Garment Trimmings – An Overview

Last Updated on 15/04/2021

All About Garment Trimmings

Harshani Wijendra
Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel Technology (SLITA)


What are Garment Trimmings?
Garment trims or trimmings are very important elements in a garment. It is obvious that we can make a garment only by using fabrics and sewing threads. However, garment trimmings provide good finish and quality to the garment. A garment is made not only from the apparel fabric but also various trimming items. Fabric is the basic material in garment manufacturing. Except fabric of garment, the other materials are known as garment trimmings. These have to be chosen in such a way that they complement the outer fabric both aesthetically, in terms of decoration, and practically, in terms of ensuring that the garment performs as expected in its intended end use. Support materials, Garment Closures are the main components of garment trimmings.

Note: There is a debate about trims and accessories. Some people think garment trimmings and accessories are different things. Actually both terms are used to express those materials which are used to making and processing garments upto shipment without fabric. Below articles will help to solve your problem on trims and accessories.

Support Materials
These are important to the intrinsic quality of Garments but are often invisible in Finished Garments. They contribute to the Aesthetics and/or performance of Garment components, shell fabrics and other materials. Several different types of support materials may be used in one garment, but not all garments require support materials. Interlinings, linings, Adhesives, Tapes, Shoulder pads, sleeve headers & collar stays. Interlinings are the commonest type of support materials used in the Garment Industry.

Garment Closures
Human body shape needs certain garment components to separate or expand so a garment that surrounds & conforms to the Body or specific body parts can be put-on and taken-off. Expansion is built into garments through structural openings and elastic materials. Garments are usually designed to surround the body and accommodate body movement. Usually closures are subject to more horizontal stresses than Vertical stresses because of the Nature of the Body kinetics.

Stay is a material that is applied to the Garment parts for Strength or reinforcement purposes. There are different kinds of stays made from different materials for different applications. Mainly there are three types of Stays. They are;

  1. Stay Tapes
  2. Collar Stays
  3. Special Stays

1. Stay Tapes
This is a narrow strip of firmly constructed textile material which is used for strengthening or controlling various parts of a garment. Stay tapes are available in many different widths such as 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8 & 3/4 of an inch & 1 inch. It may be made of Cotton, Polyester, Nylon or Poly/Cotton. This can also be divided into two categories.

a. Non-fusible Stay Tape
Almost all non-fusible stay tapes are woven in either twill or plain weave & are sewn on to the garment parts.

b. Fusible of Stay Tape
Fusible Stay tape may be woven or non-woven, with adhesive agents either or on one side or on both sides of the fabric. N general fusible stay tape is cut from rolls of possible interlining. It is attached to the garment by fusing. Double face fusible tape is mainly used for hemming purposes.

Fig: Fusible of Stay Tape

2. Collar Stays
Collar stays are support materials often used to build shape retention into structured collars of shirts & blouses. Plastic collar stays are available in various types, lengths, widths, and weights. Thin flexible collars stays may be superimposed on the front edge seam of the collars as they are sewn. Other flexible plastic stays are stitched through the stay remains permanently attached to the collar. Permanently attached stays were common in shirts manufactured in Sri Lanka for the Local market & are the fastest and least expensive application but they may have performance problems during wearing & care procedures. Removable stays are found in higher quality garments. Removing stays during laundry & cleaning prevents bending & permanent distortion. There are categories of collar stays like

  • Both Ends of a special shape
  • Rounded at Both ends
  • Tapered Single point

Fabric Stays are also there which is made of a piece of Fabric (either shell fabric, interlining, lining or another kind of material) is applied to the wrong side of the certain garment part for support purposes. For an example this kind of stay is used behind the button in a shirt.

3. Special Stays
There are also special stays which are used on particular Garments. For an example, a metal stay is used in ladies’ brassieres or corsets. In these occasions the stay is mainly used for Shaping & Reinforcement purposes.

Special Stays
Fig: Special Stays

Interlinings are materials that are fused or sewn to specific areas on the inside of garments or garment components which are commonly used in the garment industry. They provide shape, support, stabilization, reinforcement, hand, and improved performance for garments. They are also called Interfacing, particularly by the home sewing industry. The selection of the most appropriate interlining for a garment is based on the manufacturer’s standards for aesthetics, performance and costs. Here are some of the functions of interlinings.

  • Providing better shape retention
  • Increasing the strength & stability
  • Creating a firm structure
  • Giving warmth to the wearer
  • Increasing the bulkiness
Fig: Interlinings

Elastic is coming under Garment closures & this is an important in closures. Elastics must be suited to the desired Aesthetics and expected performance of the Product. They are often a factor in determining garment structure, fit and comfort. The performance of elastic especially in underwear may determine the lifetime of the garment in which it is used. Elastics may be sampled and tested and garment prototypes with elastic incorporated may be tested to determine if the performance of the elastic is adequate. Elastic has two functions which are;

  1. To expand when stretched
  2. To recover to its original dimension when released

The structure of Elastomeric fibers, fabrication of the elastic and application methods provides the degree of expandability and recovery.


Different types of elastics
Fig: Different types of elastics

Most Garments have multiple labels that provide information for both the apparel firms, that manufacture and distribute the garments and the consumers who select and use them. Labels contain information like;

  • Brand name and/or RN number (the manufacturer’s ID no.)
  • Fibre content
  • Country of Origin
  • Care information are required by Law
  • Other product information (Style no., Size, Construction features etc.)

Brand labels are the large, colorful, image builders that are strategically located for obvious visibility. Manufacturers to advice the consumer of special, high quality products use these labels. In addition, there are Quality Marks which indicates that the products which may be supplied by different manufacturers, confirm to certain written quality standards.

Label Materials must be compatible with the garment materials, appropriate for the location in which the label is placed and the processing to which the garment will be subjected. In addition, labels must be durable, easy to attach and meet cost constraints.

Styles of Labels and Application Methods

  • Double with a single fold & open at one end
  • Flat with no ends folded
  • Flat with ends folded in
  • Folded Loops
Styles of Labels
Fig: Styles of Labels
Different types of labels
Fig: Different types of labels

Different types of closures used in garment and why a particular type of closure is used in that instant:
There are many types of Closures used in garments. The main purpose of using closures is as the human body shape requires certain garment components to separate or expand so a garment that surrounds & conforms to the body or specific body parts so can be put on or taken off.

Some of the Closure types are:

  1. Zippers
  2. Buttons
  3. Buttonholes
  4. Snaps
  5. Elastics
  6. Hooks
  7. Hook & Loop tapes
  8. Purposes of Using Closures

Zippers are mechanical slide fasteners. A zipper closes a placket when two rows of interlocking elements (teeth, scoops or coils) are drawn together by a slider. Zippers allow garments to expand for dressing & to become smooth & fitted when closed. Two types of Zippers can be classified;

  1. Separable Zippers
  2. Non-Separable Zippers

Separable Zippers are used for Jackets and Coats. These zippers can be seen on car coats so that the wearer can unzip the coat from the bottom for more comfortable siting. Non separable zippers are used for garments like Pants, Skirts, and Dresses. This can open only in one direction & have a stop across both halves of the chain at one or both ends so that the slider wills not run-off the chain.

Fig: Zipper

The performance of buttons depends on the materials, structure, quality & performance of each device and its compatibility with garment styling and materials. Button selection is not a simple matter as many different aspects of garment design & production must be considered. Aesthetic buttons can be produced in nearly any shape, color & size. Some buttons are works of art made by hand, using precious metals, stoned and fabrics. Some of the importance of using buttons is below mentioned.

  • Closing security & flatness to the plackets
  • Garment styling, aesthetic appearance
  • To reduce the strain on the shell fabric
  • Provides some space to accommodate the thickness of the fabrics
Different types of button
Fig: Different types of button

Snaps are mechanical closures that consist of a closure unit & an attaching unit. A closure unit consists of two different closure parts a stud or ball and a socket that must be compatible. They are available in varied diameters, depths, and shapes that affect the holding power of the snap. Benefits of using Snaps;

  • Can be used instead of buttons on work cloths, sportswear, children’s wear, jeans and belts as it gives smoothness.
  • Especially suitable for thick garment materials like Leather where buttonhole sewing is undesirable.
  • Used as an invisible fastening, particularly when a smooth, flat closure is desired.
  • Applied to garment parts which have little or no strain during wear such as opening of a loose-fitting garment or on a detachable garment part.
Different types of snaps
Fig: Different types of snaps

You may also like:

  1. Interlining in Garments – Complete Know How
  2. Interlining: Types, Functions, Uses, Advantages & Disadvantages
  3. Different Types of Buttons Used in Garments
  4. Button and Buttonhole: Types, Techniques and Machines

Share this Article!

Leave a Comment