Apparel finishing is one of the most important processes in garment production. It consists of a series of garment finishing treatments which may be mechanical or chemical in nature and helps to produce retail-ready products. It involves the following processes.
Garment cutting, sewing and finishing are three main processes in garment manufacturing. The major function of finishing department is to finish the garments before packing them into cartons. Garment finishing involves many other activities which include thread trimming, repairing stitching faults, folding and ironing of the sewn garments. It also includes the quality inspection and labelling. The other important function of the garment finishing department is to close the Purchase order (PO) of the buyer by packing all orders according to the planning schedule.
In the initial phase, the garment design is broken down into pattern parts for cutting and sewing. These patterns are made up on cardboards or, in more modern plants, paper-cutting markers are created from a digital computer file. Garment cutters cut out the fabric to these patterns using either manual cutting equipment or a cutting machine programmed to read the computer-generated pattern file and perform the cuts automatically.
The finished product is inspected by the garment finishing team to make sure that all the stitching, sewing faults and measurements are correct before it is packed for shipment. It is also responsible to add buttons and other accessories to the garments. In addition, the department has to trim the extra hanging threads. Some fabrics can get stained during the process of manufacturing, and the garment finishing team is responsible to remove the stains before packaging.
In this stage of the manufacturing, various types of finishes are applied to the fabric to improve its appearance, handle and performance. These finishing treatments are called functional finishing and may be mechanical or chemical in nature. The mechanical functional finishing processes are calendering, which makes the surface of the fabric smooth and shiny, by feeding it between two hot, fast-moving stainless steel cylinders; mercerising, which strengthens a woven cotton cloth and increases its dye affinity; and raising, or peach finish, which gives a softer, smoother feel to a cloth. The chemicals used in functional finishing are generally phenolic compounds, such as formaldehyde.
The garments are then pressed to reduce the number of folds in them and give a flat appearance to the final garment. This is the most important step in the garment finishing process. The garments are then folded, tagged and sized. They are then placed into poly bags or carton boxes to be shipped to client distribution centers or retail stores.
Workers in the finishing department are exposed to a lot of chemicals and have a high chance of getting sick. Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in fabric finishing and can cause health problems, including respiratory illnesses and allergic reactions. Other chemicals, such as sulfur dioxide and chromium, are released into the air during finishing and can irritate the skin. apparel finishing