Seamless Knitting Technology: Benefits and Limitations
Art college of Uzbekistan
Seamless Knitting Technology:
Seamless knitting technology is not a new concept. It has been used in the past for hosiery production and it has been well known throughout the industry since the 1980s. Seamless knitting technology has entered the mainstream in the knitwear market at the end of last century. Seamless entire garment knitting was first introduced in 1995, at the International Textile Machinery Association. Manufacturers have applied seamless technology to create various styles and patterns of garments. It can also utilize special yarns or finishing processes for particular functions. It is claimed that seamless technology shortens the manufacturing process and reduces material wastage, offering greater comfort and better fit to the wearers.
Seamless knitting technology offers considerable advantages to intimate apparel over the manufacturing methods of cutting and sewing. Seamless knitting is an exciting technology that has the capability of making ready to wear 3D tubular garments directly from yarns without any lateral seams. There are many possibilities in the design and structure of garments with better fit and comfort.
Seamless knitting technology was introduces as one entire complete garment with minimal or no cutting and sewing process. This innovative technology was promising to eliminate post labor work. Moreover, it offered knitwear consumers more comfort and better fit by eliminating seams. Therefore, seamless technology promised great benefits to manufacturers as well as their consumers.
The most important is to be considered is a variety of benefits in technical aspects as well as in the market demands that complete knitting garment can offer.
First of all, there is no traditional labor (intensive cutting and sewing process) because of the eliminating seam production. As a result, the tubular-typed seamless knitting gives savings in terms of production, time and cost.
By decreasing the number of production processes such as the cutting or sewing steps, minimize the risk of defects and damages. A single entire piece production method is claimed to provide more consistent product quality. Consequently, seamless knitwear is promoted to look better, fit better and is believed to be much more comfortable than a traditional fashioned piece of knitwear. Seamless knitting also allows knit designers to create design structures and patterns across the entire garment. It is so simple how designers can program and style more sophisticated design structures and shaped patterns through the computerized design system.
Finally, seamless garment knitting create less harm for the global environment by minimizing waste disposal and reducing the need to grow as much as cotton, wool and other natural raw materials.
Recently, some companies such as Santoni, Sangiacomo, and Orizio Santoni, etc. developed seamless garment machines and became the biggest supplier of the circular knitting machinery. For instance, Santoni, whose customers include Nike, Adidas, offers 14 different models of circular knitting machines, from 7 to 32 gauges. The machines produce swimwear, sportswear, outerwear, underwear.
The advent of electronics and computer aided design and control systems have enabled the principles used in sock manufacture to be applied to knit seam-free body panels, integral waistbands and shoulder straps to create body-size seamless garments although the market did not take up the challenge until Santoni of Italy offered machines capable of producing body size articles. Body size garments aim to envelop the body in a comfortable seam-free second skin. The finished garment is actually normally only free from side seams, but does not guarantee the elimination of seams at other parts such as gusset seams for the underpants or fastening seams for bras.
Benefits of Seamless Knitting Technology:
Seamless knitted intimate apparel is fine, light, smooth, and comfortable to wear, with no constraints, swelling, or unsightly stitching. Seamless fashion lingerie is currently targeted at body-confident consumers in the high-end market, which includes luxury brands such as Wolford and La Perla.
We’ve highlighted some benefits of seamless knitting technology:
- Minimizing or eliminating labor intensive cutting and sewing process
- Savings in production times and cost
- Minimal yarn consumption
- Higher productivity
- Multi-gauge knitting
- Lightness and softness
- No bulky and irritating stitches/seams
- More constant product quality
- Better trimmability for finished edge lines
- Better look, better fit and more comfortable
- More creative possibilities for knitwear designers
- Quick-response production for size and pattern changes
- Just-in-time production
- Mass customization
Limitations of Seamless Knitting Technology:
Since seamless knitting is a comparatively young technology, designs for seamless knitted garments have been highly reliant on technical skill. Until now, knitting parameters have been set through experience, trial and error, or rough calculations indicated that visualizing the 3D design effects of using different stitches and yarns in the knitting is the main challenge for seamless knitting designers. Some designers have entered the market without understanding the product or machinery involved. Consequently, most of them have produced similar types of basic intimate apparel with little creativity.
Critical limitations of seamless knitted bras that are not preferred in daily bras: they flatten or compress the breasts. Others complained that the bras marketed as seamless are not totally seam free. Only the lateral seams are eliminated; cutting is still required for trimming the fabric area outside the garment piece, and sewing is needed for neatening the neckline and joining shoulder straps and other components (such as binding tapes and strap adjusters). These can cause irritation and detrimentally affect the wearer’s comfort sensation. Quality issues can also arise. For example, the sewing process may create needle holes on the finished edges and weaken the seams in the garment, leading to their premature failure.
The chart below shows the comparison of waste by each method of manufacturing when making a medium size ladies sweater.
|Cut and Sew||Shaping||Seamless|
|30% loss of fabric due to cutting out of pattern on square of fabric = 130 grams wasted per garment.||14% material loss from 1 cm seams being knitted =700cm2 per garment.6% of total fabric area for yarn required to link garment = 42 grams.||No waste – no linking required|
|Per 1000 garments:130 g x 1000 = 130 Kg of waste|
|130 Kg waste yarn = 48 sheep (based on 2.7 kg per sheep)|
|Final garment weight = 300g||Final garment weight = 136 grams||Final garment weight = 128 grams|
- Advances in Women’s Intimate Apparel Technology Edited by Winnie Yu
- Innovation and Technology of Women’s Intimate Apparel Edited by W. Yu, J. Fan, S.C. Harlock and S.P. Ng
- The Art of Seamless Knitting By Simona Merchant-Dest and Faina Goberstein
Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.