Cutting Room Overview (Apparel Industry)

Garment production starts with the cutting process. In this process, the fabric is being cut into components (shapes or patterns of different garment parts, i.e. front, back, sleeve, collar shapes, etc.).

In mass production, multiple layers of fabrics are laid on a table and a large number of garments are being cut at a time. The laid fabric stack is called a lay. The cutting process includes a number of sub-processes and the flow of the processes is as follows. 

Each process is briefly explained in the following.

cutting room overview and process chart

1. Pattern / Marker: 

According to the design and fit, patterns of different garment parts are made on pattern paper and cut into pattern pieces. For manual marker, these pattern pieces are used for marker making. On the other hand in CAD system patterns are made on the computer. Later using a plotter marker are made on the sheet. In the second case, the cutting department receives a ready marker.

2. Cut ratio receiving: Prior to cutting, cutting department get a job sheet from planning department or merchandiser or production manager that includes total quantity of garment pieces to be cut, sizes ratio of the garments and colour-wise size break up. According to the size and colour ratio cutting team prepare one marker or multiple markers. Marker length and number of lay to be cut are planned in this stage.

3. Fabric receiving: Fabric requirement for an order is calculated according to the average consumption of the fabric from the marker. In case of multiple colour order, colour wise requirement is made. Fabric department issue fabric to cutting against the fabric requirement (generally requisition slip is used).

4. Fabric relaxation: This process is optional. Specially used for knits fabric. During rolling of fabric it get stretched. So it is essential to bring the fabric on stable form otherwise garment would shrink after making. To relax the fabric roll or thān is opened and spread and kept for about 24 hours.

5. Spreading (Fabric Layering): In this stage, the fabric sheet is layered one above another maintaining pre-defined maker length and correct ply tension. Fabric is layered up to a certain height to avoid cutting quality problems. Spreading is done by manual layering or automatic layering machine can be used. During layering of the fabric, the fabric edge is aligned at one side.

6. Marker Making: After layering of a lay, pre-made paper patterns (or ready markers made by plotter) are placed on the top layer of the lay. In manual marker making, marking is done around each pattern shape using marking chalk. This process is called marker making. In a marker, all garment components are placed.

7. Cutting: Lay is cut following the marked lines on the top of the lay. Cutting is done using a straight knife or other cutting means. In the cutting process, the garment component are separated. On the basis of pattern shape, different cutting methods/machines are selected.

Related: Cutting room process flow chart

8. Numbering: Separated garment components are numbered to ensure that in stitching all components from the same layer are stitched together. It is important to avoid shade variation in a garment. Between the cutting and sewing processes cut components may be passed through other processes like printing and embroidery. There is a maximum chance of mixing the components. If there is a layer number in each component then at the time of stitching only correct components will be stitched together.

9. Sorting: According to the production system (Make through, progressive bundle or one-piece flow system) cut components are sorted. In sorting all components of a garment placed together. Size-wise sorting and in case multiple colours are cut in a single lay, colour wise sorting will be required.

10. Bundling: As per the production line requirement, a certain number of pieces with all components are tied together. This process is known as bundling. Each bundle is marked with bundle number, style name, size number and quantity of pieces in that bundle. At this stage, cuttings are ready to send to a production line for stitching.

Also see: Cutting room machinery and equipment for garment manufacturing

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