From Start to Finish – FR Product Design, Patternmaking and Manufacturing Explained

Finishing out our FRC: How It’s Made series, today’s post details the garment design and manufacturing process with detailed explanation from Tyndale’s VP of Technical, Scott Margolin. The process at first may sound simple, but in reality can take up to six months to complete, and involves multiple steps from several contributors.

The initial steps in the garment manufacturing process are product design and patternmaking. The product design process is critical in creating garments that not only protect workers, but look and feel good too. To develop a garment that provides the protection levels necessary, it’s important that the correct fabric is chosen. Choosing the correct fabric for other garment qualities also depends on a variety of variables just as weight, drape, texture, and more.

Once the fabric is picked out, the patternmaking process begins. While some manufacturers make patterns by hand or outsource this process, Tyndale’s on-site hi-tech patternmaking equipment – Gerber software and equipment – ensures Tyndale has complete control over the fit, style, and sizing of our garment patterns, maximizing quality while minimizing room for error and waste fabric.

Next, it’s time for the garment components to be cut from the fabric. Garment patterns are printed on giant sheets of paper, then laid atop dozens of layers of fabric in advance of cutting. Before any part of a garment is actually cut, each bolt of fabrics is rolled out, “rests” for at least 24 hours and is visually inspected for any defeats or imperfections. Once the fabric has passed the inspection and is cut, the garment pieces are bundled and head to the sewing stations.

While you’re probably aware that FR clothing has an arc rating, CAT Level, and information on testing standards printed on the labels, there is also labeling that denotes the exact roll of fabric the shirt was made from. So, on a shirt’s journey throughout the manufacturing process, information like the garment’s size and fabric lot must be maintained accurately, and accounted for before the start of the next step.

After labeling is complete, the garment really starts to come together. For example, an FR shirt gains collars, cuffs, hems, pockets, plackets are sewn on, seams are joined, and buttons and button holes are added. Quality-driven finishing steps are taken, too, like reinforcing buttons, cover-stitching, seam-by-seam inspection, and more. As soon as there’s assurance that the shirt meets our quality standards, it is tagged and scheduled for delivery to Tyndale’s distribution centers.

All said and done, there are over 30 individual processes involved in the cut and sew operation, and about 7-8 different individuals have a hand in creating the finished product. Most importantly, each and every contributor to the manufacturing process is committed to producing a quality protective garment that ensures workers come home to their families safely.

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