Machinery Needed for Garment Manufacturing Business Setup

Machinery needed for the garment factory setup

At some point, we all think of starting our own business rather than continuing our day job till retirement. If you are one of such thinkers, this post is for you. Let me share that there are many fields for starting a business from scratch you can choose.

Starting a business in the garment industry can be considered as one such good option. You can start your business in the garment manufacturing sector or start your own clothing label (brands) and open a retail store. It is not necessary that the guy who has experience in the apparel industry can only start a business in readymade garment manufacturing and others can’t. 

Anyone can enter into the garment manufacturing business. I have seen many newcomers are from different fields like IT professionals, bankers, and HR professionals who have started their business in this industry.

If you are a newcomer and wish to know more about the process from fabric manufacturing to the finished garment read this article and download this (ebook) pdf document.

When you think of starting a business in readymade garment manufacturing, the first thing you should do gather is knowledge on machinery and basic equipment you need for making the readymade garments. There is a wide range of machinery for different processes in apparel manufacturing from design development to fabric checking to garment packing. What types of machines and technology one need to install for the manufacturing business, depend on the product variety and investment capability.

In this post, I will provide you information on all types of machinery and equipment required for setting up garment manufacturing business. If you look at garment manufacturing processes, it involves processes like – sample development, pattern making, fabric inspection, fabric spreading, fabric cutting, garment stitching, garment checking, garment pressing, repair work, garment folding, and packing. In all these processes a different set of machines are used. Majority of machines are stitching machines.

Product designing and pattern making

Garment pattern made prior to garment sample development. The pattern for a style can be made manually.

For the pattern making of the sample products, you may be interested in software. For this, you can purchase CAD (computer-aided design). There are other components of the CAD systems – pattern grading, Marker planning, Nesting, Pattern digitization. For printing the marker paper, you need a plotter machine. With the help of CAD software, you can estimate fabric requirements accurately and improve the garment fit.

Fabric testing and fabric inspection

In garment manufacturing, fabric plays an important role in garment quality and product valuation as well as customer demand. Secondly, 60-70 percentage cost incurred in fabrics in total garment costing. That is why purchasing the right quality fabric for your products is necessary. For verifying the fabric quality parameter, garment manufacturers prefer to set-up in-house fabric testing. You may also like to purchase some basic fabric testing equipment – like
  • Fabric GSM testing machine, 
  • weighing scale, 
  • Meter scale, 
  • Fabric inspection (visual inspection machine). 
  • Color cabinet
  • Fibre content
  • Sample washing machine and Tumble drier 
  • Fabric handing equipment in the fabric store 
Read the complete list of fabric testing machine and equipment.

Fabric spreading machines

For small-scale garment manufacturing, manual spreading is viable. But if you want to scale up your business and improve cutting room productivity and reduce cutting room manpower, automatic spreading machines must be considered. See this post to learn more about automatic fabric spreading process and auto spreading machines.

Cutting table

You need cutting tables for fabric layering. You need a wide and long table depending on the marker length and maximum fabric width to be used. A number of fabric layers are spread over on the flat table and whole plies are cut together as per marker. For check and stripe design fabric layering where you need to match fabric stripe and checks in the garment, a pin table is commonly used.

Cutting room machines and equipment

For the garment making fabric sheets need to cut as per patterns. Various types of cutting machines are available for fabric cutting. for cutting the fabric you can use a straight knife cutting machine. For cutting few numbers of plies you can use round knife cutting machine instead of the straight knife cutting machine. For cutting small garment parts a band knife cutting machine is very helpful.

Other fabric cutting machine, for the cutting room you may need
  • A fusing machine, 
  • Ply number machine,
  • Piping cutting machine (automatic rib cutting machine)
  • Racks for storing cutting 
  • Trolley for moving cutting from bundle section to sewing lines
  • Heat transfer printer – if your designs have printed labels and logo, you can install the heat transfer printer and do the printing job in-house. 
With the technology advancement, cutting automation is preferred by medium and large-scale garment manufacturers. Cutting room efficiency is improved by many folds after using automatic textile fabric cutting machine.

Sewing machines

Sewing machines are the heart of the garment manufacturing factories. Different types of sewing machines are available for making the garment products. You need to select the right mix of sewing machines for your products or product groups. For the selection of sewing machines and the number of sewing machines need to be purchased for setting up your factory, you can take advice from an expert. Just for your quick reference, a list of sewing machines is shown below.

  • Single Needle Lock Stitch (three different types of SNLS machines are used depending on the operation. Normal lockstitch machine, with under bed trimmer and equipped with edge cutter)
  • Feed off the Arm
  • Single needle chain stitch machine
  • Multi-needle chain stitch machine (e.g. Kansai Special)
  • Overlock sewing machines
  • Flatlock machines – Flatbed and cylinder bed types
  • Double-needle lockstitch machine
  • Button holing machine
  • Button Sewing machine
  • Zig-zag sewing machine
  • Snap button attaching machine
For the garment sewing, there are many automatic and semi-automatic machines are available. Some of the automatic sewing machines are sewing operation and product specific. Like trouser back pocket welting machine, Jeans back pocket setter and pocket attachment in back panels. Logo embroidery machine.

Also read: Shirt making machines and equipment for small, medium and large scale production

Sewing room equipment (non-sewing machine)
Sewing room equipment includes – material handling systems, sewing machine attachment and guides, WIP storing crate or bins, and material transportation equipment. See the detailed list of non-sewing machines and equipment.

Finishing machines and equipment

Finishing room activities involve garment checking, repair defective garment, stain removing, mending, thread cutting, thread removing, garment pressing and folding the garment. For these processes, various types of finishing equipment are required. Like, garment pressing equipment - Vacuum table and Steam iron for pressing garments,
  • Garment checking tables, 
  • Spotting gun etc. 
  • Thread trimmers
  • For the garment finishing, various type finishing equipment is there. Like bulk pressing, Tunnel finishing etc.

Garment packing

Garment folding is normally done manually. But garment folding template is available in the market. In the garment packing stage, hangtags must be attached to the garment. For tagging, you need tag gun machine.

If you are making kid's garments, one of the compliance parameters, all garments must be passed under needle detector machines. You may need to buy a needle detector machine.

Office Equipment

Let me also list the equipment required for the office.
  • Computer and laptops
  • Printers
  • Photo copier machine
  • If you set up a showroom for displaying your designs, you need racks and hangers and dress forms. The dress form is all needed in the sampling room and finishing section for checking the fitting of the garments.
  • CCTV


It is not necessary that you need to purchase all the above machines to make quality products. The selection of machines depends on the construction of the product and its styling. There are few operations in shirts that can be stitched in different ways. I mean, the same operation can be stitched by using different machine types.

To learn more about garment manufacturing processes, the technology you can refer to my book “Garment Manufacturing: Processes, Practices and Technology

Understanding the machine required for the new business set-up is the initial step in business planning. Based on your product group, machinery needs to be selected. Once you understand the machine requirement, you need to contact with machine suppliers for different types of machine and equipment. Sewing machines (regular machines and special machines) should be installed and tested by experience machine mechanic. If required, training must be provided to the machine operators.

Have a great journey in your business setup. You may also like to read the business plan preparation guide.

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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