Quality Counts! Let's start at the beginning
Quality & Consistency Matter
After a few decades of sewing and nearly 2 decades of welding caps nearly exclusively I've seen and heard a few things. Today, after being asked to fix some welding caps I didn't make I decided it may be time to explain why and how I do things differently. Quality and Consistency are always part of everything I do for each cap that is sent to you.
Step One: Fabrics & Threads
Fabrics: I always choose 100% cotton fabrics. All are purchased from US companies. The solid colored fabrics are made in the USA by Marshall Dry Goods. A lot of the printed fabrics are designed by MGD, printed in Pakistan for MGD and shipped by to the US to be sold by MGD. Marshall Dry Goods is my most used supplier. I also use Fabric.com - an Amazon company - these fabrics are can be from all over the world and are usually printed outside the USA. Fabric.com carries thousands of fabrics that MGD doesn't.
Because a lot of fabrics are printed in China those prices have risen considerably due to tariffs. I am not carrying as many at this time because of the sharp pricing increase.
When fabrics arrive here they may be cut yardage or bolts. Bolts are stored on shelving and cut as needed. Yardage is usually put into use right away.
*All fabric is washed, dried and pressed before it is ever put into production!* This is the pre-shrink process and there are no exceptions - ever.
Preshrinking process: 3-12 yards of fabric is washed using the 'Speed Wash' cycle, hot water, cold rinse, no soap.
It is then shaken out and machine dried in the 'Speed Dry' setting - hot enough to dry 12 yards of cotton in 15 minutes, no dryer sheet.
After the wash dry process the yardage is folded in a specific way so I know at a glance it's ready for production.
As needed the preshrunk fabric is then ironed by hand to remove wrinkles and folded specifically to get the warp/weft threads straight. This is important, a skill I learned from quilting many years ago.
Denim, cotton twill tape and sweatband fabrics:
Denim is purchased from a US company in Pennsylvania. Typically I purchase black or navy 14 ounce (heavy) denim. It too is pre-shrunk using the same process as the cotton fabric above. The difference is I cut the denim into strips wide enough for brims instead of 3 yard cuts. It's washed, dried and pressed, and ready for welding caps.
Twill tape is the 100% cotton band inserts used in the Pipeliner Fancy welding caps. This arrived on a large roll, 1" or 1 1/2" wide. I cut that into 24' lengths and wash, dry press just like the cotton print fabrics and the denim.
The sweatband is not put through the preshrink process. I have tested it for shrinking and got none. I assume the process creating it reduces the shrinking down to minimal.
So, that leaves just the threads. Construction thread is cotton wrapped polyester; embroidery threads are polyester or rayon depending on what looks best or client request. It not preshrunk. Rayon is a natural fiber, can fade with wash and wear. Polyester is strong and colorfast.
Quality and Consistency from the beginning.
That's the end of this section. I'll be writing the cutting and layout next. It's not just scissors and a cheap cardboard pattern. Here's where consistency really matters. Coming Soon!