Various Systems Used in Apparel Industry
Lecturer, Dept. of Fashion Design
KCC Women’s College (Affiliated by Khulna University)
In the apparel industry Digitizers put original patterns into the computer for use and storage. It can be done by defining the X, Y co-ordinates of series of selected points around the pattern. These basic patterns can be manipulate with the help of a computer, for example in case of trousers, darts can be moved, pleats can be created or flair can be introduced. This way new designs can be created on screen from pre-existing patterns. Today large scanners are also used to input pattern shapes instead of tracing patterns on a digitizer.
In the apparel industry after a sample size pattern has been put, it has to be graded up and down in size. Certain points on the pattern are considered as ‘growth points’ or places at which the pattern has to be increased or decreased to accommodate changing body size. At each growth point the operator indicates the grade rule to the computer. The system will then automatically produce the pattern shapes in all the pre-specified sizes. Say if we define pattern for size 30, it can be easily graded for size 32/34/36 and so on.
Marker Making Systems:
Computerized marker-making systems help in laying the pattern part together more economically than an operator could do with hands. This ensures minimal wastage of fabric. On plain fabric this is relatively simple but on striped fabric also automatic matching is done by the computer. The layout is then directed to big plotters, which are overlaid on the stacked fabric prior to cutting.
Pattern generated by marker making systems can be directed to automated cutting machines which are operated without the help of human hands. Apparel industry used this operations very much.
Marketing integration using computer:
Designer is in direct contact with the customer and also the manufacturer to be aware of the latest trends and also needs and demands of the customer.
Improving the finish of a garment:
Both in regard to appearance and functional performance, it is more important than ever to improve the finish of a garment in order to appeal to the modern consumer. Improvement in functional performance of a garment through specialty finishing has led to the development of up-market and niche products in recent times. Developments have taken place in easy care, softening, water repellent, soil-release and stain-release, flame retardant, anti-microbial and breathable finishes.
Most of these finishes are given at the fabrics processing stage itself. Technology for vapour-phase treatment, which allows finishing to be carried out at the garment stage is still under development. The only functional finish which has reached some level of satisfactory application and performance is the ‘wrinkle free’ finish.
The wrinkle free finish (also known as ‘Easy Care’, ‘Durable Press’, ‘Wrinkle-Resistant’, ‘V\’ash and Wear’, ‘No-Iron’ etc.) is obtained by cross-linking cotton. It was way back in the 1920’s when the research scientists started work on making cotton as wrinkle-resistant as silk. For the next 35 years research in this field was carried out in laboratories all over the world. In 1961, a company come up with a process and the process used then is known today as the post-cure procedure to introduce permanent creases in cotton garments. Initial consumer response was lukewarm. Unfortunately, the chemistry of this compound liberates formaldehyde over 2,000 parts per million. The carcinogenic and dermatological effects of formaldehyde led to a declining interest in wrinkle resistant finishes. The finishing of garments to achieve permanent press properties was first presented at the 1987 International AATCC conference in Charlotte, NC, USA. Vapour phase finishing of cotton garments with gaseous formaldehyde and DMDHEU immersion finishing were the two options that were discussed. At least one garment manufacturer had begun immersion finishing of cotton garments at this time. The trend was-established by the mid 1990’s Today there is widespread consumer interest in the latest version of permanent press, popularly known as ‘wrinkle-free’.