Behind the Seams pt II: The cutting table of the future

Behind the Seams pt II: The cutting table of the future

by Jake Wright on Jul 26, 2023

Out with the old and in with the new ( No, not you John!)

The cutting table might be the single most important piece of equipment we have in the factory. It’s where we lay, cut and bundle all of our work before it is given to our machinists who turn them into pieces of art. It is a space where accuracy is of the upmost importance, ensuring we cut buttery smooth curves and super straight lines. Our table has been in service since 1982, and even then it was bought 2nd hand! So, we thought it was due an upgrade.

Introducing the cutting machine of the future

In October 2022, we started to look what the modern alternatives are for a cutting table, and we were quite surprised how far cutting technology has come. Gone are the days of spending hours manually tracing paper patterns with chalk, squeezing every last inch out of the fabric to get your moneys worth ( John is pretty good at that). Software can do it for you now. 

But, there was one thing we wanted to avoid, and that was losing all the work John has put into our patterns over the last 40 years and starting from scratch. John has created a collection of perfectly fitting cycling garments refined down to every last detail. It is what we are known for and it is what we will continue to deliver on. So we have spent the last 6 months creating digital versions of each product by scanning them into a computer, and then refining them further to the 0.1 of a mm, resulting in better fitting garments. 

Our new auto cutting machine can then use this information and cut our pieces out for us. Which is handy, because John , chief cutter, wants to retire and the skill of manual cutting is becoming a dying trade in the UK after so much of our textile production has moved overseas, the skill is no longer being taught or sought after. 

Retirement beckons

When John sold the company to me in December 2021, it was agreed that he would continue working and helping out whilst I got accustomed to my new responsibilities. But, at the youthful age of 67 and after 41 years in the business, it is becoming the time to wind down. And can you blame him? So we had to start looking at ways for us to continue producing quality garments right here in Manchester without him cutting them out for us.

John 2.0

We settled on an auto cutter. But no ordinary machine. This one has all the bells and whistles to allow us to grow and diversify our product ranges even more. We hope to release more updates as we get more familiar with our new processes. We like to call it John 2.0, except this John doesn't turn up late!