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Clothing Production UK

Anyone looking for clothing production in the UK 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.

What Is Cut Make And Trim ( CMT ) ?

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.


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…

PHONE – 07905 965 305    ( BILL )



Helping fashion startups since 1984