How to source materials for clothing and garments

If you want to start a clothing line, it involves many moving and interdependent parts. Starting with a good foundation and high-quality items can make you different from other fashion products. There are many types of fabric properties, woven, dyed yarn, printed, as well as many weaving, knitting, and printing techniques.

The first step for fashion designers in the design process is choosing fabric. The next step is to design the clothes around the fabric (or the other way around, different designers have different approaches). It is usually difficult for designers to choose the right material for the product. Here we will look at the various types of fabrics and suppliers as well as the appropriate questions you can ask if you are looking for a fabric for your clothing line.

Basics of Fabrics

Understanding how it is made and what type of fabric is suitable for the product you are designing is the most important part of the design process.

While there are many different styles of fabric weaving – the two most common types of fabric weaving are knits and wovens. Check and learn about the difference here!

Knitted Fabric

Knitted fabrics do not require much care to maintain their appearance and usually comfortable and light in weight. Knits are prone to wrinkles, and this quality makes them best among the other fabrics. Knitted fabric is used in the design of soft, comfortable tops, bottoms, and underwear. Their expandable nature also works well with functional clothing.

Today, you can find knits in a variety of fabrics such as linen, silk, wool, Tencel, polyester, cotton, and cotton blends.

Woven Fabric

Woven fabrics are made up of two or more sets of threads connected at right angles to each other and built into a machine called a handloom or power loom. Common characteristics of woven fabrics are opacity, abrasion resistance, and resistance to pads. If the string value is good or higher, then it will give a higher or good output. The process of knitting is used in different items includes denim and formal trousers, button-down shirts, and jackets.

Different types of fabric suppliers

Finding reliable textile vendors is a critical step in starting a clothing line. One should find partners who can guarantee the stock you need and timely confinement. You can also ask your clothing manufacturer to order the fabric for you right before you start. This is usually easier when you are doing low quantities or not special fabric is needed. Shipping cost can offset the material savings cost quickly.

There are three different types of suppliers defined depending on how they work and what type of fabric they store.

Fabric Mills: provide made-to-offer fabrics and generally have minimum order requirements (MOQ’s).

Converter: is a company that makes purchases of unfinished or anointed goods from a textile mill. Then they proceeded to finish the cloth by dyeing, printing, or washing the clothes before selling them.

Jobbers: usually carry a limited amount of fabric leftover from converters and mills. They can sell it at reduced prices and often resume fabric, color, or printing once they have sold it. You must be careful with such type of fabric supplier as you may not be able to get a chance to order the same fabric twice.

Where you can source fabric for clothes

If you source fabric in trade shows, then it allows you to touch and experience the fabric. However, you can also get access to textile suppliers through online platforms and order textile hangers. Depending on the type of fabric, they can charge you a fee, usually around $ 5 to $ 10 per piece of fabric plus the material cost per meter.

Source fabric at trade shows

Fabric trade shows can be immense. The rows and lines of the booth providers, sometimes large, have a lot to look forward to in a few hours. You can research the mills before the trade show and make a list of your top ten. Leave them for a few more minutes, as long as you can find fabric suppliers you did not find while searching online.

Two main fabric trade shows

  1. DG Expo is preferable for small-volume fabric orders, and many suppliers of fabrics that perform are located in the US or have showrooms in the US.
  2. Texworld is a more important trade show with more exhibitors. Many fabric suppliers on display at Texworld have been found overseas in China, India, and elsewhere.

Online platform for fabric sourcing

If you can’t make it to a trade show of clothes, then searching for trade show websites for clothing suppliers that meet your criteria is the next best option. These days, many clothing suppliers, if not all, have a clothing list on their website. You can refuse at your leisure and then request a clothes header (sometimes hangers) that you can view in the comfort of your office.

Avoid these things when sourcing fabrics.

Sourcing suitable clothes can be a daunting task. No matter how it is always best to go through the whole process with an open mind. The main disadvantage for an emerging designer is the search for that ‘perfect’ fabric. In reality, you can never find something that you imagined is 100 percent. So be prepared to compromise! Finding a fabric that balances between price, consistency, and availability is the best way to determine suitability for your clothes.

Asking the right questions is another good and efficient way to avoid huge mistakes. To get carried away with the overall concept of how you want the clothes to look is easy. However, missing required details can make production more complicated.

Some critical questions to ask when sourcing fabric

Stock availability

Not all fabrics are to be had all the time. Some alternatives are famous for decades; others come and go together with trends. Checking the kind of fabric and its availability is vital for continuity for your apparel line. There’s not anything worse than having an exceptional dealer to examine the factory now not gives the fabric for it. Customers like consistency, so ensure there are some ensures, specifically whilst generating signature collections.

Lead times

Lead time for your material choice is a critical metric within the production schedule. A few fabrics will need to be made to order by using a material mill, so it may additionally take weeks or months to arrive. Factoring this in is essential for timings. Check with your garment factory that you coordinate the delivery.

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