July 17, 2009

Fabric Converters

Fabric converters may not be a term some are familiar with. Fabric converters are factories that embroidery, dye, print, flock, bead, pleat, etc. fabric. They may specialize in one area and simply call themselves embroiderers or printers, or they may provide multiple types of conversions. A fabric converter takes specially prepared or greige (pronounced grey) fabric and converts it into finished goods.

There are various forms of greige goods. Generally greige goods are fabrics that come right off the loom. Some have been minimally processed, not processed at all, or the yarns have been processed prior to weaving or knitting. There are various types of finishes that depend on the desired outcome. There are finishes that prepare the fabric for printing or dying. Other finishes enhance the fabric's qualities, such as singeing, desizing, scouring, bleaching, calendaring, and many more. These are finishes done to the fabric prior to printing, dying, or embroidering and so they are still called greige goods by some. Since these finishes do finish the fabric to some degree, they are technically called by other names. There are various acronyms and labels for the different types of "greige" goods and it all becomes kind of fuzzy (or grey, heh) for me. In any event, greige goods are warehoused until an order comes in to print (or whatever) the fabric. Printing and embroidering are some of the fabric conversions done at the very last stage of fabric manufacturing.

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