This week, our team visited one of the clothing manufacturers to find out how clothes are made and what it takes to convert a piece of clothing into a remarkably designed garment. With just a few metres of fabric and paper patterns, we set our journey to one of the biggest clothing manufacturers in Northern Europe with the aim of gaining a full understanding of the process. In this read, we are going to share what we saw and learned.
Without prior knowledge of the clothing manufacturing industry, it can be confusing at first. People working with these companies for the first time tend to be frustrated due to the delays, long lead times as well as lack of flexibility when there’s a need for a last-minute change. Working with garment manufacturers is a topic on its own that we will cover another day.
The Patterns- Paper Vs. Digital
Straight away, the manufacturer told us that for sampling and ideal production, our patterns had to be digitized as some elements are near impossible to handle using just paper patterns. This makes sense, as we are in a modern world, where sewing provides more precision and better results with digitization. The pattern-making specialist took our patterns and put them on a huge board, referred to as the digitiser. This allowed the expert to use the Assyst software to convert our paper patterns into a digital format.
Each part of the pattern was paced around with a handheld gadget that took snapshots of the pattern’s position for every dot. The specialist went all around the piece until all the necessary data was collected and transferred over to their system. This can be a time-consuming process, especially for garments that have many panels. Luckily for us, we just had a few.
Patterns Sorting After Digitization
The pattern specialist also noticed a few rough spots and imperfections with our patterns, which could be easily fixed, given that it was now on their software. Working with digital patterns enables the specialist to make adjustments and alterations with the utmost precision. One of the most intriguing aspects is that all measurement changes are tracked and visualized in real-time. Also, if we wanted to grade to other sizes, the same patterns would be used as the same software is used for size grading.
Lay-Plan: Preparing the Patterns for Production
The next step involved printing out the patterns on a plotter. For this, the specialist prepared the right lay-plan, meaning laying out all the pattern blocks in a specific manner and factoring in things like roll width, fabric length as well as the total number of things to be produced with a size breakdown. Given the patterns were already in the system, the process did not take long. The software utilized for the lay-plan suggested the ideal layout of the patterns (geometrical shapes) for the quantities we had as well as other criteria in order to make the best use of the fabric and reduce waste. However, even though it did a great job, some improvements could be made. Mens leather gloves.
Cutting the Fabric
Last but not least, the plotter printed out the patterns from the lay plan and our fabric was ready to be cut. The patterns were printed on a special paper that stuck to our fabric in a manner that ensured when the cutting was in progress, it would not slide. The initial cutting was done manually, but for the finer parts, the workers utilized specialized machines.
These are the steps it takes to make clothes in a garment factory.