Smart clothing and tailoring are synonymous in London’s fashion history. During the 19th century, the capital’s West End was awash with shirtmakers and bespoke tailors . They dressed some of the city’s most elite figures, and British cloth was highly sought-after around the world.
Moving onto the 20th century saw factory-made garments rise in popularity. The introduction of sewing machines and highly-skilled workforces enabled the average individual to purchase tailored-style clothing at an affordable price.
In recent years, the love of good tailoring has not waned. Plus, the introduction of innovative manufacturing techniques has seen smart and formal clothing incorporated into mainstream fashion lines.
Whether you are looking to design men’s or womenswear - choosing the perfect shirt manufacturer for your new line is crucial when getting the right look and style for your clothing brand.
Take a look at our guide on the things to consider when crafting the perfect shirt.
The fabric of your shirt is a crucial design element. The material of your designs can affect how people perceive the quality of your brand. In some cases, even the most beautifully constructed shirt can be let down by poor quality fabric. Choosing suitable high quality fabrics is particularly important for luxury labels. As you aspire to build an identity for producing top quality garments for the premium market.
The best fabrics to use in shirt manufacturing are natural fibres. Cotton is most commonly used. However, there are alternatives such as linen, wool and Tencel to consider. These fibres create some of the best yarns for shirt making. But there is a host of other benefits of natural materials including:
- Soft against skin
- Sweat resistant
- Comfortable for all-day wear
Synthetic materials often provide a cheap construction method for shirts. However, the wearability is affected in the long term.
Fabric terminology in shirt making
Once the raw fibres have been spun into a yarn, this creates a single-ply fabric. This can be used when producing your new collection, however, to improve the quality, 2-ply materials are often used.
2-ply fabric is created by spinning two yarns into a single yarn. This prevents the material from piling and boosts its quality. This is also known in fabric creation as the ‘warp’ and the ‘weft’.
The super number of a yarn refers to the diameter of the yarn. It can sometimes be mistaken for the weight of the fabric. However, simply put, it indicates how fine the material is. As the yarn gets finer, the super number increases. For example, a diameter of 18.5 microns is graded Super 100s, and 13.5 microns is Super 150s and so on.
If you opt for finer yarns in clothing production, the material is more delicate to work with. This type of fabric will require a specialist manufacturing company to create your desired shirt designs, which may increase the cost of production. On the plus side, finer yarns are softer against the skin and drape well over the body.
'No iron' or 'iron-free' shirts have risen in popularity due to people leading busier lifestyles. But, it is worth noting that if you choose to create this type of shirt is will never be entirely ‘iron free’. It will provide an easier to iron option, but this feature significantly affects the quality of the material.
To produce iron-free shirts, they have to be chemically processed. The process strips the quality of the fabric and often creates a sheen to the material. Due to the harsh chemicals used, it also affects the durability of the construction.
Several elements go into making the perfect shirt. To start the manufacturing process, a tech pack will need to be created to share your specifications with the factory. If you need some guidance on creating a tech pack, check out our guide - How To Make a Tech Pack.
In your tech pack, it should identify the following aspects of the construction of the shirt:
You can always identify the quality of a shirt by the stitched elements. In this process, the stitch density and the consistency should be considered. The stitch also determines how durable the shirt will be.
Most classic styles have a standard 8mm stitches. However, for formal garments, stitching may be 1mm or 2mm to create a high-end look. For durability, it is also advisable to include a high density of stitching if the fabric is tightly woven to create a sleek design.
The collar is the most notable aspects of your shirt design. Getting the right size and shape is essential for your customer. However, its construction is also crucial for creating the correct appearance. Collars are generally formed with two layers of material which has interlining between them. These layers are then joined together in one of two ways - fused or non-fused.
Fusing the material layers for collars is a popular and more affordable option for clothing producers. This process involves glueing the layers together which provides a stiff and crisp finish. This option is preferable if you opt for a high-quality finish for formal attire. However, if it is not produced well, it can make your shirts look low quality due to the finish.
This fusing method is created by stitching the layers together. This process can be more expensive to produce, but it does provide a good quality finish. There is an option on interlining fabric weights to get the desired look to determine the stiffness of the collar.
The yoke is commonly one piece of fabric that creates the back section of the shirt between the neck and shoulders. The stitching and pattern match should be considered for this section, as it can affect the look and quality perception of the shirt. In high-end and luxury clothing lines, split yokes are often used instead of one piece of fabric.
The sleeves of your shirt are also an important feature and ensuring the shirt hangs perfectly is key to producing a quality design. How they are stitched to the overall shirt is also a factor to consider. There are two ways to attach the sleeves depending on your budget.
Sewn into the overall construction
This method sees the sleeves sewn in when the whole shirt is being constructed. This technique is more affordable for fashion brands; however, it can affect the quality and potentially the fit of the garment.
Sewn-on after the construction
To create a top quality shirt, sleeves that are sewn onto the garment after the rest has been constructed is ideal. This is an expensive process and may require a specialised manufacturer to accommodate this type of production.
When designing the sleeves, there are several other elements to think about including:
- Sleeve width and length
- Buttonhole(s) on cuffs
If you are constructing shirts that have patterned fabric, matching the design is crucial. How patterns match on seams can highlight the attention to detail and craftsmanship of your brand.
There are several elements to think about when matching patterns and these should be highlighted in your tech pack. Take a look below:
- Split yoke
- Shoulder to sleeve fabric
These may be tiny; however, lower quality construction can leave loose threads and different size holes on your shirt design. Ideally, buttonholes should be cut first and then sewn to create a durable and neat looking hole. In cheaper production, the method of sewing first and cutting after is often used, but this can lead to poorer quality holes that look noticeably machine cut.
The next steps...
After you’ve considered these aspects and created a tech pack for your designs. It’s time to find a pattern maker and clothing manufacturing service to craft your designs.
Further information: How To Work With Clothing Manufacturers
If you’re looking to start production and find suitable shirt manufacturers for your business. Join Sewport today to source a suitable production partner.