Want to develop a knitted product? Take a look through the options below, sketch or CAD draw your design including critical dimensions and specifications and contact us to talk through the feasibility of your design. Our Senior Technician will advise you of the best way forward, suggest the most appropriate yarns and help you to source them if required. Developing new knitted products is often a time consuming process depending on the complexity of the design and involves a design process, a programming process and a prototyping process. Due to the varying properties and behaviour of yarns and knitted structures, it is not uncommon for the need for several prototypes to be knitted before the final sample is approved. The lab has 3 Shima Seiki knitting machines ranging from 7-14 gauge with WholeGarment, intarsia and jacquard knitting capabilities.
The Textile and Design Lab has recently commissioned 6 state of the art Shima Seiki Apex 3 Design Systems that provide design, pattern making, 3-D visualisation and knit programming software. The Apex 3 is regarded by many as the most advanced knit-related system available on the global market.
The lab has also invested in 4 Shima Seiki flatbed knitting machines capable of jacquard, intarsia, inlay and seamless knitting. Our 14 gauge SES WG machine, 14 gauge SIG intarsia machine, 14 gauge SRY inlay machine and 10 gauge SWG 041 machine make up the lab’s compliment of state of the art knitting technology.
Designing: Designs for knitted garments, accessories and other products can be supplied to us as sketches, CAD drawings or created on the Shima Seiki Apex 3 Design system. Designs can range from simplistic to highly complex intarsia and jacquard patterning. Our 7, 10 and 14 gauge Shima Seiki electronic knitting machines are capable of producing cut and sew, fully fashioned and Whole Garment® (seamless) knitwear. It is essential that designs are accompanied by specifications listing all critical dimensions. We’d suggest making an appointment with our Senior Technician to talk through your requirements.
Programming: Once we have received your design, our Senior Technician will develop a knit programme using specialised software. This is an essential part of the knit development process and involves converting the design into a ‘language’ that the knitting machine can interpret to knit the desired design.
Knitting: Once we have received your yarn, a knit quality sample will be knitted and steam or wet finished so the ideal fabric appearance and handle can be selected. The process involves knitting 5 or 6 sections of a knitted panel each with varying stitch lengths, which cause the openness and handle of the fabric to vary. The technician and/or client will then select the most desirable option. Once the knit quality has been established, we can then progress to the first prototype/sample.
Cut and sew: Cut and sew knitwear involves knitting continuous lengths of fabric, sometimes with integral ribbing for cuffs and welts, that are then cut into shaped panels and sewn together to create the final product. Whilst this method is easy to process, it can be very wasteful, particularly if high value yarns are used.
Fully Fashioned: The term fully fashioned implies that the panels of the garment or product are knitted to shape, which negates the need for cutting. The panels are then linked and sewn together to create a more aesthetically pleasing finish to the end product. As the panels are knitted to the required shapes, there is no waste material generated with this method.
Jacquard: Jacquard patterning allows complex multi coloured designs to be knitted but the ‘inactive’ yarns are floated or carried across the reverse side of the panel, which has the effect of increasing the weight and thickness of the panel or garment.
Intarsia: The lab’s Shima Seiki SIG 122 is an intarsia electronic knitting machine, which enables several colours of yarn to be knitted into intricate designs without the need to carry or float the ‘inactive’ yarns across the reverse side of the knitted panel. Consequently, very lightweight panels can be knitted with highly complex multi-coloured designs. Our intarsia machine is also capable of producing complex knitted circuitry for electronic textile applications using conductive yarns.
Inlay: The lab’s SRY inlay machine was commissioned in February 2017. It has the capability of producing fine knitted fabrics into which coarse count yarns can be laid in to provide additional stability to the fabric/garment, produce mock-woven effects as well as technical fabrics with specific characteristics.
WholeGarment®: WholeGarment® is a registered trade mark of Shima Seiki Manufacturing Limited of Japan. The term is self-explanatory as garments, accessories and other products are knitted in a 3-dimensional seamless form, enabling an entire product to be produced without the need for assembly. The benefits of WholeGarment® include enhanced comfort due to the absence of seams, the exclusion of human error during the making up process and the cost benefits of being able to manufacture with reduced labour content, important in high-cost manufacturing countries where traditional textile and apparel skills are becoming scarcer.
Digitally printed: Digitally printed knitwear is an ideal way of customising products and adding value by applying multi-coloured imagery direct to the panels or made up product. See Print for more details.
One-offs: Developing one-off pieces is a significant part of the lab’s activities. Whether the product is for a stage or screen production, a personalised application, a special occasion, a competition or awards event, or a student project we’ll be happy to help you create that special piece.
Sampling: Sampling is an essential part of the product development process that is often considered a nuisance to commercial manufacturers. The TDL is well equipped to deal with sample quantities even if bulk production is to be carried out by local or overseas manufacturers.
Small scale production: The lab has capacity to produce modest production runs. If the quantities are excessive or we consider them to be of a commercial scale, we’ll do our best to put you in touch with an industry knitter that is better placed to handle your production needs.
A one-off development charge applies for each style. Thereafter, additional units of the same style are charged according to knitting time. Yarn sourcing and purchasing is the responsibility of the students/client. Contact us for the current price list. Full time non-AUT students are eligible for a 15% discount.