December 02, 2023
Behind The Scenes - Our Factory
In a light filled room on the 2nd floor, near Cambridge, UK sits a room humming with productivity and skills. It is our main factory; producing exquisitely crafted garments for our wonderful Cabbage Roses. 90% of our collections are made in this room.
We are often told that we are not very good at explaining where our things come from or how they are made. So we decided to send Belle to document the hard work that the small team of 10 do to produce the collections that end up in your cupboards.
We start with sketches and little swatches of fabric and trims that are collected at fabric fairs, mills and from fabric agents we have built relationships with over the past 23 years. The provenance of the fabrics we use is very important to us. We also design fabrics for each season and develop them with our lovely printers in the north of England.
The sketches are given some fabric options and we work with our talented pattern makers Lisa and Caroline to turn them into new styles. We rummage through our archives to find the best classic styles to put into the fabrics of the season.
We send left over fabric to the factory to make samples of the new styles so that we can fit them. This helps use up any waste fabrics from previous seasons and to make sure that the factory can work with the patterns as well as making sure that the new styles actually fit and work.
We add up how much fabric we need to order to try and make one of each piece. Then we order small amounts of fabric from the mills scattered across the UK and Europe which are delivered to the factory.
When all of the fabrics have finally been delivered and the team have made one of each piece, we have a very difficult task of trying to pick what to make and what we include in the collection.
We maintain that everything needs to be EBU – something our dear founder Christina would always say. Is it Extraordinary, Beautiful, Unique? Have we chosen enough styles in each fabric to be able to order the amounts the mills need to produce each fabric? Is it too expensive to produce?
We then place orders to produce the collection and things start to arrive for Sopho and his team to start working on. Often there are barriers, with problems producing complex fabrics and finishes in Italy, or yarn shortages for our British wool mills or things being delayed at the border. But the ever patient factory works around these issues and collections are made over the season.
Everything is cut by hand on the cutting table – Sopho has been doing this for much of his life. He learned from his father and is now passing down the amazing skills of cutting and constructing garments to his team. We aren’t easy to work with but he is forever patient with us and ensures that our collections are beautifully crafted.
When things are delivered each week, it is the end of a long process which normally takes around 12 months from a sketch to a style being delivered. We don’t always get it right, and every season has it’s own challenges and highlights. Cabbages & Roses is always a work in progress.
Our relationship with our factory is the most important relationship we have as a business and we would like to consider everyone there as a part of the Cabbage Rose family. We are always grateful for the hard work and skill that goes into making our collections.
So we would like to say THANK YOU to Sopho, Sylvia, Florin, Henryka, Shaida, Renata, Tania, Ralitsa, Angelika, Silvena, Kaisha and Hue for your talent, patience and for working with us.