Posted on 19 February 2012
We seem to be well ahead of schedule & so far - apart from a lack of buttons, everything is going brilliantly. All week we’ve been working on making perfect samples of our Thai style fishermans trousers; adjusting a centimetre here & there, making sure every stitch is in line & at the right tension, choosing the right colour thread for the sewing machine & for the over-locking machine & ensuring that every single part of the trousers are made exactly how I want them. It’s a long winded process & can be pretty frustrating at times, especially when whole pairs of trousers have to be unpicked because they’re a couple of millimetres out. We started sample making first thing on Monday morning & it’s taken us until today to get all 5 of the designs absolutely 100% perfect.
The process starts with pattern making. Working from my pattern drawings, every separate piece of the pattern is drawn exactly to scale on cardboard, allowing extra for hems, sewing & turnovers. The measurements & drawing have to be absolutely exact as these cardboard cut-outs are the guide we use to cut the fabric - if there are any mistakes no matter how small, every pair of trousers we make will be wrong. We then draw out the shapes onto the fabric with chalk & cut them out, numbering each piece so we know in which order to sew them.
First we sew the turnover part of the trousers, followed by the main body of the trousers, then we add on the pockets & ties & lastly we sew the matching bags that the trousers are packaged in. Instead of using a production line, where one person sews one bit & then passes it on to the next person (which is what happens in all mass produced factories), at Ashok’s factory we work on a per item basis. This means that one person will sew one whole pair of trousers from start to finish. In my opinion, although it takes longer, it’s a much, much nicer way to work - not only for the seamstresses (as they’re not stuck on a monotonous production line), but also for us, as each pair of trousers has been beautifully hand made by the same person, which means they use all their skills & take pride in their work. To celebrate this, each pair of trousers comes with a tag which is signed by the person that make them.
Having worked for months on the patterns, the fabrics & the colours & now to finally see all these ideas materialise into the range that I had dreamed of, is so unbelievably exciting. It seems that all the hard work has finally paid off & I can’t wait to get them photographed so I can show them to you all.
Finished Thai wrapped pants ready to send from London to wherever you are in the world.