The garment finishing department is the last stage of the entire process of making a readymade garment (RMG). In most factories, garments are inspected and then sent to this section for final checking. The major functions of this section include ironing and checking the garments for quality defects. It also includes folding, tagging and packing of the garments before sending them to buyers.
Garment finishing comprises of a series of mechanical or chemical treatments of the fabric to improve its aesthetics, handle and functional properties. Mechanical processes involve shearing, calendering, sanforizing and other such operations. Chemical finishes are mostly made of formaldehyde and other chemicals that release gases into the atmosphere. The workers working in this section are exposed to these gases that can affect their health and may even cause skin diseases.
When the fabrics arrive in this department they have accumulated many mechanical tensions and forces during fiber to yarn conversion, spinning, weaving, knitting etc. The garment finishing process relaxes these stresses and strains so that the finished product has no tendency to shrink during washing or wearing.
Another important function of the finishing department is the trimming of thread trails and chains in the garments. These untrimmed threads and chains are considered quality defects.
Other garment finishing processes are scouring with detergents, alkaline solutions or enzymes to remove dirt and impurities. Singeing smooths the surface of the fabric and shearing or flame singeing removes fine protruding fibers from the surfaces. Bleaching woven and knitted fabrics changes the color of the fabric and gives it an even hue. Fulling or waulking increases the weight of the cloth and enhances its handle. Hydrophobic finishing makes the fabric repel water and stains. Weighting of silk with metallic salts adds weight to the fabric and enhances its feel.
Ironing is a batch process in which the fabrics are flattened by pressing them between two flat or curved surfaces. It is a faster process than steaming but cannot shape 3D fabric parts as can be done in a moulding machine. Pressing can also be used to make fabrics wrinkle resistant.
Flame retardant finishes reduce the spread of fire and allow for faster extinction of the flame. Generally these are wash-resistant finishes, though some are not and require dry cleaning only.
In the finishing department, the garments are again inspected to ensure that the measurements are correct and there are no major sewing problems. The QC people in the department also check for loose threads and other minor imperfections. Upon passing all the tests, the finished garments are tagged with hangtags and packed. They are then poly-bagged to keep them dust and moisture free while sending them to the buyers.
During this final step, the QC people should also pass all the garments through a metal detector to identify any hidden metallic objects in them. This is done to protect the buyer from unauthorized goods that could harm his or her people. apparel finishing