If you are looking for a factory to produce your performance sportswear, it’s critical you produce in a dedicated sportswear factory that specialises in your type of product. Not only will they be used to cutting patterns and working with fabrics like the ones your products will be made from, but they will also understand how to produce these.
Over the years we have worked with several clients that had their own sourced factories and wanted us to help improve the quality of their products as the returns were far too high.
When tasked with this, we always visit the factory to fully understand their capabilities and expertise and see for ourselves the skill base, machinery but also the typical type of production they produce. Some of the factories were just horrendous with a general poor-quality mentality that affected everything along the production line. The factories were poorly run and messy and the machines were old and, in some cases, rusty with bodged repairs rather than a regular service.
Other factories were run much more efficiently and were clean and had new machinery, capable of producing performance sportswear, the issue clearly wasn’t the infrastructure but instead the skill base and general knowledge of how to construct garments using specialist sportswear materials.
Calibration of machines, threads and stitch methods used were all wrong which resulted in garments that simply fell apart after a couple of wears or washes. Many of the garments they produced snapped their seams as the treads didn’t stretch with the material which cause the seams to burst when you put them on for the first time.
We have also visited other factories that produce low-cost sportswear that has invested in bonding and seam-free technology to help compete and produce sportswear that a premium sportswear factory would produce. The issue they have is the machinery was great, but they didn’t train the staff or calibrate the machines during the day. This resulted in a low tack bond that simply peeled apart under pressure or its first wash. This is a common issue with low or even mid-priced products that try to compete with high-end performance sportswear brands that try to copy a technical manufacturing process without paying the price required to execute this correctly.
This same issue is also prevalent in seam sealing factories that produce waterproof garments. The seam sealers need to be calibrated at the start of every new product and should be checked throughout the day to make sure the correct settings are consistent, and the seam tape is actually bonding correctly to the waterproof membrane or coating. This is usually done by testing garment seams every couple of hours by the use of a hydrostatic head tester that tries to force water through the seams under pressure. We have visited “Waterproof” factories that don’t have a hydrostatic head tester, or it’s broken. How on earth are they going to know if the sealing tape will actually adhere longer than a couple of weeks.
The moral of this blog is -: “There are no shortcuts”. If you want to produce quality sportswear using performance fabrics, you need to produce them in a factory that specialises in this type of garment but also understands the requirements to produce after everything has been calibrated or tested thoroughly to make sure there are no issues after the consumer has worn and washed the garments. Obviously, you pay for this quality as testing takes time but surely it’s better to pay the right price for products that save a little but pay a lot when you lose a customer, your reputation and have to provide a refund and cant then recoup your loss.
At Blue Associates Sportswear, we only work with factories we have worked with for many years and specialise in producing quality sportswear. We don’t source cheap. We source value for money.
Get in touch to discuss your sportswear sourcing needs.