Julie Hutton, Inc.
A Full Service Apparel Production Company

Personal Label Apparel Line Modernizes Amish Clothing While Respecting Tradition

Our Personal Label business brings us in contact with both mainstream concepts and unique fashion perspectives.
When I was first contacted by a leader of the Amish community in Ohio, I was surprised by the reason: he stated unequivocally that the Amish women were “sick and tired” of making their menfolk’s patterns and clothing and “like other women these days” wanted out from under those domestic duties.
The only obstacle was that I couldn’t call him because they aren’t allowed phones: he had to contact me from a phone booth stationed somewhere within their community, and somehow (I never found out how) he was able to email me.
He wanted to standardize their sizing “just like from a store” and make a church jacket, a church pant, and a church vest.
They could have no pockets, and no zippers, but buttons were acceptable.
He sent me prototypes of each of those three garments and the label was to be called “Plain Community Clothing” in black thread on a plain white label. He drew the horse and buggy himself.
I created a template for sizing with waist sizes from 32-44, and created a first pattern for each of the 3 styles. The lengths could not be hemmed (apparently the one thing still acceptable is hemming a pant). The fabric was an obstacle because it was 100% polyester, black only, with a small slub pattern running through the fabric, and had to be EXACTLY as the swatch he sent. No deviation whatsoever permitted.
I sent the swatch to my factory in China to source, and they finally came up with the precise fabrication.
We wrote purchase orders, ordered bulk fabric to be woven according to the quantity he wanted to order, and started the fit process. Everything was going swimmingly until the church jacket.
The jacket had to be closed with hooks and eyes that could not be visible, and the placement had to be in a specific location, but we could not put them in that specific place unless my factory hand-sewed them, which would have ramped this order up into couture prices. The fabric, by this time, was already dyed and woven, all the patterns had been completed and factory space had been cleared for production.
I was at a complete loss as to what to do to save this order. Only three little hooks and eyes stood in the way.
I asked the client if the women would be willing to sew the hooks and eyes in if I shipped the production without them. I would leave a small opening in the interior seam of the sleeve lining in the jacket and they would be able to get to the inside of the facing to apply them. Could he get them to do it? Yes, he could do that.
We completed the order, shipped it from China, got it through customs, and my Amish client hired a driver (they cannot operate a car) to drive him to Long Island City from Ohio to inspect and pick it up.
And so I became the un-official “manufacturer” for the Amish community.
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