Fashion and innovation marketing professor and students cut fabric to donate to the Preemie Pals project


Eastern Michigan University Associate Professor of Fashion Marketing and Innovation and Interim Director of the School of Professional Services Technology and Management, Dr. Julie Becker, involved her students in a new project that has provided knowledge of mass production methods and operation of industrial fabric cutters.

Dr. Becker’s latest attempt had his students cut out squares of fabric which were then donated to the Preemie Pals Project. As part of the Preemie Pals Project, these fabric squares were then made into quilts which are then donated to places such as Mott Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

In the hospital, quilts are used in the neonatal intensive care unit, where the blankets are placed over the incubators. Families can take the blankets home later. In other donations like the Ronald McDonald House, Becker argues that the quilts help bring a semblance of home.

Initially, Becker heard about the project from her husband who met the person running the Preemie Pals project at a Kiwanis club meeting. For Dr Becker, who is always on the lookout for a chance to empower her students to learn skills through real-world projects, hearing this prompted her to involve her students in her computer-aided design classes. (CAD).

Despite the pandemic, Dr Becker and his students had no problem carrying out the project as it was one of the few courses that could be taken in person. Not only that, Becker believes textiles themselves are starting to make a comeback, especially given how many have learned or relearned to sew when it comes to making homemade masks.

“If anything, the pandemic has also helped revitalize an old skill. Sewing is a dying art, but I hope that with this project it will spread the generations, ”said Becker.

Dr. Becker had the students put the geometry into the CAD system and it would be placed in the nest or marker, and the fabric would be laid on the fabric cutter and the students would learn to program the machine. The students then learned about geometry, how to use CAD software, how to be efficient in markers, and how to use the cutter for mass production. Using the high speed industrial fabric cutters in Roosevelt Hall, the students were able to cut 600 square pieces.

Dr Becker hopes others will see the potential of the importance and integration of the textile industry into society outside of fashion, which ranges from handbags to airplane interiors. In relation, she also hopes that the students not only learned skills in efficiency, geometry and mass production, but also learned about the many career opportunities available with the skills acquired in the Fashion Marketing and Innovation program. .

“Having this knowledge of cut and sew and textiles and fibers is huge. I don’t think people have even realized what is involved and what makes or breaks a product just based on the fabric used and that’s where we come in, ”Becker said.

Jessie Klimana, currently a junior at EMU, has been Dr Becker’s teaching assistant since fall 2019, starting with Dr Becker’s sewing course. Klimana first became interested in the fashion marketing and innovation program when she took Dr. Becker’s sewing class, where she found she had really helped her skills. As a teaching assistant, she was very helpful to the students of the Preemie Pals project, which she herself had been looking forward to.

“When I heard about the Preemie Pals project, I really wanted to be useful,” Klimana said. “I love children, especially babies. Everything to help babies and their survival. I think it’s a wonderful cause … It was also a great opportunity to show the class how to operate the cutter. of industrial fabric! ”

As a teacher’s assistant, some of the ways in which Klimana guided the students through the completion of the project by helping to set up the industrial fabric cutter, laying out the fabric, and ensuring that the pattern layout of the fabric matched. to the width and length of the fabric roll (to prevent parts from being incomplete or unusable). Klimana hopes that what she learned from this project as a teaching assistant, she will be able to apply these skills to some personal projects before leaving EMU and also plans to put the experience on her curriculum vitae.

The project continues until the summer. You can find more information about the Fashion Marketing and Innovation program on the program page website.


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