we put them on her (to my utter amazement) they looked terrible.  It was a complete disaster!  I was beside myself; I just could not believe this was happening.  What went wrong?  We were sure that what we sent the factory was correct.  I was furious to say the least!  Another delay was my only thought.  Of course, China was sleeping so I couldn’t call Andy to find out what happened.  My stress level was off the chart. 

The next day, I tried to contact Andy but he was not available.  Of all days for him to be out, I really needed to talk to him.  I felt like I was having a bad dream but couldn’t wake up.  I told myself I had to calm down and stop the negativity running through me but it was just too difficult.  I was frustrated and disappointed.

Finally, Saturday night about 11:00 PM, I headed to bed but, just on a chance, I checked my online connection to Andy and I saw that he was finally online (remember its 12 hours later in China.)  We talked until about 2:00 AM.  I let him know how upset I was and he was upset as well.  He said he would visit the pattern makers to see what went wrong.

Well, the next morning, I finally got my answer.  Andy was able to talk with the pattern makers.  The jeans in question (the adjustable waist style) were made according to our paper pattern as I had instructed.  But our paper pattern was for the shape after they were washed.  Because I was so insistent that they use our paper patterns, they didn’t understand that they should have adjusted the pattern first for the shrinkage so the denim was a little distorted after the wash because the shrinkage altered the shape just enough to destroy the fit.  This is one of the challenges of denim; it’s like no other fabric.  So the pattern makers got busy right way to make more samples for us.

Perfect Fit!!!
On Monday, we had a fitting with our little boy, Danny, for the boy’s jeans with a full elastic waist.  It was perfect!  I couldn’t believe it.  The denim used in the boy’s jeans was a different fabric from the girl’s jeans and they shrunk in the proper proportion and turned out great.  But the pattern makers actually wanted to make the boys jeans again as well and use their own pattern this time, just to make sure that when they go into production, there are no surprises.

Surprisingly, I got the remade samples in one week.  God bless them for their speedy efforts.  In the meantime, I had Cara change the girl’s pattern, I wanted her to make a different shape; there is just something about the adjustable waistband jeans that I don’t like.  She also made another pair with a full elastic waist to try and one with half elastic in the back.

I contacted my daughter to see if my granddaughter would be available to try on our samples.  So Jillian and Cara headed to Michelle’s to see how the three different jean styles fit her.  All three pairs were a size too small, but they were still able to test the fit, nonetheless.   The one remade pair from the factory in denim with the adjustable waistband was a perfect fit, the half elastic waist fit the best though and the full elastic waist had some issues.

Next, our little boy model came back in for another fitting on the second sample from the factory.  Not good at all, the first pair was perfect so I was a little surprised at the bad results on the second pair.

In two days, I leave for China.  Cara made a new sample of the girl’s jeans with a half elastic waistband.  I’m taking this new sample with me and hope the pattern makers can make a sample while I’m there.  I’ll finally get to meet them and work with them face to face.

I’m really looking forward to this trip; we have so much to resolve that can’t be handled over Skype or Instant Message.  I’m also very excited to see my friend Andy again as well; we have a very busy week planned.  I’m going to pick some new fabric for pants, go the “wash” factory to learn about what happens there, spend time with the pattern makers and meet with a new shirt manufacturer.  I’m sure next week will go very fast and before you know it, I’ll be heading back home.

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