Working in the Fashion industry
Recently I was directed to a sewing site which was more about professional sewing but it reminded me of my youth. My first ever job was working at a small boutique fashion knitwear place called Sigrid Styleknit….I did Google the name and got one photograph in some Australian migrant archives.
Working in that industry must run in the family as my mother ran her brother’s knitting mill in Germany when the “hired” help didn’t materialize and orders were piling in. More on that maybe on another occasion.
My job amongst other things was to write out the sequence of how the garment was put together. Basically a garment construction plan! Which machinist the said garment went to and in what order, the accessories used plus much more.
For example the material started at the steam pressing table straight from the knitting room with its order label tag swinging from the side…style 1347; size SSW; colour red; order Judells (I think they are still around). From here it proceeded to the cutting table and began its long journey through the work room being moved from one section to another. where most of the girls were from European counties…for example Italy, Greek, Polish, Czech. It went to an over locker girl to sew shoulders together and to neaten the side seams. Then the sewing machine girl to do side seams and sleeve seams. Back to over locker to set in sleeves. To the linker machine which I thankfully didn’t get to use as it is very fine eye straining work in the putting on of a knitted edging without missing a stitch. Like this one I had done on a favourite Cardigan of my husband many moons ago!
Then onto to a blind stitch hemmer for sleeves and bottom hem edge…plus a myriad other jobs to create the finished garment with unique buttons and hand sewn buttonholes to its final inspection for flaws and package into order boxes to be delivered by Comet Freight throughout Australia.
At the beginning of each new range, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring one job I remember doing was following a new garment right through each process. I had to time with a stop watch the different stages for the office to include in the costing.
Writing it like this makes me marvel what I actually learnt and did as I gained experience …me a young, shy, naive girl. I had no idea what I wanted to do for a job and it was only that my father had done some work on the big industrial knitting machines that I ended up there. That quite often happened I think as once you left school you just went to the first job available unless you were specialising or going to business college…for example my hubby just wanted to leave school and work. His first job ended up being what he then did most of his working life in International Airfreight with its myriad changes.
Thinking back, I was only young and straight out of school at sixteen. I did an apprenticeship, went to night school for three year doing examination courses in advanced dressmaking and tailoring. Also learning pattern making ( really hard ) where we had to draft patterns on blue paper in quarter scale. I left work when I was about 22 before our eldest was born. A lifetime ago. Later on I wished I’d been older to fully understand and appreciate the concepts of all this dressmaking.
But it did serve me well through the years as I sewed for myself and our children when it was expensive to buy ready-made and have always mended. I have sewn curtains for our homes and made bags and know how to make do and repair. So in essence my first job set me up with Life Skills….what more could a girl ask for.
What about you.
Some old photos I found taken between 1967-1970.
First one was the advert for my job and the second was a photo shoot for Sigrid Styleknit. Young blonde me in back and Sigrid the designer in black sunglasses in front. It was a Candid snap taken for Sigrid….the other ladies were well known Adelaide models whose names I cannot recall now.