Machine talk from our denim atelier #01 – Reece 101

Machine talk from our denim atelier #01 – Reece 101

Hi there! I am Reece #101, a green vintage buttonhole machine and therefore a resident of the denim atelier of Grivec Bros. As you probably know, Grivec Bros takes craftsmanship very seriously. Since I am a crucial part of this, we - as the Grivec Bros team - figured it was about time that I introduced myself to you. Take a cup of coffee, sit down and listen to the exciting story of my life in the Grivec Bros atelier in Chevremont.

It all started 55 years ago when I was born. Lots of peer machines were born in America, but I was born in the Netherlands. When I was still a young kid, I already started working at a denim atelier. Over the years, I became better and better at my job. This is actually not so important. What really matters, is the next part. After many years of experience, the twin brothers Grivec came to see me and asked me if I would like to become a part of their team that excelled at crafting the finest denim pieces. Without a doubt, I agreed, so they adopted me. From that moment on, the Grivec Bros atelier in the South of the Netherlands became my home. Are you curious to know whether I have some siblings? Actually, I do! I have a younger sister, who also works in the Grivec Bros atelier in Chevremont.

Roger and Marcel appointed me as their buttonhole machine. As the name of my role probably already reveals, I am responsible for making buttonholes, so you can button up your jeans. Indeed, my work is crucial, and specific, just like the activities and capabilities of my fellow machines here in the atelier. More specifically, I make one buttonhole in the waistband of your jeans, and three buttonholes on the fly of your jeans. No clue what the fly of your jeans is? Let me explain it to you as the expert that I am. It is the front opening at the top of your jeans. I’ve been hired to work here three days a week. Also, I don’t work fixed days. The brothers call me whenever the jeans are at the stage where the buttonholes need to be made. Sometimes this is on a Monday, other times this is on a Friday.

After working for quite some years at the Grivec Bros atelier and some other ateliers, I feel like an old lady with flaws who’s frequently in pain. I can’t help it, but sometimes I make life very difficult for the brothers. Not that I enjoy it of course, because I adore my work. But every now and then my defects get the upper hand, which results in me not being able to finish my work. Then I don’t cut the thread properly, or I skip stitches. Other times an internal screw is loose, and then my entire mechanism no longer rotates, which means I am not able to do anything. In the latter case, the brothers need to take me apart completely, since I consist of so many parts. It surprises them each and every time how many springs, screws, and nuts I contain. This is a real challenge for them, and they even compare it to an open-heart surgery. It can take the brothers up to three days to fix me. What makes it even more difficult for them is that my parts are very rare, since I am an old granny (at least for my species) and I have many successors. Roger and Marcel are then very happy with my sister, who can take over my work and finish those amazing jeans to make our customers happy.

Anyhow, Roger always tells me that my imperfections are what make me perfect. I mean, who doesn’t appreciate such a compliment? And, very importantly, he even enjoys patching me up and ensuring that I can do my job smoothly and properly again. As I told you, there are lots of contemporary fellow machines that are more modern than me. These modernized buttonhole machines are not my enemies; I have nothing against them. Here in the atelier, we simply prefer authentic machines that don’t create the same buttonholes and that don’t stitch every pair of jeans in the exact same way. Yes, Roger and Marcel are true lovers of vintage machines. They consider me as nostalgia, and I earn their respect through my work. The work that I deliver seems to be done by hand, characterized by small irregularities that true lovers of authentic denim appreciate. Also, these modernized machines are controlled by computers. I am so glad that the Grivec brothers control me, since we make such a wonderful team and complement each other. I believe it would be so boring to work together with computers, who don’t say a word all day, whereas I can have some great conversations with the brothers while we’re working.

It is always fun when we’re creating some amazing denim pieces. I must admit that I am rather noisy when I am fully concentrated and focused on my work. As a matter of fact, I am the loudest one in the atelier. At the beginning of the creation of a buttonhole, I sound like a machine gun. While I am waiting for the next buttonhole that I’m ordered to create, I make a ticking sound. This sound can be quite meditating I am told. By the way, I do hope the brothers are still able to hear when they get back home in the evening.

So that’s me, in a nutshell! I already talked to some colleagues and they too were willing to introduce themselves to you. So, be prepared for some other exciting life stories of my co-workers.

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