I'm learning a lot at this internship and I'll have more pictures to post when its over.
Right now I really should be doing homework- I have to write a paper about an interview I did with the owner of the shop. But I'm blogging instead. Whatever.
A few weeks ago, I finally got to use one of the shop's automatic straight stitch machines. By automatic, I mean that the foot pedal controls everything. It raises and lowers the presser foot and backstitches when you start and stop sewing. There is also an automatic thread trimmer! So all you need to do is guide the fabric in the right way.
I WANT ONE!
In this picture, one of the sewers is using a gathering foot. She is gathering a long bias strip to make a ruffled trim to sew around the hem of the dress. The shop also has a machine attachment that gathers the bias strip while sewing it onto the hem, but they haven't set it up yet. If you have an industrial machine and know what attachments you need, you can save a lot of sewing time!
One thing that I have been doing a lot of is STEAMING DRESSES. The shop sells their own line of dresses, as well as dresses made by other bridal lines. In the past few weeks, they have been getting lots of shipments of new samples from the other lines. These dresses come folded up in boxes and have to be steamed before they are put on the sales floor. The steamer thing is basically a really heavy iron with cords feeding boiling hot water into it. Its attached to a much more elaborate pressing machine and a boiler. Steaming these dresses feels like doing push-ups while you're in a sauna. Its hot as hell! Now my arm is strong enough to use the iron for a while without getting sore, but it still makes my fingers cramp up in a painful way. If I was doing this 8 hours a day, I'd have some serious hand problems within a few weeks.
So, just imagine trying to iron the folds out of a dress like this, while preserving the folds that are supposed to be there. Without making new wrinkles where they aren't supposed to be. It's not easy!