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Important terms and abbreviations you need to know while you build your brand. 

If you are just starting out in the fashion industry, speaking to technical designers, suppliers and manufacturers can sound like a different language at times. Here, we’re giving you a rundown on some key terms and abbreviations that you will need in your vocabulary so that you can speak with confidence to portray yourself as the very professional designer that you are! 

Garment Details

CF– center front. This is the exact center of the front of your garment. 

CB– Center back. (Can you guess this one?) This is the exact center of the back of your garment.

SS– The seam on the outer edge of the body of you’re garment. This is the seam that would run straight down from your underarm to your ankle if you were wearing a jumpsuit or dress. Sometimes this seam is eliminated for design or technical design purpose. In fitting, you may still reference this particular area of measurement as SS (imaginary). 

Inseam– The seam on the inside of your leg.

Hem– The finished edge of your garment. It can refer to the hem on your pant leg, dress or skirt, sleeve hem, or hem at the bottom of your shirt body. 

Sweep– The length of the bottom opening of a shirt, skirt or dress along bottom hem edge, side seam to side seam.

HPS– High point shoulder. This is pretty much as it sounds. It is the highest point of your shoulder in a top pattern, typically nearest to your neckline or neck seam. 

Dart– This is a partial seam added to create contour or tailoring. This is added to give a 3D shape to fabric that is otherwise 1 dimensional. These are places in areas of the body that are curved such as the, waist and back.

Gore– A triangular piece of fabric used to shape a garment to fit the contour of your body. This can be used for functional fitting or for design aesthetic.

2NE– This is to denote a two-needle stitch coverstitch, where you have 2 parallel stitch lines on the face of the garment and looped chain of stitches on the underside of the garment.

1NE– This is to denote a single needle stitch, a single row of stitching for a seam or topstitch.

Tunnel elastic– This is when you have a waistband or self-fabric turn back/hem with elastic tunneled inside and sewn. This finish hides your elastic so it is not visible from inside or outside your garment. 

Product Development

POM – Point of Measurement. This refers to each measurement taken on a particular garment, for example, waistband length, inseam length, etc. This will establish all the important measurement points in order to achieve the fit you desire and to keep that fit consistent in bulk production. 

Grade Rule – This is the increment up and down between each size in your range, and for each point of measurement. 

DTM– Dyed to match. This is when a trim or thread is dyed to match the ground fabric color so it blends in together (opposite would be contrast trim or stitch).

L/D– Lab dip. This is a small swatch of color of your approved fabric or trim quality used for color approval. Typically you should receive at least 3 options per round of lab dips. You compare this to your color standard to comment and/or approve the color of each fabric and trim used in a garment.

S/O– Strike off. This is a sample of your print used for color approval. It should come on approved quality fabric and in at least one full repeat. It is often done by hand screen rather than machine (if screen printing). You should look at each color in the artwork to comment on and approve as well as check the execution of the artwork, the scale, and to compare the color with any approved solid trims or materials that it will be paired with in a garment. 

Fit Sample –This is a sample used for reviewing the fit and construction of your garment. This may not be in correct colors or prints, but all materials and trims must be production quality. Changing a fabric can have a major effect on your fit, so be sure to use correct quality. 

PP Sample– Pre-production sample. This will use all approved materials, approved fit, approved colors, any embellishments, placement prints and care labels should be included. Hangtags and packaging may not be applied here. This is to give final approval prior to your factory moving to bulk production. 

TOP Sample– Top of production sample. This is pulled right from the production line. It will have all approved components and elements including all labels and hangtags, packaging and marketing materials. This is to see how production garments are being down. At this stage there is little you can change unless you catch a big mistake in say, the way the hangtags are being placed, or if you discover a quality control issue.

Lead Time– The time it takes a supplier or manufacturer to fulfill your order.

MOQ – Minimum order quantity. This is the minimum order size your factory or supplier will accept. If you order less, you may be subject to surcharges. This typically means per style or per quality of material or component. 

MCQ – Minimum color quantity. This is the minimum order size per color that your factory or supplier will accept. If you order less than this, you may be subject to surcharges, and in some cases like dyeing or printing, a color quality that cannot be guaranteed.   

FOB– Freight on Board. This is the price per unit for the manufacturer to produce it. This will be inclusive of all packaging, labeling, etc but does not factor in shipping or duties that will be applied. 

LDP– Landed Duty Paid. This is your landed cost for your materials or product which includes any shipping and duties required to get your goods from your manufacturer to your warehouse. 

PO– Purchase order. This is a document that you will pass to your manufacturer stating what styles you are ordering, how many total pieces, how many color ways, what your full size run will be, size break down, unit cost, deliver date, etc. 

Cut Report– This comes from the factory after they have cut your fabrics and materials. Since you always order some overage of materials for production, when you place an order for, say, 500 units, the factory may end up cutting 508 units. It’s not a bad thing to have some extra pieces in there as quality control could end up pulling units from production that just don’t make the cut, leaving you closer to your desired units. There is a tolerance here, up and down, of how many pieces are ordered, and how many are actually, cut, sewn and shipped. Don’t be surprised if you order 500 and end up with 498 pieces or 503 pieces. 

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