Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fabric For The Elders

by John Aldrich

Traditional Navajos have a distinctive style of dress. For the women it includes tops made of panne velour fabric and long, full skirts made either of velour or cotton fabric. Part of the giveaway at each food run is fabric that the Elders can use to make these items.

Here is Rose Marie Clark at the Oljato food run wearing a skirt and top make from fabric provided by ANE. Although an Elder might be lucky enough to have a friend or family member with a sewing machine, most make their clothes themselves by hand.

Up until this year we obtained the material from Hancock Fabrics where employees worked together with ANE volunteers to cut the material. This year we ordered the material from a supplier, giving us a greater selection of colors at a lower price, and the bulk roles were delivered to the warehouse.

We had enough material to produce 977 three-yard pieces of panne velour and 500 four-yard pieces of cotton fabric. The challenge was figuring out an efficient way to cut all this into the required sizes. With the genius of Art Sleeper's engineering mind, a clever system was devised that allowed our volunteers to accomplish this task which took place over a period of a month.

This photo shows how spindles of metal pipe were inserted into the rolls and then suspended from our warehouse scaffolding.

The fabric is pulled out from the roll:

And then aligned to the pre-measured length:

It is then cut:

And folded:

While at the other end a different fabric pattern is being folded:

The final result of all this effort is enough fabric for the Elders to last through both the spring and fall food runs.

1 comment:

  1. I must say, this campaign is totally worth it!
    Those elders deserve the care for they are our parents.