What is Seamless Garments | Advantages and Disadvantages of Seamless Garments

Seamless garment is a type of one-time forming clothes manufactured by seamless knitting machine. Seamless means no sewing, no seams, and no stitches. Concept of seamless garment is not new. The seamless technique dates back to the fourth and fifth centuries AD. It was then used in the production of socks in Egypt during the Coptic era. Seamless garments are primarily made from a combination of microfiber yarns, lycra, and cotton. It has wide range of applications including underwear, swimwear, control-wear, leisurewear, sleepwear, ready to wear, and active wear etc.
Seamless garment
Fig: Seamless garment
The seamless technique has revolutionized the garment sector, and it is now the new trend in fashion worldwide. At present time, seamless knitting technology is becoming very popular in western countries, as there are advantages to wearing a seamless garment. The seamless technique is relatively simple. The process evolved from cut-and-sew production to fully fashioned garments to seamless garments. It shortens the manufacturing process and reduces material wastage, offering greater comfort and better fit to the wearers. Seamless garments are like a second skin and are comfortable and make very elegant outer and underwear.

Advantages/Benefits of seamless garments:
Seamless garments have the following advantages compared to the garments having seams:
  • Improved aesthetic value and comfort: As there are no seams in the garment, the appearance of a garment is enhanced. Also, there are no chances of seam puckering, mismatching of patterns, and fitting-related problems. Seamless garments consist of limited buttons, hooks, zippers, or clasps to contend with and have superior comfort and smooth and sleek fit, which increases the ease of wearing for the wearer. 
  • Cost saving: As many processes like fabric inspection, storing, spreading, cutting, stitching, etc. are omitted in the seamless technique, there is high savings in labor cost, floor space, cost of machines, power, etc. Seamless garments take 30e40% less time to make than a cut-and sew version. 
  • Waste reduction: Fabric spreading and cutting and subsequent stitching operation is not there and ultimately no fabric wastage here. So there is saving of yarn and fabrics. 
  • Lower lead-time: As many processes are eliminated, the time required for the particular process is saved. There is no dependence on the fabric supplier or supplier of other stitching accessories. 
  • Flexibility: It provides flexibility to knit special features like incorporating moisture management properties in the garments using different types of yarns in their structure. It provides more creative possibilities for knitwear designers. Moreover, seamless technology is versatile in nature. Due to its versatility there are infinite opportunities in the market, both locally and internationally. 
  • Quality and durability: Using seamless technology to make a garment eliminates the process of cutting and sewing steps. Due to the decreased number of steps involved in making the garment, the risk of defects and damages is also minimized.
The other advantages are more constant product quality, better trim-ability for finished edge lines, just-in time production, and mass customization.

Disadvantages of seamless garment:
Despite the advantages described above, seamless garments have also the following disadvantages:
  • There are technical limitations in the seamless technique to knit every garment type/shape currently produced by cutting and sewing. The main problem has been the fabric take down in keeping equal tension of each loop (i.e., stitch). 
  • The machines used for manufacturing seamless garments are costlier, and more skilled operators are required. 
  • Another problem is caused during alternate needle selection, which makes fabrics more open and less elastic than conventional fully fashioned garments. This problem occurs mainly in the welt or the cuff areas. 
  • A fault during knitting (particularly a hole or a barrĂ©) damages the whole garment. 
  • Seamless garments are costlier as compared to seamed garments.
  • While lightweight, next-to-skin garments score advantage points for comfort, this is slightly less important for outerwear garments, where the seam can become a style/fashion feature.