An Overview of Garment Finishing

Last updated on September 11th, 2023 at 11:09 pm


As the name implies, finishing covers all the operations required to complete a garment. For most garments this process starts after top pressing. The details involved in finishing vary according to garment type but in principle are as described here.

Garment finishing

Attaching Buttons

Attaching buttons has two stages, marking and sewing.


The hand marking of button positions requires accuracy in four respects:     

  • For symmetrical garments the button positions have to ensure the overall symmetry of the garment. Some of the important points to observe are:
    1. Collar ends and lapel steps on both fronts must be the same distance down from the neck line.
    2. Pockets have to be at the same height.
    3. Lateral seams need to be matched across the fronts.
    4. Darts should start and finish at the same levels.
  • The button spacings have to be exact in order to ensure flat laying fronts.
  • The specified wrap allowance must be observed.
  • With striped or checked materials, patterns symmetry and alignment are essential.


The buttons of classic shirt and blouse samples are generally sewn on during production by automatic button sewers. These machines can be set for specific spacings and the buttons are automatically fed to the button clamp. As factories producing these types of garments mostly work to standard spacings, sewing the buttons on the occasional sample does not interfere too much with production.

The buttoning of garments when they have been completed is usually performed in the sample room as this is more convenient than using the button sewing machines in the factory. Buttons should not be sewn onto garments which will be subjected to pressure during their top pressing. Apart from leaving an impression of the button on the cloth, there is also every possibility that the button could be broken by the pressure of the pressing machine bucks. Knitted and other garments which are steam finished only can be safety buttoned before top pressing.


Labels are of great benefit for the wearer, and an important aspect of finishing sample garments is to ensure that the correct labels are in the right positions. Some labels are attached during the production of the sample, whilst others are sewn on when the garment is being finished. Most companies have a standard specification for the types and positions of labels on their garments.

There are legal requirements for some types of garment labels, such as:

  • Flammability of materials used for children’s nightwear.
  • Fibre content, for example 35% cotton – 65% polyester.
  • Garments produced for export have to carry a ‘country of origin’ label. This is usually inserted on the brand label.

Although there are no legal directives at the time of writing concerning the following labels, most clothing manufacturers use them to provide guidance for the consumer –

Care labels

These provide very specific information regarding washing and ironing temperatures, whether or not bleaching agents can be used, and the suitable types of dry cleaning solvents etc.

Size labels

These have to be suitable to the country or countries where the garment is to be sold. It is pointless to export garments carrying British or EEC sizing system labels to a country using a totally different sizing nomenclature. Whenever possible, the size labels should be positioned so as to be immediately visible and not necessitate a search on the part of the prospective purchaser.

Irrespective of the number and types of labels used for a garment, they should:

  • Be of an acceptable size.
  • Maintain their legibility after repeated washing or dry cleaning during the normal life of the garment.
  • Be securely affixed to the garment. It does not do much for the quality image of a garment if labels flap around loosely or fall off after a short period of wear.
  • Be easily seen by the consumer and not hidden away in awkward places.

In factories labels are attached by a variety of machines, ranging from the regular sewing machine to microprocessor controlled machines which hold the memories required to attach different sized labels. Some of these machines also have an automatic label feed and positioning system which only requires the operator to position the component or garment correctly.


The last stage of the finishing process is to thoroughly clean the garment of all threads ends and stains. This means that the sample has to be gone over very carefully because nothing gives a worse impression to a buyer than trailing threads or unremoved stains on the inside or outside of the garment.

Final Touches

Sample garments often require some hand finishing with steam. A very effective tool for this is the stand-mounted iron. The height and angle of the iron can be adjusted in order to operate it in a static position, or it can be removed and used by hand. A steam brush can be fitted to the iron sole when it is used to remove shine and marks from velour, velvet and other napped cloths.

When the sample garment has been checked for finish it is ready for the final phase of its manufacture – inspection – before it leaves the sample room.

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He is Abu Sayed, the founder of the blog site Textile Apex. He is a Textile Engineer having eight years plus practical experience in the Textile and Clothing industries. With a deep love for fashion and a keen eye for detail, he combines his creative flair with extensive knowledge to offer insightful and engaging content to his readers.
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