Sewing seamless cloths? Sounds unbelievable, right? But the fact is sleeves and necklines require traditional stitching with thread and needle. However, the Italian knitting technology produces beautiful designs that features fashion with basic function. The soft micro fibres utilized in these cloths need particular threads, and enhanced sewing technology for the elasticity.

The seamless clothing has transformed the overall worldwide production process. This technology can directly produce finished products, and lessens traditional process of the production. This leads to saving of production costs up to 40 percent compared to the customary knitting. The seamless knits are in tubular shape, which is laid-in elastic yarns, placed in the welt bands and prepared in the compressed areas.


Circular knitting machines were mostly used by underwear makers since the beginning of the circular knitting technology in early 19th century. But the manufacturers in Italy merged the reciprocation technology for tips and heels of socks with intarsia for swimwear, underwear and outerwear during 80s. The machine manufacturing company, Santoni in Brescia is currently leading the market; although other companies like Sangiacomo, Italy and Merz, Germany are also famous players in similar knitting machine technologies.

Within just three years, production of seamless underwear assortment reached nine percent of the total global production in this segment in year 2001, comparing two percent reached in the year 1998, with climb of 18 percent in 2003. In 2007, underwear industrial segment is likely to reach 35 percent, Santoni reports.

In context to the educational and training, the Santoni Group has been conducting courses at The Machina Fashion and Design Institute, based in Brescia. The courses are focused on software oriented designs, and on the machine developments. Santoni training centre has emerged as a work place for innovations and develop prototypes, which are checked by consumers and stylists, and will be manufactured and distributed in the open market.

Santoni tried its hands on making seamless pants and bras, however, the results were not so positive because the diameter of the machines permits only small sizes. Although, this resulted many interesting out-comes like frills, fringes and designs.


Threads

Because the main products like underwear, outerwear and swimwear are highly elastic, fine to very fine fabric, made of micro-fibres, required to be very extensible and soft.

All major sewing thread makers have developed appropriate products.

Alterfil has developed a 100 percent polyester texturized yarn "Alterfil T", for needle and looper. The combination of Alterfil T and Alterfil B in the needle and looper is recommended.

The Coats has introduced Coats Eloflex, produced from Polybutylene terephthalate (P.B.T.). It is designed for elastic knitted fabrics, featuring best firmness and elasticity. This could be utilized for both under thread and needle.

GOtermann, Germany has introduced an eye-catching seam with a glowing metallic effect. The in-depth testing has depicted that using a 2 or 3 needle over-sew stitch, a mixture of the micro fibre thread 'Piuma' and the metal threads, GOtermann W 331, rolls out a excellent result.

It is skin-friendly, without resulting any irritation. The 127 available Piuma colors and 12 W 331 colors (in some cases multi-colored) produce a wide-range of color permutation.

Amann, Germany developed new innovative elastic sewing thread, "saba FLEX". It is made from 100 percent PTT continuous thread, available in 2 variants, 80tex and 120tex for all kinds of elastic fabrics.

Reutex, Germany offers new elastic micro fibre thread for needle and looper, 'Softex 120'.

Joining Options

Welding, bonding, and heat sealing are other options then customary sewing method. However, these options have their restrictions over elasticity. Framis Italia, based in ltaly, is well-known for its welding technology, "NoSo" that is based on bonding. It is bonding of two fabrics together. The bonding tape is implemented together with hot-air welding. Framis has recently launched latest portable machine EI Nino for hot-air welding.


Swiss manufacturer, Schips has introduced ultrasonic machines. The first machine is HS C51 WHE-F8, which is for hemming, second is the HS C52BCO, which continuously assembles two fabrics with a bonding tape, and third is HS C51 WFO that welds folded elastic to release garments.

Sewing Machines

Sewing machine makers did not overwhelmed on new technologies, as anticipated. However, few machine makers have taken initiatives to enhance the technologies. The initiatives towards user-friendliness and flexibility are remarkable.

. AMF Reece, based in Czech Republic, introduced a chain stitch buttonhole lingerie tucker machine, 5-4000 LT, to enhance finishing process of the flat seams and flat lock seams. The surplus flat lock seam is absorbed through the sensor control. The flat seam is cut and fully sewn on, and then cut-off flat lock chain is thrown into the squander.

. The Italian sewing machine maker, CF has introduced Rimoldi, which is well known for seamless sewing solutions. Its concept consists of seven resourceful machines. The product assortment includes, over lock machine Vega II with 1 or 2 needles, Fenix with 2 or 3 needles and its smaller imitation Mizar and Libra are particularly developed for lingerie. Over lock machine Lyra is a 1 and 2 needle a new inexpensive sewing machine. Gemini, a station with two self-governing, opposite heads, which coordinates to execute parallel binding, lace and elastic functions on both legs of briefs or panties.

. Yamato from Japan launched the VGS machine with extra higher transportation, affirmative feeding of the thread for needles and changing time of looper movements. This may result in raising the length of threads in the seam, making high elasticity. In case of seaming a T-shirt, the UTL will make the stitches automatically denser at the end of the sewing process and locks the seam.

. OOrkopp from Germany and Shanggong from China introduced three new machines for knitting, two high speed lock-stitch (GC8900-1/A/H and GC89004-50) and the high speed over-lock machine SG700/704/714/716. The other has a degree of difference in feeding with micro alteration according to the kind of fabric sewn

. Union Special, Germany, introduced many machines for seamless garments; among these a unique flat seaming machine with 4 needles thread feed off the arm with top cover thread for overlapped joining processes. The photocell controls the thread-chain-cutter at the back of the foot-presser.

. Pegasus, Japan, introduced new special machine to bind tape over seamless garments, W562-020Bx232/ FT141/MD641/Y. It is 2-needle flatbed, interlock stitching machine. Its top-cover thread has a fabric edge trimmer, with elastic lace feeder, holding stepping motor driven metering device and automatic tape/thread cutter.

. Schips introduced a blend of two machines, HS C3G/B to attach bindings simultaneously form right to left leg.


Conclusion

Seamless products have a share in fashion and functional garment market, and it is not bounded to only underwear segment. The new evolution is emerging into outerwear product assortments.