Men's Inner Vest Manufacturing Process

Men's inner vest is one of the staple apparel products. The conventional vests are made of white coloured (bleached cotton) single jersey knitted fabric without a side seam. A very fine and lightweight knitted fabric is used for making the inner vest.
 
Traditional vest designs include a round neck, half-sleeve and sleeveless vest. Piping with self-fabric on neck and armhole. As the fashion trend demands a continuous change in vest designs, vest manufacturing brands make vests in many other colours and making the vest more attractive product. Rib fabrics are also used in making a vest.

In India, the vest is known as Baniyan (in Hindi), and Sando. In some part of India vest is called Ganji (in West Bengal).

In this post, I will be explaining the vest manufacturing process briefly.

If you are already working in garment manufacturing, you will easily understand there is a little difference between making a t-shirt and making a vest. The production process flow of making the vest from product design to material sourcing to sewing to finishing the vest is the same as most of the apparel product manufacturing.

Process flow of inner vest (Sando) manufacturing 

A brief process flow of vest manufacturing is discussed by processes. 

1. Design development – Not much design variety is there in a vest. Still, design development is required in terms of fabric design development,

2. Sampling – for the new design sampling is required. Sampling in term for fabric and vest sampling. As vest is a staple item, there is not much sample development needed after the factory is established.

3. Knitting of fabric – In the vest manufacturing knitting is the main process. Knitted fabric is the primary material for the vest and quality of the fabric is very essential. The stitching process has very few operations. Vest manufacturers prefer to set-up their own knitting unit.

There are many benefits to installing your own knitting machines. Including cost control of the fabric and vest, transportation of materials and maintaining fabric quality. Fabric is knitted in tubular knitting machines and tube width is maintained as per the finished tube width of different vest sizes.

For knitting your own fabrics, you need to source cotton yarns from spinning mills. You can also purchase cotton yarns from yarn traders. Cotton yarn is majorly used for in cotton vests.

4. Fabric sourcing - If you are knitting your own fabrics, you do not need to purchase fabric from outside. In case you do not have a knitting plant (knitting machine) and in case your fabric requirement is higher than your knitting machine capacity then you need to purchase the knitted fabrics.

5. Fabric quality checking - You need to check the fabric before starting cutting the tubes for vests. This process will help you in reducing generating defective vest due to fabric faults.  Check the list of defects found in knitted fabrics.  It is always wise to remove defective fabrics (that have holes, hard stain, foreign fibre) before cutting the fabric.

6. Cutting of Fabric - In vest manufacturing, there is little stitching work. Cutting of the vest hose (tube) can be done by using an automatic machine.

Making the inner vest Three types of vests are found based on their construction.
  • no side seams
  • side seam in one side
  • side seam in both sides
Depending on the design you need to cut the pattern. Knitted fabric tubes (hose) are used in making inner vests for the designs in which no side seam there.

Image-1: Inner vest without Sideseam

The image shows a vest (Baniyan) without a side seam. For this product, Tubular fabric is used. Fabric is knitted as per the fabric width required in the finished vest.

You need to cut the fabric tube as per the pattern.

Also cut fabric stripes for binding at neck and armhole. Instead of cutting the binding stripe flat, first, make a roll of fabric and then cut the roll using a piping cutting machine. 


Image-2: Inner vest made of Rib fabric 


Preparation processes for vest stitching

Binding tape cutting – Cut the binding tape using a piping cutter.

Cutting vest panel from fabric roll – Spread the fabric tube on the cutting table. Using patterns (markers) panels are cut. Using a straight knife cutting machine, multiple layers are cut. After cutting the panels, the stitching process is followed.

7. Stitching Process

The following sewing operations are involved in making a vest. The set of machines used in each operation are discussed here.

7.1. Armhole binding: The armholes are given clean finishing using a binding tape. Normally, a self-fabric tape is used for binding tape. The vest armhole binding is done using a flatlock sewing machine. Use binder (attachment) for attaching binding at armhole and necks.

7.2. Front neck binding – Similar to armholes binding, front neck binding is done using a flatlock sewing machine.

7.3. Back neck binding – Back neck binding is done using a flatlock sewing machine.

7.4. Shoulder join – left and right shoulder joining is done using an overlock sewing machine.

Note: Shoulder joining operation and neck binding operation can be done in another sequence of operations. First, join the left shoulder with the overlock machine, then do the binding operation for the whole neck. Then join the second shoulder.

7.5. Bottom hem – In a traditional vest design, a blind hemming machine is used. An alternative way of doing bottom hem, use double-needle flatlock machine which will give the look like t-shirts bottom hem.

Optional stitching processes

7.6. Side seam – As mentioned above, the new design of vests come with side seam. If you use open width knitted fabric and cut front and back vest panels separately, you need to sew the side seam using an overlock machine. By closing the side seams, you give the vest a tubular shape.

7.7. Flatlock stitch on the shoulder – this is also an optional stitching operation. On the shoulder seam, flatlock stitch is done with the top and bottom looper.

All the flatlock operations can be performed by one sewing operator. One operator is required for shoulder joining and another operator is needed for bottom hemming (blind hem). In bottom hemming, if you use flatlock machine instead of blind hemming machine, same flatlock machine can be used.


Related: Production process for T-shirt making (step by step guide)


8. Post-production processes

8.1. Quality checking - Just making the vest is not enough, you need to make quality vests. To ensure the stitching quality of each vest meets the requirement, quality checking done. After the stitching process, primarily stitching defects are checked through visual inspection and length of the vest is measured. Fabric defects are also marked if anything related to fabric faults found and sends for repair work.

8.2. Thread trimming - Cut thread tails and clean the vest. Use can use a thread sucking machine to remove the loose threads from the items.

8.3. Printing on Vest - You might have seen, in a vest, there are two points. One in the left front chest (normally brand logo and punch line of the brand) and in the inside back yoke. Printing can be done by yourself using a heat transfer printer.

Label printing at back yoke below the back neckline - Labelling of vest size and brand name is an important process. Some brands also print care instruction on the back inside label.

8.4. Ironing/steaming - Ironing is done prior to folding and packing individual vests.

8.5. Final Checking - quality checking of each item is done for ensuring vest stitching quality, appearance quality and measurement.

8.6. Folding and packing - Folding of the vest are done manually or by using a folding machine. Folded vests are packed in a polybag.

9. Machine requirement for inner vest manufacturing

Looking at the product and traditional construction and product design, the following machines are required.
  • Cutting table and cutting machine (Straight knife cutting machine)
  • 3 thread overlock machine
  • Double-needle flat-lock sewing machine
  • Blind hem sewing machine
  • Printing machine (heat transfer)
  • Pressing equipment – Vacuum table and steam iron
  • Knitting machine (optional)

10. Raw Material, Trims and packaging material

Normally, the following items are needed for making a finished inner vest. 
  • Knitted tube (knit fabric)
  • Sewing threads
  • Heat transfer papers (Label sticker)
  • Quality checking stickers
  • Cardboard
  • Polybags
  • Cardboard box (packing assorted vests)

Conclusion

This is a brief note of making inner vests. To set-up an inner vest manufacturing unit,  you need to learn about knitting machines, fabrics, yarns, stitching processes, stitching machines, vest designs and packaging items. Costing of the vest. Sourcing of the items from different suppliers. Need to learn the quality standards of items used in the vest making.

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