Friday, June 6, 2008

grading for shrinkage

I realized that I needed to clarify about the shrinkage on the shorts Im working on. The reason that the fabric isn't shrunk before sewing up the shorts, as it is nromally in home sewing, is that we are making production samples, and as such, they have to be representative of the shorts that will be manufactured in bulk. We're doing a small run - 50 shorts in all - but that is still too much fabric to toss is a washing machine and then iron afterwards before sending them to the sample sewer. What happens instead is that the shorts are graded for shrinkage. I did a shrink test, as mentioned below, to find out how the fabric will change when it is washed, and then the shorts are enlarged to account for that shrinkage. The pattern is enlarged by a really simple grading process which involves flat patterning in the necessary amount by slashing the pattern and opening it up at strategic points --you just have to make sure that your seams will all still match up, and that the extra was added evenly thoughout the garment.
Big manufacturing houses have facilities to wash and press all of their pieces, but the place we're working with is tiny - because our first run is tiny - and she only has the ability to steam and press our shorts. That means that there will still be a fair amount of shrinkage that occurs after the shorts are purchaced by our customers - something that will have to be mentioned to everyone who comes in and tries them on. This is annoying and we have to find a way to get around it, probably just by producing bigger runs and finding a facility that can take care of the whole process.

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