The Top 20 Sportswear Design and Production Terms Explained

There is a certain lingo used in the sportswear and fashion trade that once understood, makes perfect sense but until you know what each of these terms means, can sound like another language altogether.

Here’s a list of the top 20 terms commonly used across the world when designing or manufacturing sportswear;

1. Bulk – The final “Bulk” production order.

2. CMT (Cut, Make &Trim) – Cutting the fabric, sewing it together and adding any specified trims that could include zips, badges, labels or buttons.

3. Embellishments – Prints, embroideries, appliques, branding and logos.

4. FOB (Free On Board) – The cost of the finished product delivered to the port nearest to the factory. This cost excludes shipping, taxes, duty and insurance.

5. Flat-lock Stitching – A type of stitching that is flat on both sides of the seam using up to 5 multiple treads. It is incredibly strong, stretches and because it is flat it doesn’t irritate the skin and is usually used in activewear and underwear.

6. Grading – The difference in measurements between garment sizes. This involves increasing and decreasing different parts of the garment to create additional sizes based on the approved sample size.

7. Lead Time – The total amount of time required to manufacture the finished goods.

8. MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) – The Minimum number of garments, components or fabric a factory or mill is prepared to manufacture at any one time.

9. Pantone – International colour matching system that uses numbered codes to identify different colours. This code is the same worldwide so when you specify RED 032, a factory in China, Portugal, London or Vietnam understand the exact shade you require.

10. Pattern – template used to trace and cut out the specific parts of a garment.

11. PCS – Simply stands for pieces. For instance, 1000 pcs per colour equates to 1,000 pieces per colour per style.

12. Pre-production sample – (Sometimes called a sealing sample) Final garment that represents the finished product which is then sent to the client for approval.

13. Purchase Order – The legal contract between the buyer and supplier, indicating the product types, quantities and price for the product and also the agreed delivery schedule.

14. Seam allowance – A stripe of fabric that allows the pieces of fabric to be stitched together.

15. Sublimation – Digitally printing an image from paper onto white fabric. The inks on the digital paper image are released onto the fabric when heat is applied. Great for team wear.

16. Swatches or Hangers – Small pieces of material that allow the buyer to feel and touch a fabric without needing to order a whole length of fabric. Technical information about the weight and construction is usually applied to the hanger for easy reference.

17. Tech pack – Architects drawing that the factory uses to construct the samples/production accurately. A tech pack should always be created by the brand and not by the factory.

18. Technical drawing – 2D CAD drawing of the garment showing front and back view and should include details such as type of stitching, bar tacks etc.

19. Tolerance – Allowances between the specification and the finished product (where acceptable). Garments are still produced by humans and so small tolerances are acceptable across key measurements.

20. Trims – Zips, branding, badges, care labels, swing tickets etc.

If you are looking to develop sportswear and need a great factory, tech packs or a designer, please get in touch

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