Lingerie today has ceased to be the traditional basic piece of essential garment. It has become an attractive, innovative, functional innerwear and intimate clothing for women, with styles and categories that go way past than being a simple garment category.
With such a level of complexity and such small sizes of the garment, the cutting process in lingerie manufacturing is complicated. Moreover, calculation of fabric consumption is also complex for lingerie, due to the multiple shapes and sizes involved.
Some of the factors to be considered in the lingerie cutting process are:
• Order quantity – Sets:
Lingerie order quantity, most of the time is in sets. This means the bras and panties are manufactured in sets, rather than a single garment being manufactured independently. So for instance, rather than 32 pieces of bras, the order mostly requires 32 bras and 32 panties as a set. Thus the patterns of both have to be cut together.
In some cases where there is a part set order, for instance, 32 bras and 64 panties, then the first 32 will be cut as sets, and then 32 panties will be cut separately, using the fabric leftover post cutting the sets.
This is because if these extra pieces are inserted into the main markers, managing the right number of pieces becomes complex.
• Pattern Sizes:
When we consider the garment- bra, in particular, sizing progression of the garment is very similar to that of denim.
For instance, in denim, the sizes progress with waist size increasing on the x-axis and the inseam on the y-axis, and this combination creates a matrix representing the different sizes. Similarly, in bras, the x-axis has the band size, and the y-axis has the cup sizes. The matrix thus created has all the sizes.
The concern with sizes here is the pattern surface area is a function of both band and cup size. Thus, it doesn’t ensure that a bra with band size larger, like 34B, necessarily has bigger pattern surface area than 32D size. Rather, it is smaller.
Also, with pattern sizes being very small, any variation in the sizes and shapes or specifically pattern surface area cannot be visually determined. Thus ensuring proper attention to pattern sizes at the cutting stage becomes crucial to maintain proper size assortment needed.
(The image have been sourced from: https://skeptoid.com/blog/.)
• Material Consumption:
In industry, a garment’s fabric consumption is generally calculated in yards or meters. But since in lingerie the consumption varies in centimetres, yards and meter are not the right units of measurement. Rather, to simplify consumption calculations, dozens are used. This means the consumption per dozen of the garment. Though this indicator is not necessarily correct or precise, but it is the industry norm.
Also, since the size is so small for all the patterns, we get a large number of splice points in the marker. But, physically marking that many splice points on the lay is neither easy nor advisory. Thus, a limited number of splice points are selected ensuring minimum overlap and spread throughout the lay, to be marked on the table. Generally, lingerie lays are long with more than one rolls being used in a single lay. Hence, splice points should be marked on the table to make it easier and faster.
Mostly, face to face laying is used in lingerie cutting, so both the left and the right parts of a garment are cut together, as they are mirror images of each other. Since many small parts with no specific visual distinction exist, the chances of size mixing during bundling process is high. Thus, instead of a garment, the whole stack is taken and the left and right being in single stack help in bundling.
Many materials are involved in manufacturing lingerie, and thus different kinds of machinery are needed to cut different materials. This situation escalates especially when moulded cups have to be cut where a round shape has to be obtained from a flat fabric. To put into the moulding, a specific material is used which is imparted the desired shape by the moulding machine. This material is cut into rectangular shapes for the moulding machine, and based on the machine requirements the size of the rectangle is kept consistent for a large array of sizes.
For instance, a rectangle size might be used for 6 sizes, another larger size of the rectangle might be cut for 7 bigger sizes, and a single rectangle size might then be chosen for the remaining smaller sizes. This moulding material is hard and thus requires die cutting or laser cutting equipment. This does lead to wastage of material, as we might be cutting 3 rectangle sizes to accommodate as much as 20 sizes. But the minimum rectangle size is a moulding machine requirement and thus cannot be avoided.
Thus in lingerie cutting, unlike other garments, numerous materials imbibe the need of multiple machinery usages for cutting of patterns. This increases the proper management of the parts as per the required order size and assortment and needs to be carried on with a lot of attention.
• Order handling – Parts Mixing:
Lingerie can be categorised as the garment having multiple small parts, using varied fabrics and materials, and above all having many sub-categories. But the consumption in each category differs, and thus the way each sub-category cutting is managed on the floor is different from the other.
In lingerie cutting, rather than saving end bits for part changes, splicing is preferred, as for pattern size as small as this, laying down small end bits and cutting small parts from them is a very tedious task. Also, with so many small patterns in the marker, many splice points can be created, which further can help in minimising end bits generation.
Thus, when mapping the cutting process for lingerie, and calculating the fabric/ material consumption, we need to consider and pay special attention to the above-mentioned parameters to ensure a consistent output with the order demands.