How to Do Sequencing of Stitching Operations in a Garment

A complete garment is stitched by following the sequence of a number of operations. You can’t make the correct garment just by stitching garment components together randomly. Sewing operators need to follow the garment construction sequence to produce the desired product with correct measurement, fit and shape. Industrial engineers prepare the garment operation bulletins and list down the operations in the best possible sequence that to be followed in a production line.

Sequencing of stitching operation

I am writing this post to answer the following question. This post is more a one to one reply. Considering you are a beginner in garment production, you will also find helpful and valuable content in this post

The question and request -

I am working in a garment factory that makes ladies fashion, semi-formal basic shirts. I am new to garment industry and am working as an industrial engineer. I am facing difficulty in making operation bulletin and preparing the operation sequence. Can you please provide me an operation bulletin for ladies basic shirts, semi-formal shirts, and tunic?
This is not happening with you only. Many young graduates join the garment industry without having prior training on preparing operation bulletin and face such challenges at work in the initial days. But you don’t need to worry about this. You can learn how to do things that you need to perform at your workplace and you can master yourself on your job day by day. You just need a learning attitude. 

I have already posted and shared operation bulletins (OB) of many apparel products. You can refer those sample operation bulletins for learning various kind of operations involved in different apparel products and possible sequence of operations within the style.

As you said, you are new to industrial engineering job and also you don’t have prior education on apparel production and garment manufacturing technology, you are at the learning stage. If I give you a couple of operation bulletins of the requested products, you will put less effort on your work in learning, you might copy it and use it in your factory by modifying some operations. That is not bad but I want you to learn things by doing. If you can make OB of t-shirt and shirt, you can also make the OB for the ladies basic shirt/tunic/semi-casual shirt.

How to that?

You have emphasized on the sequencing of the operations in operation bulletin. I will focus on that part of this article.

You need to study the garment construction. If you have access to the sampling room in your factory, take help from the sampling team to learn the product construction for the upcoming styles. If the style is already running on the production floor, spend time on the floor and follow the sequence of operations performed by the operators to construct the complete garment.

Operation sequencing is part of making an operation bulletin. Preparation of an operation bulletin involved two activities-
  1. Preparation of the operation breakdown - I mean making the list of all operations involved in making the product.
  2. Estimating SMV of garment operations. 

Operation sequencing method

Follow the below steps to make the OB yourself.
  • Pick one sample garment
  • Identify garment components. Like in a formal shirt garment components are - Collar, Cuff, front, back, and chest pocket. 
  • Prepare a list of operations in the sample garment component-wise. In case you unable to identify components, just list down operations. 
  • Group operations by garment components - if you find difficulty understanding any seam /operations, discuss with the line supervisor or sampling master. They can guide you in understanding the garment construction. 
  • Then think of the logical sequence of making or stitching the garment. Visualize how operators will make the sample garment. If there is more than one operation in a seam – what operation should come prior to another? If you need, open the garment seam and look inside how the garment components are joined together and possible sequence of operations inside the seam.
  • Now place all operations in a sequence as per your understanding (don't worry if something goes wrong). You can later change the operation sequence by observing the process sequence on the shop floor. 
You are done. See the following example of operation sequencing.

operation sequence
Operation Sequence of Shirt Making

For the other parts of the OB making, you need to learn some calculation methods other than estimating operation SAM. Those are - estimated manpower calculated, estimated machine requirement, hourly target, actual manpower to be allocated depending on the production requirement and line balancing etc. I have elaborated these calculations in my article How to make operation Bulletin.

Why correct sequencing?

An operation bulletin with correct operation sequence helps on the following
- Understanding garment construction
- Production line setup with correct operation flow
- Easy to display line balancing
- Managing bottleneck in the production line

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