Cutting is an extremely dangerous process.
Computerized factories use laser to cut the
fabric, eliminating much of the danger.
Cutting can be contracted out to cutting
Want to know what is involved in running a clothing factory?
Ever think about starting one? Here’s some information about that. Start up finances: You will need at least $90,000, probably more that you can afford to lose. Essential personnel: Factory supervisor Accountant Production patternmaker/technical designer to draft patterns Sample maker/forelady to train and supervise sewing Factory workers Cutters Sewing machine mechanic Operators Packers
Ever think about starting one?
Here’s some information about that.
Start up finances:
You will need at least $90,000, probably more that you can afford to lose.
Production patternmaker/technical designer to
Sample maker/forelady to train and supervise
Sewing machine mechanic
2. The steps in the process vary, depending on the type of garment being manufactured.
3. Sewing skills vary from person to person and from factory to factory. An operator may be proficient at setting sleeves, but not know how to set a collar. A patternmaker may not be able to sew samples, a sample maker may not be able to draft patterns.
4. Factory personnel (and design room personnel, once out of college) learn their trades by oral tradition. Books aren’t used. No one sits in a class. The instructor (usually the forelady) sits by the new trainee who observes, learns, and memorizes the sewing procedure.
5. Before a clothing style is sent to the factory every detail must be tested and written down in the designing department, then checked and rechecked for possible error. These instructions are sent with the patterns to the factory. The factory follows these procedures to the letter, conferring with the designing department when necessary. Factories are often required by independent designing departments to first make a sample for approval before being given the OK to manufacture the garment. Several factories may bid on the contract, each sending in a sample as part of the bidding.
6. Every step of the sewing operation is timed. Union operators are paid a base amount per hour regardless of how many pieces they sew. If they sew more than the minimum amount of pieces they are then paid extra. Most operators exceed the minimum number of pieces expected in the time frame given for those pieces. Careful recording of each operator’s output is kept. If the excess exceeds a certain number then the number of minimum pieces required before the operator will be paid extra may be increased. An industrial machine does one type of operation only.
7. If a factory switches to another clothing style new machinery may be needed. An industrial sewing machine costs from $1000 used, up to $10,000, maybe more. For this reason and many others factories specialize in particular types of clothing. Any change in production often requires relocation of machinery as speed is essential. Since machinery is bolted down to the floor, even that small a change requires financial justification.
8. Mass-production produces huge quantities of clothing. Factories traditionally cut 1000 garments at a time, although small shops may cut as few as 500 at a time. A shop of 80 seamstresses can produce 450 or more lined sleeveless jumpers with back zippers and ties in a day. A sample maker can sew 6 in one afternoon.
Small orders of 20 or 30 garments must be combined with many other small orders if a factory is to be profitable. Most factories need to produce generic, average sized clothing for a national market if they are to be successful.
9. Pricing is determined by cost of materials.
Ribbing – wholesale – 22 inches .50
10. Costing must allow for seconds, possible theft, cancelled orders, and charge backs. It’s well known in the industry that if 1000 garments are sent down the line and 1000 come off, the garment is not going to sell in the stores.
profit. The company was manufacturing in Hong Kong.
a. Ask if they have ever sewn.
b. Ask if they would be interested in sewing in a small factory.
c. If they are interested, have them sew fabric strips on gauge on a basic industrial sewing machine (industrial, single-needle, straight-stitch machine with a bobbin.)
d. If they are still interested, have them sew a few muslin samples, such as a mock up sleeve set or collar to determine if they have hand dexterity, or can develop it.
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