What is CMT ? What is FPP ?
Anyone looking for clothing production must decide early on whether they want CMT or FPP. What do these terms mean, and which is best for your business ? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each ?
We specialise in advising and providing services to small startup fashion businesses. We normally advise these businesses to stay safe by starting slowly with small production runs using UK factories. Often these budding entrepreneurs have little or no knowledge of the fashion business, so do not have a clue where to start, or even how to provide a basic sketch of their designs. That is where we come in. We provide all the help that is needed.
CMT ( Cut, Make and Trim )
Most UK factories only deal with CMT. That means that you will have to source and provide all the fabrics, trims and labels etc. The factory will cut the fabric, make the garment and trim the threads ( trim does not refer to the garment decoration ). The factory will supply sewing threads, and sometimes they will supply small items such as fusings, but you will have little say in the quality or type that is used. Most startups will opt for this service as there is normally little choice. There are few enough good quality factories that will work with small startups, without having to find one that will provide the everything. And it is normally far too risky to go abroad for the production. I do feel that FPP is the better option for a startup. and I am surprised that more clients dont opt for this option.
Sourcing fabrics and trims can be very time consuming, especially if you are not experienced. Initially at least it is best to leave this to the professionals. We can help you with the sourcing, or do it for you. And we work with factories who offer both CMT and FPP.
FPP ( Fully Packaged Production )
Fully packaged production means that the factory supply everything for you. They will source and provide the fabrics and the trims, which will save you hours and hours trying to do it yourself. It is hard enough trying to find fabric and trim suppliers willing to deal with small startups, without having to find affordable materials. Sometimes you also need to know when it is advisable to opt for something that is not perfect, but is more cost effective.
There are not many UK factories that offer FPP , although many off-shore factories do. It can be very tempting for startups to opt for foreign production, as they do everything for you, and can be far cheaper too. But dont be tempted, as you will very probably get burnt. If you are a little more experienced in running a fashion business and you are looking for bigger production runs, then this can be an option, but even then I would suggest only doing this with professional guidance. We would of course, be happy to assist if you were considering going this route. We can advise whether it is a viable option, and we can assist if you decide to opt for foreign production.
FPP in the UK
We can offer good quality FPP in the UK through our partners. It is a great option for most startups. Although it does cost a little more, it saves you hours and hours of trying to find the fabrics yourself. we can probably source better fabrics at a cheaper price than you could do yourself, so this would help offset the cost of sourcing the materials for you. We would of course consult extensively with you to make sure that we obtain the best materials at the best price possible.
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WHAT IS CMT ?
I am often asked by new clients “What is CMT ?” . Cut Make & Trim, or CMT as it is generally known, is a service provided by clothing factories. The term is fairly self explanatory – The factory will cut the fabric, make the garment and trim the loose threads etc. The client has to supply all fabrics and trims, apart from sewing threads. The “trim” in Cut Make & Trim does not refer to trims such as buttons that are added to a garment for embellishment. It refers to the checking and trimming of the garment after it is made.
Most CMT factories in the UK will expect everything to be supplied to them before they will start work on your garments. They will expect you to supply fabrics, trims, labels, patterns, samples and a tech pack. On the other hand, often foreign factories will provide everything for you. In this case you would need to ensure that what the factory supplies is of the quality you need. Most factories are reluctant to deal with startups and will have a minimum quantity that they are willing to make. We at The London Pattern Cutter can assist with sourcing good quality factories, fabrics and trims.
The client needs to supply the CMT factory with :-
- A full set of graded patterns in card
- All fabrics, linings and interfacings
- All trims including buttons and zips
- All labels
- A correct sample
- Tech pack
Occasionally a factory may be able to supply items such as interfacings or buttons. But if they do, please make sure that they are of acceptable quality. The factory will tend to use whatever is easiest and cheapest for them. You would need to specify if you needed anything other than standard trims etc.
” That`s the first time you know you are a Libertarian. You see the red light. You stop. You realize that there is not a car in sight. And you put your foot on the gas”. GARY JOHNSON
Interfacings are usually used to give a garment some structure, or body. Most modern interfacings are fused, although more expensive garments still often use non fused, sew – in types. There are hundreds of different interfacings to choose from today, either woven or non woven. A good interfacing is essential for a high quality garment.
Tailored jackets tend to have a great deal of interfacing as they need a lot of structure. There are hundreds of different types, either woven or non woven.A poor interfacing can ruin an otherwise great product. Some fabrics,or some garments such as jackets or shirts require very specific types. If a CMT factory is left to supply their own, they will not be looking to use the best interfacing, but the cheapest and the easiest.
Make sure you have a sample made exactly the way the final production will be made. Or if there are any small differences between the sample and the desired production garments, make sure they are clearly noted on the sample ticket. A good factory and their quality control staff should have a good eye for detail and quality, but many offshore factories may not. A good CMT factory will have quality as their main objective. This is even more important if you are using an off shore factory.
The factory will have to make a sample themselves before going into production, so sometimes it is not necessary to have one made by a specialist sample machinist. Sometimes however, it is advisable to get a professional sample made because the factory sample machinists are not always up to the job. The factory sample needs to be checked to make sure it is absolutely correct. One thing is pretty certain – That sample is the best you are going to get.
One small tip for those new to the garment industry trying to get their designs produced by a factory – Always try to find some small fault in the sample. I know we want to be nice and polite – But we also want to maximise our chances of getting this right. If you find no fault, the CMT factory know that they can produce that quality, or lower and you will be happy. Obviously you will need to still be nice and polite – And you will want to be diplomatic. But you could say for instance – ” could you just make sure the top stitching is even”. Or ” could you try to match the seams a bit more closely”. Let them know that you will notice things if they are not right.
Not all CMT factories can make every type of product. Even if they say that they can do everything you want, it is very important that you check for yourself that they have the correct machinery for the job. While it is a good idea to keep production local if possible, sometimes it is necessary to go further afield to find a unit that specialises in your product. We can advise on suitable factories for your product…
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