The Process: Bloom Blanket
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A little over a year ago, Bianca Cheng Costanzo launched her Bloom Blanket project. The blanket simulated the folds of origami, but was not just an art piece, it could keep you warm too. As we watched the pledges for this intricate object come in, we wondered how she'd be able to manufacture them on such a large scale. Now that the blankets are in production, we asked her to tell us how she did it.
In search of a new factory
One thing was clear: my friends at the tiny Barcelona factory would never be able to sew so many blankets so quickly. My intention was to make 40 beautifully handmade blankets but after being backed by 947 people the entire production process had to be revisited.
Instead, I had the Barcelona factory sew me a few sample blankets. We worked closely together to refine the sizing of the geometry of the blanket as well as the sewing techniques used to achieve the most beautiful, coziest results. From there I was able to create a master instructional document that I was able to send to sewing factories all over Europe.
I partnered with my friend Eyal Burstein, a product designer in Berlin, to see this project through. We put together a small team and worked for months cold-calling, emailing, shipping samples, visiting fairs in the hopes of finding a factory skilled enough to produce this complex design at a large volume. Finally, in Poland I found a partner who is as passionate as I am about high-end quality and attention to detail.
We got a chance to visit our factory in order to see the technology involved in making a Bloom Blanket first hand. The intricate pattern of the Bloom Blanket is cut with sub-millimeter precision by state of the art Computer Numerical Control fabric routers. They make sure that every blanket is exactly true to the shape that I have designed digitally.
The fabric is then sent to our expert seamstresses who spend five hours carefully sewing each piece into a final Bloom Blanket.
The rush to Christmas
We soon understood that, though very few blankets would be ready by October, we would be able to have all of the Kickstarter orders sewn before Christmas. What a perfect present for everyone! Logistics and customs was a whole other challenge and we ended up packing all of the orders by hand.
I am so lucky to have been able to create this opportunity to work as a product designer with the help of Kickstarter. I look forward to expanding Bloom’s product line and growing.