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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to make cushions, Arden style

When we are supposedly 1,000 orders behind, and having to work Saturdays and 12 hour days to gain back ground (ha ha), this is the kind of thing that really helps. American Hotel Register orders their lot for this week. Most of it was stuff that was already made and thus crossed off; two lines, a kind of seat pad called a S30 (25 of these) and a chaise cushion called a W25 (5 of these) were highlighted as being rush. This was on Tuesday, a day I missed sick. The order was given to Laurie, and then taken away (presumably because the particular special fabric for the 2 rushes was not in-plant yet). Thursday morning it is given back to Victor, who despite allegedly dogged efforts, never got a chance to do them. I was given an order for Grandin Road (where do we find these people?) with the understanding I was going to get the AHR order afterwards. This was right around 9 am. The Grandin was amazingly (for them) easy, and I flew through it until I got to the 30 pillows out of a particularly obnoxious striped fabric that, no matter how careful you lay it up, it finds ways to twist and bend and screw up your project. Midway into this, supervisor Rhonda asks about 3 items for Meijer that I was supposed to do yesterday. I replied that while I had UPC labels for them, they were not on the work order, so I tossed the labels and moved on. She says (this is 11 am) that she will bring new UPCs soon so I can make these too. I tell Laurie at lunch, in three hours Rhonda will bring me the labels, because that's the usual snail's pace she works at.

Of course, a good quarter of the pillows were messed up, and I just finished them when I got the labels from Rhonda (just prior to 2 pm, three hours on the dot). As I finish that, big boss Lisa comes by and asks am I still cutting Grandin Road. I say no, this is the 3 chairs that missed the Meijer work order, and she says, when you're done, the fabric came in to finish the last pieces of the order that was all but done early last week. Then came two requests for fabric ties, a pair of mysteriously misplaced pillows, and finally it was time to do the rush order.

It is now ten till 4. The fun starts.

First thing I see is S30- a pattern I have no idea what it is or where to find it. I ask Victor, no go. I ask Lisa, she says ask Bob the engineer. Bracing for a 2 minute task to blossom into 10, I brave Bob's office and tell him what I need. He prints a cut sheet for me, whereupon we see that this has one of those exotic radii on the top which requires he print me a paper pattern. This takes a minute, so I go to get the fabric. This fabric is on the rack right behind Victor, with a big sticker saying L919 right on it, staring at Victor for the last day and a half. Victor, do you know what L919 is? No, ah never heard of it. OK, so I'll get our material handler Jamie. He remembers receiving it and goes to fetch whilst I measure the table for the W25s. He brings me a 19.5 yard roll and says there's another roll "Right behind Victor on the rack". Ha ha. Now I've already wasted more time than I like, so I go to get the now-printed pattern from Bob. Bob decides we shouldn't trust the printer without checking the pattern (I never do, believe me) and so he proceeds to attempt confirming a 27.5 inch dimension with his trusty 12-inch ruler. Satisfied at last, he lets me go.

I quickly decide that due to trying to get bands out of limited fabric, I'll be better off doing them separately. I pull the fabric the requisite 79 inches down the table and begin securing it. Annoyingly, I learn that on top of being a very busy stripe which I have to get each stripe to line up on, it's also a fabric that has a tight final string along the edge. This makes the fabric ravel and you have to make little cuts along the edge to make it lay flat. And then I discover, unlike most of these types of fabric, it does this on both sides. Sigh.

As I'm laying this up, over comes the new girl with instructions from Victor to help me by filling out our information labels that go on the completed shells (henceforth known as a 4X4). I get her started, fight the fabric, show her where to find this thing, fight some more, etc. Just as I finish the 5th and final ply, she notes that the cut sheet doesn't name the welt cord size (we have 2). Grateful for the interruption, I go seeking out QC Monika to look it up for me. Don't find her, settle for the computer babe Shaylee. She looks it up. It says "weltcord". No size. Lovely. I go find Monika, she says its "100% sure it's 8/32" but also brings up that virtually every time we do a W25, the customer wants the sew-across in a different spot. Usually we get an e-mail as to where it goes, and I should check with Bob. I find Bob, Lisa, Bob's lackey Jeff, and two guests from corporate all huddled together in the front office. Explain the situation. Lisa says set it aside, she'll have to e-mail for an answer. Sigh. It is now 5 pm.

Now I roll up the fabric I've so lovingly laid out, set it aside, and start on the S30s. Two across, three down and room on the side for bands. Halfway through, the first roll runs out and I get the second. I wonder why the plastic wrap is all shredded and the fabric is dirty. Then I see that the person at our North Carolina plant who sent it to us put the address label and packing envelope on the fabric itself and then wrapped it in the bag. I guess UPS kinda decided they might need to know where to send it, thus the shredded bag. Finish laying it up, draw the bands, a good 5 inches left on the side. What to put there- ties? Zipper bands? Zipper bands...

Zipper bands are two pieces of fabric that get the zipper put between them the have to be big enough that when sewn they are the same width as the band. Usually no problem. But this is a stripe, and thus I have to make them special so that when the are sewn, the stripes match with the band. And I have 3 strips of band, 3 different stripes. Ugh. So I draw ties- wait a minute, this is AHR, so I'll bet they get the special wide ties. Check with Bob yet again, yes, Chris, you are right. So one strip for ties, good for 1 tie each times 8 plies. I'll only need 42 more.

So I start cutting, and as I do I think with my fine Photographic memory and say, something(else)'s wrong here. Sure enough, the width of the zipper the cut sheet calls for is too narrow for the band. Back to Bob. Yes Chris, right again. I think the band is right, let's change the zipper. Thanks ever so, Bob, considering I'm already half done cutting the bands. Sigh.

Finally, the shells, all the bands save one (3 bands X 8 plies is 24 and I need 25), and my whopping 8 ties are done. Next comes the process of drawing a correctly matching set of zipper bands - six different spots on the fabric- and then repeating the process eight times. Then carefully tying the proper bands with the proper zippers so they can be sewn together properly. Then get a sheet of fabric 178 inches long , folded so the stripes continue to match, and draw 25 1 1/2 inch strips for welt and about 8 2 1/2 inch strips for the rest of the ties. Got it drawn? Good. It is now 6: 25 and time to clock into screw off. Time spent: 2 1/2 hours. Overtime spent: 2 hours. Completed cushions, ready to sew? Zero.

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