Manufacturing Process of High Fashion Clothes

Recently I visited one high fashion garment manufacturing factory. I had observed some of their designs and dresses from running orders. All dresses were beautiful pieces with lot of embellishment. Embellishments included hand embroidery, machine embroidery, sequins, lost of handwork and bead work. From the conversation with the factory team I learned the whole manufacturing process of those high quality and high end clothes. I will be sharing those processes in details from fabric cutting to finishing the high end high fashion clothes.

These dresses are normally made of shell fabrics and lining fabrics. For shell fabric light weight net fabrics, chiffon and other kind of materials are used and for lining satin is used. But yes different kind of fabric can be used for shell as well as for lining depending on the design. Let me share the processes step by step.

Cutting of fabric panels for shell and lining: 

1. According to fabric need per dress and working allowances shell fabric is cut into block. For lining fabric fixed cutting is done. Fixed cutting means cutting fabric as per final garment patterns. All lining panels are bundled size wise and order wise and packed into polybag. These lining cut panels are stored till shell components are ready for stitching.
Lining fabric/Satin / image source:

The shell fabric panels are processed through following processes.

Embroidery on shell fabric:

2. Cut panels sent outside (to embroidery job worker) for hand embroidery or machine embroidery. In case article have both machine embroidery as well as bead work, these are done two different stages one after another.

3. Suppliers receive cut panels after embroidery work

4. Embroidery panels are washed to remove markings and to clean it.

5. After washing shell fabric panels are pressed with hand iron to remove creases. This helps in visual checking of embroidery work. Washing and ironing is an essential step for pattern marking process.

6. All panels are checked thoroughly for embroidery defects and fabric defects at this stage. In case embroidery defects are found, defective panels are separated and send back to vendor for alteration (if defected panels can’t be corrected by alteration).

Preparation for handwork: 

In the next step shell fabric panels are prepared for handwork (adda work).

7. Pattern marking is done on the shell fabric panels for bead-work with the use of pattern papers or templates. This process is also known as khaka making.

8. These panels are sent outside for bead work, and sequin work. All bead-work and handwork are done on the panels by hand. Handworkers follow the marking for designing with beads, sequin, and other items.

9. All panels are received from beading work.

10. Counting of panels is done by an authorized person to ensure all panels are returned by the vendor.

11. Checking of received panels is done by quality checker to ensure handwork is done correctly on shell panels. They check if there is any loose bead, designs are filled as per specifications and chain stitches are secured. Defective panels are repaired inhouse worker.

Shaping the shell fabric:

12. After bead work, shell fabric is cut as per dress pattern. First marking in done on beaded panels for as per garment patterns (Front, back, sleeve panels). Single ply is cut by hand scissors. Cut panels are matched with linings and bundle is made for single piece. All parts of a dress are packed into a polybag and stored for feeding to the line.

Stitching the shell and lining:

13. Dress stitching is done in make through production system. This means a single operator stitches the whole garment. Finishing operations, like label attaching and button attaching are done by other operator. Bundles are given to tailors for stitching. They first stitch the dress lining.

14. Tailors make dress shell by attaching front, back and other components by using raw stitch. Lining is attached with the shell fabric.

15. Dummy checking - the same operator take the garment to dummy checking place and check it for fittings and fall.

16. If fitting is correct, tailors stitch the dress removing raw stitches. Dress stitching part is complete here.

17. Measurement checking of the dress

18. Handwork checking (SQC) - Checking of the garment is done inside and outside

19. Final dummy checking of stitched garment at stitching stage
20. Bottom leveling of the dress - see the following video for bottom leveling.

21. Bottom folding (Single lock stitch or flat lock)

22. Slit making (optional). Slit is made at the bottom of the side seam.

23. Once garment stitching complete and checking is over, pieces are sent for washing / dry cleaning (Perk) - spotting is done at this stage

24. Label attach – brand label, size label and care label is attached to the dress.

Finishing of the dress:

At finishing stage, following processes are performed.

25. Repairing of defective works – finishing of neck line, filling missing beads and stitches

26. Thread cutting – all loose thread are trimmed by helpers.

Inspection of dress:

27. Checking and inspection of the dress is done at multiple stages as following.

28. Initial checking

29. Measurement checking

30. Final dummy checking

31. Final visual checking

32. Needle detector – All dresses are passed through needle detector machines (metal detector) to ensure no broken needles or metal parts are there inside the dress.

33. Folding and packing – Finished and checked dresses are packed into poly bags.

Remember there might be process variation case to case. But these are common processes followed in high fashion dress making.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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