Welcome to the Palava Factory
Hello everyone, Leah here. I run the production side of things at Palava and thought I'd take you on a little tour of our London Factory. Bryony and I together over see each detail of the dresses being made. Right from overcoming issues to deciding the finer details. Together with the factory, we try our best to make sure you receive a top quality, British made garment that we are all proud to have been a part of designing and making. We also thought you'd like to see Rodney who has been known to make the odd factory inspection himself!
First things first - Sampling
Julie is our sample machinist. She's smart, talented and has exceptionally high standards. She has taught us so much - we are forever grateful for her ideas, quick thinking and clever design solutions. Thank you Julie!
Julie makes the first prototypes of every dress each season. This 'sampling' process takes place a whole year before the collection is available to buy. Sounds crazy working in advance like this but you wouldn't believe how time flies when you're trying to arrange a big production run of dresses... !
We discuss with Julie the best options for our dresses - she often has clever ideas of how to overcome design problems and there are always tweaks to be made before we can move onto the next stage.
When production starts, the factory uses Julie's samples as well as detailed spec sheets as references to make sure that each garment looks exactly as it should.
And next ... Production
There are only a few months each year when we don't have some sort of production running. Consequently, we spend a lot of time visiting the factory - I'm usually there a couple of times a week during peak production. It's a small and intimate place, friendly and always welcoming.
Satnam (pictured) and his brother Bill run the factory. But they're not just managers - they're also skilled pattern cutters and machinists. The two of them are very much part of the production team and are often in at the weekend, making sure that they hit deadlines and get their orders finished.
At the sewing machines...
Our lovely machinists skilfully sew together our Palava dresses. We love seeing how they often use scraps of our fabric to make aprons, and it's always fun to hear which prints they think will be the big sellers for us.
It is rarely one person who sews your entire dress. One machinist will work on the sleeves, another on the pockets, another on the buttons etc. So your dress will have passed through many pairs of hands before it reaches you!
The finishing touches...
After sewing, comes steaming and pressing. Anyone who has made a dress before will know how important this stage is. It is the finishing touch that makes a garment look finished and ready to wear.
After steaming and pressing, the dresses are hung up and await their final check. Loose threads are snipped and items are checked for flaws.
Once they've passed this final test, the dresses' swing tags are tied and they're carefully folded and packed into our biodegradable Palava bags.
Once the factory have finished all of a style, our warehouse superstars Zoe and Lynsey book in a collection and the dresses are delivered in big boxes up to Yorkshire.
And after that? Well, that is up to you. Our dresses reach all corners of the world - it's truly extraordinary seeing where they end up and so lovely to see that our designs appeal to people all over the world. Thank you for your support!