The knitwear industry is one of the oldest in the world. In fact, industrial revolution was brought about by the invention of knitting machines. All the fabrics of world are made essentially in two ways – Knitting or Weaving. Knitting is done by a needle whereas weaving is done by looms. At Orient Textile Mills, we specialize at production of knitted fabrics and garments.
The production process starts with the purchase of yarn. In Indian hosiery ecosystem, there are numerous yarn agents that mediate a deal (sauda) between a spinning mill and fabric manufacturer. The yarn with particular specification of count and colour label is purchased to make a specific type of garment. After this, the yarn is knitted into the required fabric using suitable knitting machines. We, at Orient Textile Mills, use majorly machines made by Mayer and Cie (Germany). There are three major specifications given at this step i.e. Machine Dia (the diameter of circular knitting machine to be used), gauge (needles per inch) and loop length (the length of yarn in 100 loops of finished fabric). By giving these specifications, we are able to achieve a fabric of required GSM and density.
The fabric thus produced is called gray fabric and has natural cotton colour. The fabric is now washed and processed. At this step, there are two major activities that is carried out – bleaching and dyeing. There are two major ways of bleaching/dyeing – Winch and Softflow . Winch dyeing is a cold process while softflow dyeing is done at higher temperatures. Softflow dyeing/bleaching is a much superior process as the colour fastness and finish is much better than winch. There are a number of processes that can be added at this step for example bio washing. For bio wash, an enzyme is introduced to the fabric which eats up any excess cottons from it (thus enhancing the fabric feel and reducing the pilling).
Once the processed fabric is received, the fabric is cut according to the pattern for a particular garments. There are numerous technology disruptions that have taken place in cutting technology and many CAD machines are available today for designing and cutting the fabric. For inner wear, we generally go for manual cutting, where a number of layers of fabric are cut together according to various patterns. Once the fabric is cut, the pieces are sewn together to bring complete garment together. There are various stitches and styles in which the garments can be sewn. Flat lock and over lock are two major stitches used to join two fabrics. As the garment is completely made, it’s handed over to QA team, which inspects the garments for any flaws and rejections. After a garment is approved, it’s folded using hydraulic press or steam press. Steam press is a better way to fold the garments as it leaves no impressions on the fabric.
Finally, the garments are packaged and stored at our warehouses. These products are ready to be shipped and are packed in cartons. In this blog post, we briefly touched all the areas of production of knitted garments. Having a strong understanding of the process is indispensable for anyone working in hosiery industry. In our next blog post, we will dive into the details of knitting technology. Stay tuned!