(43-12-07). Anyone seeking clothing production in the UK must decide 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 ?
What Is CMT ?
CMT stands for Cut make and trim. It is a clothing production service provided by factories, whereby they will cut the fabric, make the garment, check it over and trim the loose threads.
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 and zips that are added to a garment for embellishment.
Most UK factories only do CMT. That means that you will have to source and provide all fabrics, trims, labels, patterns and tech packs. They may even expect you to supply your own sample, before making a factory sample.
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.
Sourcing fabrics and trims can be very time consuming, especially if you are inexperienced. Initially at least it is best to leave this to the professionals. We can help you with the sourcing if required.
Cut And Sew.
A Cut and sew factory is a factory that makes garments from a chosen fabric. It is not a term that is widely used within the clothing industry. Most clothing factries will be cut and sew factories.
What Is FPP ?
FPP or Full Production Package is more likely the type of service offered by offshore factories, although there are still a few domestic UK factories, including The London Pattern Cutter, offering FPP to clients.
Factories supplying an FPP service can do everything for you, including providing patterns, grading, tech packs, and sourcing fabrics and trims. They should work with you to decide all the details of labelling and
What To Supply To The CMT Factory :-
- 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, 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.
What Is cut and sew manufacturing ?
Cut and sew manufacture refers to custom made garments that have been sewn from raw fabric, rather than ones that have been bought in from a third party and altered, or embellished for a customer.
T shirts are a common garment that can either be custom made form scratch, or customised.
We specialise in advising and providing services to small fashion brands. 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.
Small Production Runs
We work with many new fashion brands, seeking low MOQ production runs in the UK. Good quality and reliability at affordable prices are essential. Sometimes these brands are looking for larger production runs that are hard to do competitively without going overseas.
What Is MOQ ?
Most small fashion brands need to produce their designs in small quantities, partly because they dont have the funds for large runs, and partly because they need to test the market before increasing production.
Therefore they need to find UK factories that offer low minimum order quantities. Most factories have a MOQ . This means that the factory are willing to produce small orders.
Whichever option you choose, The London Pattern Cutter offers a comprehensive service with highly experienced fashion professionals to help you.
You dont need to have any experience in fashion at all. Just come to us with your ideas, along with any relevant garments or images. If you dont have any sketches then we can create them for you with our one to one workshops.
We can source fabrics and trims with you and we can create the patterns and provide the samples. If you dont know where to start we offer a number one to one workshops.
U.K. Or Offshore Production ?
Normally for new brands we strongly advise against off shore production unless you are confident of the factory or your agent. It may be far cheaper to produce abroad, but isnt worth the risks generally.
The U.K. brand is very strong, so is a great selling point both at home and abroad. We can advise on good U.K. factories, or if you are looking for small quantities, we can arrange that for you.
If you are looking for larger quantities, then it can be worthwhile going for offshore production. But dont go it alone as you will likely have a disastrous outcome.
Should The Factory Do Everything ?
We do not normally recommend using a factory that does everything for you, unless you can ensure that they use professional pattern cutters and graders and that they have the facilities to make your garments to a professional standard.
Without experienced professionals,when patterns and grading are done in-house they tend to be done by inexperienced people. The patterns may be taken from previous customers designs.
When alterations are required, they can get really stuck if they dont have the necessary skills.
The client may end up paying for sample after sample trying to get it right. The factories aim is to make everything easier for themselves, rather than better for the client.
Often a popular factory will use home machinists to do small scale production runs, rather than their internal machinists who they save for their bigger clients.
They will often use their reputation gained from working with well known brands to put up their prices but supply an inferior service to the small designer.
How Much Will It Cost ?
Everyone wants to know how much it will all cost and how they can use their limited finances cost effectively. Although we can advise on certain costs it is not possible to give an accurate idea of costs until the factory have made their sample.
Once a sample is produced you will be given a price for the production run, which you have the choice to accept or decline.
You will of course pay more per garment for a smaller quantity than for a larger quantity, but for a startup it is often wise to go initially for a smaller quantity.
While we can supply patterns, samples, grades and small production runs, we do not do large production runs ourselves. we can however advise on factories and liaise with those factories if required…
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. A poor interfacing can ruin an otherwise great product.
Some fabrics,or some garments such as jackets or shirts require very specific types of interfacing. 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.
The Factory Sample.
The factory will often insist that you supply them with your own sample before they make their factory sample. Make sure that your sample is made exactly the way the final production is to be made.
Or i f there are any small differences between the sample and the desired production garments, make sure they are clearly noted on the sample ticket.
A reputable CMT factory will have good quality control as their main objective. 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 – Condition yourself to examine the factory sample with a fine tooth comb.
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.
We all like to 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. It just keeps them on their toes.
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.
Fashion Startup Workshop.
If you are new to the fashion business, we run a very informative 0ne-to-one fashion startup workshop , either face to face, or online via Zoom.
” 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