Clothing Manufacturing Glossary 101

In the fashion world, many terms and concepts can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the industry. This glossary is designed to provide a basic understanding of some of the most common terms used in clothing manufacturing. In no time, you’ll be able to chat knowledgeably about everything from zippers to hems!

Agile Manufacturing

Agile manufacturing is the ability of units to quickly respond to new opportunities, swiftly adapt their operations, and produce customized products.

Just-In-Time (JIT) systems and Total Quality Management (TQM) are two of the most important tools in a manufacturer’s toolbox. The agile manufacturing strategy integrates these two tools to create a more efficient workflow.

JIT is a system focused on getting rid of any and all types of waste involved in the process, while TQM takes a more broad approach to quality by emphasizing continuous improvement throughout the company.


An increase in allowances may be due to the company needing more time to produce garments or because workers are not as productive.

In addition, allowances may be due to special circumstances, such as a disaster or other unpredictable circumstances. These can affect workers’ time and productivity.

In addition to the allowances mentioned above, employers may provide their employees other types of allowances. These can include machine allowances, relaxation allowances, processing allowances, emergency allowances, small order allowances and special allowances.

Additionally, these allowances may be given in response to specific situations, such as disasters or other unforeseen circumstances. Such situations can affect workers’ time and efficiency.

AQL – Acceptance Quality Level

Acceptance Quality Limit/Level (AQL) is related to statistical sampling. AQL is also abbreviated as the Acceptable Quality Level.

In the garment industry, manufacturers use AQL to stipulate the requirements of product appearance quality.

For each piece of clothing, manufacturers must carefully check the defects (such as loose threads, fabric flaws, cracks, deformation, and size deviation) generated by the production process.

According to the AQL standards, if no more than 2% of all pieces (or no more than 4% of all pieces) have defects, it can be considered that the product quality is qualified.

0-2% Excellent

2-6% Good

6% Poor


Attachments are mechanical devices attached to sewing machines, which can be detached and do not change the original frame of the machine.

Attachments help operators to effectively carry out work and reduce the complexity of operations. For example, a common attachment is a traction device, making it easier for users to produce when sewing thick and light fabrics.

In addition, some attachments can be used to create specific styles of stitches, such as rolled hem and embroidery. Therefore, attachments are important and can significantly improve productivity and reduce work difficulty.

Bed Type (sewing machine bed type)

The bed of a machine is the surface on which the material rests. Machines come in various shapes to facilitate the movement of materials around the workspace. The different types of beds are distinguished by their shape variation. The most prevalent type is a flatbed, but other options include a cylinder bed, raised bed, monoblock, post bed, feed-up-the-arm and feed-of-the-arm.

flatbed sewing machine
flatbed sewing machine
feed up the arm machine
feed up the arm machine

Bit Loom

A bit loom is basically a swatch of fabric that has been dyed with yarn. In the sample development loom, this type of fabric is not made at its full width (regular). Only the required amount of fabric width and length are created to best represent the overall look for approval from the buyer. Excess fabric is not used to minimize wastefulness.


A bill of materials called a “BOM” shows all the raw materials or components needed to make a garment and prepare it for shipment according to the buyer’s requirements.

For example, if a company wants to produce a specific clothing style, it will create a BOM based on its design drawings.

The BOM will include the names and quantities of fabrics, threads, lining and all other components, categorized according to the different sizing standards used by the company.

Bundle System

The WIP bundle system is a lean manufacturing process in which clothing batches move from one stage to the next, with each station only handling small quantities at a time.

There are two types of bundle systems – traditional and progressive. The former type relies on employees physically transporting the clothes from station to station, while the latter uses conveyor belts or other automated means of movement.

Both bundle systems have advantages and disadvantages, but the key benefits of using a bundle system for WIP include improved efficiency and reduced labor costs.

fabric piles
fabric bundle
cutted fabric labels

CAD (Computer Aided Design)

CAD (Computer Aided Design) or CADD (Computer Aided Drafting and Design) is a technology used for design and technical documentation, which replaces manual drawing with an automated process.

It is essential for jobs relating to patternmaking, layout planning, and garment construction in the fashion industry.

CAD software allows designers to create sketches of their designs and brings them to life on the computer screen. The program then translates these 2D images into 3D models, which can be rotated and viewed from different angles.

This provides a realistic representation of the finished product, helping the designer visualize how the garment will look and fit on the body.

paper patterns


Callouts are included in the technical package and include additional details not mentioned in the specification list. If needed, arrows should be used, and any details required by the pattern maker to create the garment pattern should be clear and easy to read.

The construction markings chart below displays the types of stitches and seams.


CMT is the abbreviation for Cut Make Trim. It is a manufacturing process in which fabric is cut to size, assembled, and sewn into finished garments.

The CMT process is often used by clothing manufacturers when they outsource their manufacturing operations.

CMT involves three main steps: cutting, making, and trimming. In the cutting phase, the fabric is cut to the required size and shape using a cutting machine. The fabric pieces are sewn together in the making phase to form the garment. Finally, in the trimming phase, excess fabric is trimmed away and any finishing touches are made to the garment.

Custom Sample Clothing Manufacturing Process
Custom Sample Clothing Manufacturing Process

Colour Cabinet

A color cabinet is a testing instrument to visually inspect colored materials for color consistency. It is important to check the colors of materials before using them in products or manufacturing processes, as inconsistencies can cause problems downstream.

A color cabinet typically consists of a light source, a specimen holder, and a viewing area. The light source illuminates the specimen, and the viewing area allows the user to see the specimen’s color.

The light source and viewing area are usually enclosed in a dark cabinet to minimize interference from ambient light. Color cabinets are used in many industries, including printing, textiles, plastics, and paint manufacturing.

color check box
color check box


To create a garment from fabric, you first have to cut out the pattern with a marker. This usually occurs in two phases: rough/block cutting and final precise/fine cutting.

Rough or block cutting is the first stage of the cutting process and is usually done with a rotary cutter or scissors. This type of cutting leaves a wider margin for error but is quicker and less precise than fine cutting.

Fine or precision cutting is the second stage of the cutting process and is done with a sharp knife or an electronic die-cutting machine. This type of cutting is more time-consuming and requires more skill than block cutting, resulting in a cleaner, more accurate cut.

cutting workmate

Dyed-to-Match (DTM)

DTM is the abbreviation for Dyed-to-Match. This phrase is most commonly used to designate that trimming is done to match the fabric color rather than any color code on a Pantone card.

While it is ideal to have an exact match, it is not always possible. In these cases, the factory will use their best judgment to create a color closely resembling the original.

If you are trying to match a specific color, it is important to provide as much information as possible. This includes the fabric content, weight, and finish. Sometimes, you may also need to provide a swatch of the fabric so the factory can see the color in person.


By definition, an embellishment is an unwanted addition or a distractor. In the fashion world, though, these unnecessary extras make clothing beautiful and eye-catching.

There are two main types of garment embellishments: sewn on after construction and adorn the material before it’s even made into a dress or shirt.

Examples of common sewn-on details include bows, buttons, appliques, and trim; meanwhileFactory, workers often attach beads to fabric beforehand using special machines called “embroidery Kurtis.”

accessory store
accessory store

End Loss

The unprinted area of a fabric layer is known as the end loss. When cutting layers of fabric on a cutting table, small amounts are inevitably wasted, so there is a built in margin for error – referred to as end loss.

End loss can be minimized by careful planning and use of built-in cutting software features, but it is impossible to eliminate completely. When calculating fabric requirements for a project, it is important to consider end loss to avoid running out of material before the job is finished.


Out of all the materials used for clothing, fabric is by far the most important and expensive. Sixty to seventy percent of a garment’s cost comes from the fabric alone. Fabric is made by weaving or knitting yarns together or pressing them into felts.

There are many different kinds of fabrics, such as cotton, linen, wool, polyester, nylon, and acrylic. When choosing what garments to make, fashion designers must be mindful of both the quality and price of the fabric they use.

Fabric inspection

Fabric inspection is identifying, evaluating and analyzing possible defects in a fabric roll. These defects include color differences, breaks, tears, wrinkles and stains.

Often, fabric manufacturers will inspect a sample of mass-produced fabric to confirm quality prior to shipment. In addition, the purchaser may also conduct an independent inspection to ensure that the purchased product meets quality requirements.

To minimize defects in fabrics, manufacturers often employ various effective production methods and materials. However, even in the best-case scenario, there is still a certain amount of substandard products.

Fabric Inspection: 4-Point System

The 4-point system is a fabric testing system implemented by ASTM D5430-93. It involves taking a sample from the raw material and then stretching, twisting, tensioning, and compressing in various directions.

Each of these four tests helps verify the strength and durability of the fabric. Typically, samples are tested in multiple directions so that the fabric’s performance can be accurately evaluated.

Fabric Relaxation

Fabric relaxation is a basic operation performed on fabric before spreading and cutting in garment manufacturing. The purpose of fabric relaxation is to remove any tensions or stresses in the fabric that may cause problems during the subsequent manufacturing process.

Fabric relaxation can be achieved through a number of methods, including steaming, washing, and stretching. In most cases, fabric relaxation is performed before the fabric is cut, but it can also be done after cutting and before sewing.

fabric heck

Final inspection

Before a garment is packaged, it must go through a final inspection. This is usually done after the item has been ironed in the factory. Factors such as performance requirements, overall appearance, sizing and fit are checked during this time.

To ensure that the quality of the product is up to standard, inspectors must be exceptional at their job with keen eyesight. The inspections should also take place on well-lit tables so no detail goes unnoticed.

quality check
quality check

Flat Sketch

While a flat sketch may look like a simple drawing, it is actually a technical representation of a garment design that communicates the designer’s requirements to the manufacturer.

Because a flat sketch is an essential part of a tech pack, it is important to understand how to create one.

A typical flat sketch includes front, back, and side views of the garment and details about the construction, such as darts, pleats, and pockets.

flat sketches
flat sketches


Floaters/jumpers are sewing operators who, while typically capable of performing all operations, are much less efficient than dedicated operators.

As their name suggests, floaters/jumpers move around from station to station as needed, filling in where operators are absent or behind schedule.

While this flexibility can help keep production flowing, it also means that floaters/jumpers constantly have to learn new tasks and reorient themselves to new workstations.


In regards to garments, fusing is bonding a lining fabric to an outer piece by way of thermoplastic resin. This occurs when ample pressure and temperature are applied over a set period of time.

Some common areas that use fusion methods are shirt collars and cuffs, waistbands, hems, trim, and fronts of coats or jackets. Specialized machines used for this process are fusing machines; however, hand irons or steam presses can achieve the desired results.

With fusing layer inside of the collar or waistbands to make them become stronger and thicker and stands better.

polo shirt collar with fusing layer inside
polo shirt collar with fusing layer inside


GRN stands for Goods Receipt Note. The GRN is a unique number assigned to the receipt of goods, and is used to record the items delivered by the supplier.

The GRN is an important document in the supply chain, as it helps to track the progress of orders and ensure that all goods are accounted for. It also allows businesses to verify that they have received the correct products from their suppliers.


Hemming is the process of finishing the raw edge of a garment. By folding, stitching, or using bias tape, hemming gives the fabric a clean edge and prevents the threads from unraveling.

While it is most commonly associated with sewing, hemming can also be done by hand. In fact, hand-hemmed garments often have a cleaner finish than machine-stitched ones.

Whether you’re hemming a skirt, pants, or sleeves, taking the time to do it right will result in a garment that looks polished and professional.


Wrapping up

We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of the different types of garment construction. As you can see, there is a lot that goes into making a piece of clothing!

From start to finish, it takes a team of skilled workers to bring a garment design to life. Each step in the process is important, and even the smallest details can make a big difference in the final product.

By understanding the different types of garment construction, you’ll be able to better communicate your vision to manufacturers and ensure that your garments are made to the highest standards.

Happy sewing!


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