An Overview of Garment Accessories Part-1

All About Garment Accessories

Harshani Wijendra
Sri Lanka Institute of Textile & Apparel Technology (SLITA)

What are Garment Accessories?

Garment accessories are important elements in a Garment. It is Obvious that we can make a garment only by using fabrics & sewing threads. However Garment Accessories provide good finish and quality to the Garment. A garment is made not only from the apparel fabric but also various accessory items. Fabric is the basic material in garment manufacturing. Except fabric of garment, the other materials are known as garment accessories. These have to be chosen in such a way that they complement the outer fabric both aesthetically, in terms of decoration, and practically, in terms of ensuring that the garment performs as expected in its intended end use. Support materials, Garment Closures are the main components of Garment Accessories.

Support Materials
These are important to the intrinsic quality of Garments but are often invisible in Finished Garments. They contribute to the Aesthetics and/or performance of Garment components, shell fabrics and other materials. Several different types of support materials may be used in one garment, but not all garments require support materials. Interlinings, linings, Adhesives, Tapes, Shoulder pads, sleeve headers & collar stays. Interlinings are the commonest type of support materials used in the Garment Industry.

Garment Closures
Human body shape needs certain garment components to separate or expand so a garment that surrounds & conforms to the Body or specific body parts can be put-on and taken-off. Expansion is built into garments through structural openings and elastic materials. Garments are usually designed to surround the body and accommodate body movement. Usually closures are subject to more horizontal stresses than Vertical stresses because of the Nature of the Body kinetics.

Stay is a material that is applied to the Garment parts for Strength or reinforcement purposes. There are different kinds of stays made from different materials for different applications. Mainly there are three types of Stays. They are;
  1. Stay Tapes
  2. Collar Stays
  3. Special Stays
01. Stay Tapes
This is a narrow strip of firmly constructed textile material which is used for strengthening or controlling various parts of a garment. Stay tapes are available in many different widths such as 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8 & 3/4 of an inch & 1 inch. It may be made of Cotton, Polyester, Nylon or Poly/Cotton. This can also be divided into two categories.

Non-fusible Stay Tape
Almost all non-fusible stay tapes are woven in either twill or plain weave & are sewn on to the garment parts.

Fusible of Stay Tape
Fusible Stay tape may be woven or non-woven, with adhesive agents either or on one side or on both sides of the fabric. N general fusible stay tape is cut from rolls of possible interlining. It is attached to the garment by fusing. Double face fusible tape is mainly used for hemming purposes.
02. Collar Stays
Collar stays are support materials often used to build shape retention into structured collars of shirts & blouses. Plastic collar stays are available in various types, lengths, widths, and weights. Thin flexible collars stays may be superimposed on the front edge seam of the collars as they are sewn. Other flexible plastic stays are stitched through the stay remains permanently attached to the collar. Permanently attached stays were common in shirts manufactured in Sri Lanka for the Local market & are the fastest and least expensive application but they may have performance problems during wearing & care procedures. Removable stays are found in higher quality garments. Removing stays during laundry & cleaning prevents bending & permanent distortion. There are categories of collar stays like
  • Both Ends of a special shape
  • Rounded at Both ends
  • Tapered Single point
Fabric Stays are also there which is made of a piece of Fabric (either shell fabric, interlining, lining or another kind of material) is applied to the wrong side of the certain garment part for support purposes. For an example this kind of stay is used behind the button in a shirt.

03. Special Stays
There are also special stays which are used on particular Garments. For an example, a metal stay is used in ladies brassieres or corsets. In these occasions the stay is mainly used for Shaping & Reinforcement purposes. 
Special Stays

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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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