About the author vii
Preface to the fourth edition ix
1 Background to the clothing industry 1
2 Cutting 6
3 Sewing 52
4 Sewing machinery 138
5 Garment accessories and enhancements 193
6 Alternative methods of joining materials 221
7 Pressing and related garment fi nishing techniques 254
8 Technology and management of colour 275
9 Clothing technology and product development 288
10 Troubleshooting in the sewing room 299
Preface to the Fourth Edition
It is now 20 years since the fi rst edition of this book was published. Since that time, much has changed. Early in 2007, I asked one of my ex-students to speak on the subject of garment technology to a current student group. During this talk, she refl ected on the changes since 1984, when she started work in the UK industry. These thoughts are worth sharing.
Twenty fi ve years ago, the garment technologist’s job was concerned with garment fi t and conformance to specifi cation. This was the case whether the technologist was working in the supply chain or for a retailer. Then we witnessed the great expansion of globalisation!
Now, the technologist’s role has expanded to include commercial and practical inputs to the new product development process, ensuring products conform to legislation, and addressing manufacturability issues. Quality assurance activities continue, but there is much more effort given to build quality into products at the development stage.
The technologist is uniquely equipped to interpret the requirements of designers and buyers, who typically do not have a technical vocabulary. This extends to checking that the product looks right over the whole size range and helping to resolve any issues that arise. Technologists can be found assessing prototype garments alongside the buyer, appraising make-up, fit and product presentation. Any decisions arising from this will be communicated to the manufacturer (who has not been involved in the fit session) by the technologist.
More and more, garment technologists are expected to deal with fabric information and be able to interpret test results on shrinkage, dye-fastness and other performance-related matters. Technologists will receive submissions for sealed samples and evaluate them. They will be involved with bulk stocks in the retailer’s distribution centre, to assess any problems and to contribute to decision-making about them. With mail order business, technologists will take the lead in analysing customer returns so that appropriate action can be taken. Some garment technologists may get involved in appraising the capabilities of potential suppliers, and this is likely to incorporate aspects of ethical auditing. Some may be involved in implementing appropriate information systems, such as product data management software. The diversity of work makes the technologist’s job very demanding.
Globalisation does mean that there are two types of garment technologist: those based in retail organisations (or brand owners) and those based in manufacturing organisations (the supply chain). The work of retail based technologists is directed to achieving conformance to quality standards and ensuring the suppliers understand what the products should be like. Those working in the supply chain gain far more fi rst-hand experience of problem solving, as they are working with the people, the fabrics and the machinery on a regular basis.
An important skill for technologists is to be able to communicate across cultures and across the design/technology divide. The language problems are only part of the story. People in different cultures may have different expectations and different judgments on what is an acceptable standard. There may be different views on what is aesthetically pleasing. Since the brand owner is setting the standard, the supply chain needs the style of communication that will help it understand the customer requirements and the consumer markets that are being served.
This book has focused on the technology of clothing manufacture, leaving issues of fi t and quality systems for others. However, the technologies have changed with time, and this shift is reflected in the way different editions have been updated. In the third edition, the role of the garment technologist in new product development was introduced. The new chapter in this edition (Chapter 8) concerns the technology of colour and its management. The chapter that has seen the most change is that on alternative joining technologies (Chapter 6), because of the major expansion of interest in welded seams and the use of adhesives. Chapter 10 has been introduced on the solution of sewing problems, drawing on material previously in Chapter 3 and introducing checklists in tabular form.
The initial work on this book by Harold Carr and Barbara Latham was extensive and their contribution has always been the key to making this book useful and successful. My role in revising the book has been one of editing a proven resource and, I hope, maintaining its value within education and industry.