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Category Archives: Commerical Sewing

Garment Making in Bangladesh

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Today someone in Dhaka, Bangladesh, searched The Stitchery for “shirtmaking” posts. It reminded me that yet another disaster has befallen the largely female work force in the garment factories there.

According to Reuters, Bangladesh is number 2 in the world in apparel exports.

Yesterday, April 24 2013, an 8 story building that housed an indoor market, a bank and 5 garment factories collapsed 20 miles outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The numbers vary: 250 dead, 2000 pulled from the rubble alive, 1500 injured, 1000’s unaccounted for.


The 9th floor of the building was still under construction and had been certified as safe only the day before when large cracks developed. The owner of the building has been arrested and locals are calling for him to be sentenced to death. Some of the garment factory owners are also being arrested.


My heart is breaking for these low-paid employees. Shirtmaking shouldn’t be this dangerous!

Edited April 28 The building owner has finally been detained, he was not arrested immediately because he could not be found after Tuesday. And he said the building had been inspected but the police report that they advised the building was unsafe. There are also reports that 2 of the factory owners forced their employees to go to work. Politics and avoidance of responsibility make reporting almost impossible.


Oil Cans

Oil Cans

Industrial sewing machines need to be oiled and to have a reservoir of oil inside the case at all times. It’s time to refill the reservoir of one of my Babies, er, machines.

I’ve cut my product line down to only 2 items since my illness and the passage of the wrong-headed, anti-scientific, tomfoolery called the CPSIA. My commercial sewing is very limited these days, not like the old days when I sewed full time for months on end. Now I sew up a mess of products 3 or 4 times a year. Anyone who has sewn the same thing over and over (AKA production sewing) all day long knows that it is quite a different experience from home garment sewing. I am so relieved to be free of the production pressures, but I do miss having the challenges of designing new materials.

But I won’t do it in light of the CPSIA and the unsettled guidelines, rules and regulations. The Gov has put me out of business which is awful at my age (over 60) and in this depression economy. I thought we needed more jobs, right? Go figure.

(Google the CPSIA if you don’t know what it is. It was passed at the end of the Bush administration by an almost unanimous vote so it can’t be blamed on any specific political party, but on hysteria over [finding] lead in [imported Matel] toys. Enough said.)

I currently have 4 machines in the commercial workroom: 2 Merrow overlocking machines, an early 1950’s Singer Featherweight for it’s even top stitching, and a “semi” industrial, super fast and portable Janome 1600P straight stitch. Each one has a specific use and purpose.

Of the 2 Merrows one is the MG-2DNR-1 purl edge serger and the other is an older, used, MG-3DW-2 that is set to serge 2 or 3 layers of cloth tightly together.

The older machine, one of my first ever ebay purchases, needed to have replacement parts and adjustments after a few years, so it was sent off to the mechanic for repair. It came back to me full of Merrow oil and ready to go.

Now it needs more oil and I could not find a way to get the thick oil into those tiny holes without emptying another oiler, which I didn’t want to do. Online I found this company: Dutton-Lainson and their wonderful old time-y oil cans.

Do you remember being a child and playing with the tiny oil can that operates by pressing against the bottom of the can? I couldn’t find one in the local hardware stores and all the other oil cans came with oil already in them.

Other Merrow owners may have their own solutions but I use only the Merrow oil for my machines due to the “throwing” of oil in the tray at the bottom of the case and I was so glad to finally find a spring bottom oiler.

Call me “Easily Pleased” or “Overly Particular”: I love my new Goldenrod oil cans 🙂