Role of Support Materials Relative to Garment Design, Quality and Production

Last Updated on 30/01/2021

The Role of Support Materials Relative to Garment Design, Quality & Production

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


Support materials contribute an aesthetics and/or performance of garment components, shell fabrics and other materials. The common types of support materials are Interlinings, linings, Adhesives, Tapes, Shoulder pads, Sleeve headers & Collar Stays. However those things provide foundations for Shape, Structure & Appearance of the Garments. These materials offer Stability, Reinforce points of stress, Increase retention of original appearance during wear and care and /or enclose garment interiors.

garment design
Fig: Garment design by CAD

Decisions made during Product development determine how the designed shape of the Garment will be supported and/or enclosed. Support materials must be compatible with shell fabrics and other materials in the garment if an acceptable appearance and appropriate performance are to be maintained over extended periods of use and care.

Inadequate and inappropriate support materials become apparent after a period of display, wear, or cleaning when the original shape or appearance of the garment cannot be recovered. As an example that illustrates the difficulties a wearer will be facing due to the malfunctioning of a Support material. You may have noticed that the collar of your shirt looks swollen after a couple of washes. Can you imagine the reason for this? Actually this is due to the wrong selection of the support material. There is an interlining material inside the collar to make it stiffer. However if the shrinkage properties of the collar fabric & the interlining are different, then they shrink to different degrees resulting in seam puckering that will lead to a “Swollen” collar.

As a cost cutting alternative, support materials are sometimes omitted even though they may improve the performance of finished garments. The inclusion or non-inclusion of support materials is dependent on the requirement of the Buyer. The cost of returns that can be attributed to faulty support materials or improper applications is a cost often greater than the cost of the defective product. Dissatisfied customers are often lost customers. These days’ consumers are more knowledgeable about the quality of the product they purchase.

When we are talking about the quality of the Garment it’s the most important part of garment manufacturing. Problems occur because of poor selection of materials, improper methods of assembly, equipment that does not perform correctly and lack of quality control or testing procedures. So proper selection, application and use of support materials influence the Aesthetics, Quality, Performance and Cost of Finished garments.

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