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Blog

 

 

A bunch of thank yous

Jeff Goodwin

Launching Oakland Flag Co. has been a humbling experience.  As a newcomer to the small business world, there were countless elements of this process that I underestimated, neglected, or simply couldn’t do on my own.  

The following folks were instrumental in helping turn this idea into a reality.  They offered the guidance, expertise, and services I needed to get this company going.   A huge thanks to everyone on the list and anyone else that played a roll in making this happen. 

Hiroko, Sabrina, & Win @ 25th St. Collective - for offering immeasurable sewing wisdom, access to resources, and constant support.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more inspiring and supportive group of sewers/businesswomen.  

Nick @ Nick Dunlap Design - for making the branding (and this here website) look so damn good, and his willingness to talk through any decision, regardless of whether it was within his area of responsibilities.  

Dan & Kevin @ Forward Printing - for embracing a non-traditional job when other printers wouldn’t.

Josh @ Actual. - for answering all of my felt-related questions and patiently dealing with an onslaught of file issues. 

Lauren Veen - for letting me borrow her sweet camera, and then letting me keep it way longer than initially anticipated. 

Michelle @ Fastsigns - for her grommeting expertise and connections in the large format printing world 

Denise Gaudreau (my mom) - for initially teaching me how to sew, but mostly for reteaching me all the stuff I forgot.  

Eo, Lauren, and Mel - for allowing me to take over their space with OFC-related supplies, acting as a constant focus group, and transportation assistance just to name a few.

Dyeing to write the first blog post

Jeff Goodwin

The quest to find quality and sustainable fabrics for OFC flags has been a fascinating journey.  I wanted to find a fabric with substance, texture, durability, and character.  Should be easy, right?  Turns out finding a fabric that met all of my criteria while still being sustainable was tougher than expected.  Ultimately, the winner was hemp (well, technically a hemp/organic cotton blend).  

The only downfall to hemp fabrics is that they aren’t offered in a big range of colors like more mainstream fabrics. Selling off-white flags didn’t seem like a reasonable idea, so it was time to get my hands dirty with the dyeing process.  

Dyeing is a straightforward endeavor: take your fabric, put it into a bath of dye, wash out any extra dye, and voila, you’re done.  When you get into it though, dyeing is both an art and a science. The process I ultimately chose - fiber reactive dyeing - involves six inputs (not counting the water or fabric).  Each input has to be calculated, weighed, and introduced at the right time. 

And even if you do the calculations right and follow all the directions, there’s still an art to the process, like how you’re moving the fabric, or how you’re juggling stirring and preparing subsequent steps.  It’s a steep learning curve and with plenty of stressful moments.  

What have I learned? Don’t wear any clothes you care about.  25lbs of salt costs about the same as a quart of salt (I still don’t get it).  Plastic tubs get considerably weaker when filled with hot water. 

Someday, I might be ordering fabric in quantities large enough to justify dyeing as part of the manufacturing process.  Until then, I’m enjoying the opportunity to slowly master the art and science of dyeing.  

-Jeff

 

PS If you’re interested in seeing more about the dye process, check out this awesome photo album documenting one woman’s dyeing endeavors.  https://www.flickr.com/photos/johanna-fritz/sets/72157631599044844/

 One of the early processes I tried involved keeping the fabric in boiling water.  This photo is from the very end when it was time to dump all the hot water.  If you look close you can see the steam, which totally caught me off guard. Luckily that reaction was not documented.

One of the early processes I tried involved keeping the fabric in boiling water.  This photo is from the very end when it was time to dump all the hot water.  If you look close you can see the steam, which totally caught me off guard. Luckily that reaction was not documented.

 Success!

Success!