Design is key to successful sweater manufacturing. With the ever-growing popularity of knit fabrics in all areas of the apparel market, construction, color, and target markets are of key importance. Sometimes referred to as “stitch,” construction is the combination of various needle selections to create a design. Both simple and Jacquard patterns are used.
Color is a key factor in developing a sweater design. Will the sweater be made from fiber-dyed or yarn-dyed yarns, or will the fabric be piece dyed, or will some combination of dyeing techniques be used? Will garment-dyeing be an option? Keeping abreast of color forecasting and trends is essential to success in product development at the retail level.
Another key consideration is the target market. Will the sweater fabric design be targeted to menswear, women’s wear, juniors, children’s, or more than one market? Certain markets have a great effect on fashion, color, and construction. Today’s fabric development teams must take into consideration all of these factors when developing a sweater.
After the type of fabric, the machine for production, and the type of yarn have been selected, the design is created. Although some design layouts are still done by hand on graph paper, most designs today are produced on computer-aided design (CAD) systems, for use in computer-aided manufacturing (CAM).