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Operation Breakdown

of a T-shirt

Garment Manufacturing Technology

Ms. Garima Srivastava

Submitted by:
Akansha Choudhary | MFM, Sem 1, 03
Anurodh Agnihotri | MFM, Sem 1, 05
Arnav Paitandy | MFM, Sem 1, 06
Natasha Dhawan | MFM, Sem 1, 16

National Institute of Fashion technology, Mumbai

November, 2008
Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008

T-shirts are multi-functional garment worn by all age groups as innerwear and outerwear. They are simply
constructed garments that consist of a front and a back, sleeves and a neckline. A few styles may also have
pockets. Many styles are now considered unisex.

Fashion maybe reflected in oversize styling, deep armhole, cutoff lengths and fitted body. Seasonal changes in T-
shirts maybe reflected in sleeve length, color and fabric weight. Reversible T-shirts may be made with two layers
of fabric. Plain T-shirts are often referred to as Blanks for the imprint market. Printed T-shirt, which appeal to
both males and females, provide humor, ideas or interests. They provide identity through screen printed or heat
transfer applications of lettering, logos and licensed designs. Designs provide intrinsic appeal beyond the
intrinsic value of the garment.


T-shirts are produced in al size ranges. Infant and toddler shirts are sized by month and weight. Youth and adult
sizes are small, medium, big, extra large and so on. T-shirt fit is concerned with length and circumference of a
garment body, cut of sleeves and neckline shape and depth. Sleeve fit is often determined by styling. Set-in
sleeves which fit close to the body require room for movement and arm expansion.

Necklines of T-shirts should lay flat against the body regardless of styling, depth of the neck band or method of
assembly. During application, neckband is stretched slightly to fit neck edges. One of the causes for poor
neckline fit is banding the stretches but never recovers. This maybe due to, incorrect stitch selection or too
many stitches per inch.

Product testing and complete product specifications can help prevent poor fit. Differences in body proportions
must be accommodated in the styling and fit of garments.

Example of a T-shirt size chart:

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008


Fabrics used for T-shirts are primarily 100% cotton or cotton /polyester blends. All cotton is generally used in
producing better quality garments, though yarn type, fabrication and fabric finished also affect quality. Fiber
length and alignment affect durability and appearance. Ring-spun yarns provide long-range performance.
Heavier fabrics are often 100 percent cotton and require more yarn which leads to increase in costs. Trims used
on T-shirts consist of neckbands, cuffs, bindings; screen printed designs, embroidery, etc.

Trims maybe matching or contrasting. Tubular neckbands do not require seaming and are often used for better
turtlenecks and crew necks. Other trims used are braids,
stripes and bindings Trims must be compatible with other
materials, garment performance care and use.

Tape maybe used on back necklines, to stabilize and enclose

the seams and improve durability and performance. Narrow
twill tape or stable strips maybe sewn in shoulder seams to
prevent breaking of the stitch line. Elastic application
ensures recovery of stretched seams. Threads of many types
are used in sewing T – shirt .Budget shirts are stitched with
white thread, while top-stitching is usually done with color-
matched threads.


Tubular knit fabric, which is frequently used in adult T-

Shirts, creates some challenges in preproduction that are
different than products being spread and cut from flat
goods. Closed markers are usually used to cut tubular goods
to be able to utilize the full width of the fabric. Tubular
goods may be cut with an open marker but primarily for
children’s clothing. Fabric may be knife cut or die cut. If it is
die cut, lengths of the fabric cut to the lengths of the die
must be cross or section from the new fabric. Sections or
blocks of knife are stacked until they meet the specified ply
height and the spread is moved to the die cutter.

Better T-shirt will have a tubular goods turns ¼ turn before cross cutting and stacking. This will transfer the
crease lines from sides of the spread to the centre. This moves the fold from what would be centre front and
center back to the underarm area.turning the fabric although automated, provides a less distorted surface for
centre front. Die cutting usually causes less distortion problems in the cutting process.

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008


Final T-shirt

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008

Garment Operation Breakdown List Form Date: 28 November 2008

Style Number: _________________________ Sketch:

Description: T-shirt. Casual wear. Knitted

fabric .

Op. # Description Stitch Seam

1 Seams
Most T-shirt seams are superimposed seams, stitched with overedge 504 Superimposed
stitch. This stitch/seam combination produces a narrow, finished seam
with good stretch and flexibility if properly executed. Knitted fabrics do
not need a wide seam allowance for good performance. However,
seaming of knit fabrics needs to be monitored to prevent yarn
severance. Broken yarn caused by faulty needles or the wrong needles
type may allow runs to start at seams.

2 Sleeve
Because of automation and ease in handling, sleeves are often finished 504 Superimposed
prior to setting into T-shirts. Automated seaming allows sleeves to be
carried by conveyer to the sewing head for hemming. For tubular T-
shirts, sleeves are seamed before setting. For other cut and sewn T-
shirts, the sleeve is set into the garment and the sleeves and the side
seam are closed in one operation.

Edge treatments, weather band or hems, are easiest to apply while

sleeves are flat. Bands may be applied as binding (BSb) or as
superimposed seam (SSa).

3 Hemline
Better quality T-shirt 406 Efa
Budget T-shirt 503 EFc
Hems must be stretchy, flat and wide enough to avoid rolling when the
fabric is stretched. A narrow hem on a jersey is likely to curl when
tension is applied to the edge of the garment. Stitch tension should be
loose and the stitches not visible on the right side. Hems may be the
first operation on a t-shirt or the last depending how the production
line is set up.

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008

4 Patch Pockets
Patch pockets are found on some outwear T-shirts. Pocket hems of
better t-shirts have filler or interlining in the pocket hem to retain
shape and prevent stretching. Support material is fed in as hems are
stitched to the pocket. Automatic pocket setters may be used to attach
pocket to shirt fronts. With automation, an operator places a pocket
and shirt and shirt front and engages the machine. The machine aligns
and stitches the pocket. If pockets are applied, it may be one of the first
operations because it is easier to manipulate a flat open piece.

5 Shoulder Seams
Budget garments may only be seamed, while better garments have the 504 SSa Superimposed
shoulders taped or elastic applied. This approach may be closed before
the neckbone is applied.

6 Neckline
Bound Seam Neckline 406 Bsb

Bound seam neckline applications stitched with a cover stitch are fast
and easy to apply. They may be used to finish neckline of crew necks,
scoops, tanks and so on. Bound seams are flat except where joined at
shoulder(s), and provide a neat topstitch appearance. Neckbands, when
applied as bound seams, are strips of rib knit fed off rolls through
tensioning devices and folders. When neckbands are applied and the
shoulder seams(s) closed, the neckline is completed.

Neckbands may be applied separately to the neckline back and front or

to the neckline after one shoulder seam is closed. Closure of the
shoulder seam(s) after trim is applied leaves exposed seam(s) at the
neckline edge. This method is fast, minimizes handling, amd is widely
used on budget and moderate shirts.

Tubular Neckband 504 SSa Superimposed

Neckbands in tubular form require both shoulder seams to be closed

before application. Tubular neckbands may be cut from appropriately
sized tubular knits or cut and sewn from piece goods. Tubular
neckbands are folded with wrong sides together, positioned on top of
the neckline in a superimposed seam, and attaching tubular neckbands
to necklines with closed shoulder seams requiring manual application.
Sewing operators fold, stretch, and align neckbands and shirt necklines
while sewing them together.

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008

7 Taping of Shoulder and Neckline

Superimposed neckline seam, are often taped, cover stitched or 406 SSf, Superimposed
topstitched to improve comfort, aesthetic appeal, and durability. SSag, LSbn
Unfinished super imposed seam at the neckline may not remain flat
during wear or may not stretch and not cover. More durable T-shirts
are taped continuously around the back neckline and shoulder seam to
flatten the seams, maintain shape, and provide hanger appeal.

Continuous taping reinforces the junction of shoulder and neckline

seams, which is subject to high stress. Only back neckline seams may be
taped when neckbands are applied with both shoulder seams open.
This gives the appearance of a better-quality shirt when only the back
neck is stabilized. Topstitching may also be used on better-quality
garments in areas where the neckline is not taped.

8 Label Stitching
Label setting is often combined with neckline with neckline seaming.
Most T-shirts have neckline labels to provide information and appeal
while some shirts have a second label sewn to the outside lower front
in a separate operation. This is intended to add fashion appeal and
differentiation to some types of shirts.

9 Optional Features
Some T-shirts will have trim or screen prints added for decorative
purposes. Special T-shirts for infants have larger openings at the head.
The shoulder seams are left open near the neck, and buttons or other
fasteners are attached.

10 Finishing Operations
T-shirts are inspected for flaws in the fabric, stitching, and thread. High-
quality T-shirts may be pressed through steam tunnels before they are
packaged. Packaging depends on the type of T-shirt and the intended
distribution outlet.

11 Quality Control
Most of the operations in manufacturing clothing are regulated by
federal and inter-national guidelines. Manufacturers may also set
guidelines for the company. There are standards that apply specifically
to the T-shirt industry, which include proper sizing and fit, appropriate
needles and seams, types of stitches, and the number of stitches per
inch. Stitches must be loose enough to allow the garment to stretch
without breaking the seam. Hems must be flat and wide enough to
prevent curling. T-shirts must also be inspected for proper application
of neck-lines, which should rest flat against the body. The neckline
should also recover properly after being slightly stretched.

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Operation Breakdown of a T-shirt MFM, Sem 1 | NIFT, Mumbai | 2008


We have identified the stitching of the neckline of the T-shirt as a major bottleneck operation. This is a still a
manual and time consuming process. There are many variations of attaching the neckline and each of these
methods effect the appearance, quality and cost of t-shirts.

Attaching the neckline is a very time consuming process and leads to accumulation of WIP. This can be avoided
by employing 2 operators instead of one for attaching neckbands. It will add to the cost but there will be a
certain cost benefit advantage.

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