Alternative Methods of Fabric Joining

Alternative Methods of Fabric Joining
Noor Ahmed Raaz
Asst. Merchandiser
A.M.C.S Textile Ltd

Methods of Fabric Joining:
The dominant process in the assembly of garments is sewing. Many attempts have been developed to replace sewing but the required speed, flexibility, appearance and performance which can be achieved only with sewing. So the alternative methods of fabric joining have their uses confined to some limited situations.
Some mentionable alternative methods of fabric joining are:
  1. Fusing
  2. Welding
  3. Adhesives
  4. Molding
Fusing is the most widely used process among the different alternative methods of fabric joining. Sewn interlining process is totally replaced by fusing process. The resin or polymer coated interlining is first placed underside the main fabric. Then heat and pressure is applied to join them properly. By applying heat, the resin melts and then the pressure is applied which adheres (sticks) the interlining with the main fabric. After joining, it is cooled so the resin materials become hard and binds the interlining with the main fabric strongly. Only interlining fabric is joined by fusing process.
Fabric joining by fusing
Fabric joining by fusing
Welding is a process in garments manufacturing, which involve the sealing together of thermoplastic materials but heat is not applied externally. Uses of welding is limited but very important where they are used. Their main areas of uses are:
  • The welding of decorative motifs to garments.
  • The sealing of the edges of sewn garments parts and other garments components to prevent fraying and avoid the need for additional sewing.
  • The waterproofing of previously sewn seams in garments made from waterproof materials.
The materials to be welded must have at least 65% thermoplastic fibres. If two hard materials are vibrated against each other they become hot at the point of contact. If plies of thermoplastic materials are placed between the points of vibration, heat will be generated internally in the materials where they touch and in sufficient heat applying in temperature range of 110 to 170 oC. 
Fabric joining by welding
Fabric joining by welding
 During welding the following factors are carefully maintained:
  • Amplitude of frequency
  • Pressure applied
  • Temperature
  • Time period of vibration (practically it takes two seconds to complete welding).
The basic steps of welding are:
  1. Heat applied on fabric
  2. Melting of thermoplastic materials
  3. Applying pressure on melted area
  4. Creation of bonding
  5. Cooling
  6. Fabric joined
The adhesives are of two types:
  1. A coating of thin adhesive film on silicon paper which when transferred to fabric, the plies of fabrics becomes joined.
  2. One type of material which melts on applying heat and thus helps in joining plies of fabrics.
The difference between the second type of adhesive and welding is that in the case of welding heat is generated within the materials. When the fabric containing thermoplastic materials less than 65%, adhesive is used instead of welding for joining fabrics.
Fabric joining by adhesive
Fabric joining by adhesive
  • The use of an adhesive thread as one of the looper threads in edge neatening of hem. When the hem is pressed the thread melts and holds it in place without sewing.
  • In the seams of waterproof garments.
Differences between welding and adhesives
In welding no extra material is used; the polymer content of fabric material joins the plies of fabric.
In adhesives extra materials are used for fabric joining e.g. PVC coating or PTFE coating.
To be welded the fabric must contain 65% thermoplastic material.
If the fabric contains less tan 65% thermoplastic materials, adhesives are used for fabric joining.
In welding heat is generated within the fabric by vibration.
In this method heat is supplied externally.
Used in edge neatening, water proofing and decorating motifs to garments.
Used in hems and water proofing.
Molding is not an accurate and entirely used method for fabric joining as it can not join a number of plies of fabric. Yet it is called an alternative method of fabric joining because by using this method we can give a definite shape of the garment without creating seam. Molding has some fields of use and knitted fabric containing less than 65% thermoplastic fibres can be joined. Knitted fabrics are used here because these fabrics can be stretched or shrunk easily. In this process, at first the fabric is stretched or shrunk in a mold to give a required shape. Then the thermoplastic fibres inside the fabric are soften by applying heat. Then the temperature is decreased to a normal condition. This makes a new shape of fabric permanently.

The procedure can be described as follows:

  • Fabric placed on a mold
  • Heat is applied (in a chamber)
  • Pressure is applied
  • Cooling
  • Achieving permanent shape
Molding process is used to make lady’s trousers, kid’s trousers, etc.


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