We took our dream designs to one of the garment factories. We had only a few meters of fabric and a set of the paper pattern to guide us through the process. We’d love to share our knowledge with you.
It can be confusing to not have a basic understanding of the garment manufacturing industry. Many people who first work with garment factories are frustrated by the long lead times, delays, and inflexibility of the factory when brands request last-minute changes. Our guide to working with clothing factories can be viewed.
It will help you understand the process of apparel production and set your expectations. This will help you build a stronger relationship with clothing manufacturers. This topic is covered in our blog post How to Talk to Clothing Manufacturers.
Patterns – Paper vs Digital
The clothing manufacturer immediately noted that it was impossible to produce proper samples and production with only paper patterns. It makes perfect sense to have a sewing pattern in a digital format rather than printed. Our paper patterns were taken by the manufacturer’s pattern maker and placed on a large board. This is known as the digitizer. The digitizer allowed the pattern maker the ability to import the paper patterns into their system. Each part of the pattern was tracked with a handheld device that captured a snapshot of each dot. The pattern was then scanned around until all the information was collected. It is time-consuming as many garments require tens of panels. We were fortunate to have only a handful.
After digitizing, it is time to sort out the patterns
The pattern maker saw that there were some small imperfections and rough spots in the pattern. These could easily be fixed once the pattern was in their software. Digital patterns allow the pattern maker to make precise alterations. All measurements are visualized and tracked in real-time. If we approve the samples, the same set would be used to grade to different sizes. The same software is used to size grades.
Lay-plan: Preparing patterns for production
Next, the pattern was printed on a plotter. The factory specialist needed to create a lay-plan. This meant that all blocks of the pattern were laid out in a particular order (in this case, sampling). It also took into account fabric length and roll width as well as the number of items being produced. It was easy because the patterns were already in the system. This allowed us to maximize fabric use and reduce fabric consumption. The software was able to do this fairly well, but there were still areas for improvement.
The fabric is cut
Workers were then ready to cut our fabric. The special paper was used to print the patterns. It adhered seamlessly to the fabric so that nothing could slide after the cutting. We noticed that the first part of the cutting was done manually using scissors. Then, the finer parts were cut with special equipment.
According to our sources, samples are usually cut manually. Bulk production is slightly different. Similar fabric articles can be layered over each other and then cut in bulk. According to the garment manufacturer, the fabric’s composition and thickness determine if it can or cannot be combined. Viscose and cotton cannot be cut simultaneously. Different fabrics have different reactions to cutting and may distort differently so that the result is uneven. Even if the composition is slightly different, a separate cutting job will be required. We noticed that a lot of layers were already cut and ready for use. Now, let’s get back to the samples.
Sewing sets for seamstresses
After the cutting was complete, all pieces were assembled in sets. Similar operations were grouped to optimize production and save time. Consider how you brush your teeth each day. You probably already have a method that makes it easier.
Colors and trims
We were required to choose the correct color threads to match the fabric’s color for production. We were able to select the most compatible colors with little effort. There were many options. We were presented with a lot of options. Some had very few differences, and we haven’t seen all the colors.
These items were made without trimmings except for elastics. However, we did notice a wide range of buttons, zips, and other accessories that the fabric offered.
Adjusting the machinery
The specialist had her cut pieces of fabric and was ready for sampling. However, she needed to adjust the equipment first. Each sewing machine must be set up for a particular type of fabric. She started to unload the old threads, and then she put in the reels of new material for the samples. The seamstress took six reels of the same color as the garment and put them in the flatlock sewing machine. To ensure that the tension was correct, she tested the seam with a piece of fabric.
After ensuring that everything was in order, she laid out the set and began sewing the pieces together until the design came to life. It was an exciting moment!
After the items had been completed, she brought them to the sampling station to verify that they were accurate to our specifications. After a thorough QC, we tested the items and approved their grading. Then we discussed the bulk production order.
This article is intended to help anyone who works with factories, or those just beginning to learn about it. It will also help you to appreciate the fact that sampling is a complex and precise process. We at clothing manufacturers in Canada pride ourselves on manufacturing high quality products that are produced in a Canadian factory and we promise to deliver on time.
Deasil Custom Sewing is a growing industrial sewing contractor. we are hiring experienced Industrial Sewing Machine Operators.