Since 1784, John Smedley has been at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and, in 1825, became one of the first companies to install fully fashioned knitting machinery. This new pioneering production technique facilitated a streamlined engineered process of knitting a bespoke shaped structure; by increasing or decreasing the number of needles used, each garment component is produced in a more cost-effective manner, with each knitted piece being produced to the correct size and shape, without the need of any further cutting or trimming.
In the 1990’s, John Smedley began to explore the latest computerised Japanese flatbed technology. Traditional flatbed knitting machines were used to knit large pieces of fabric, from which each garment’s individual components would be cut and then pieced together. This is known as ‘Cut & Sew’ and although this enables the front, back and sleeves of each garment to be knit together, there was a higher wastage factor compared to the traditional fully fashioned techniques. However, this new flatbed technology enabled production of individually shaped garment components similar to a fully-fashioned machine but without the need for a 12 section knitting frame.
Further 21st Century advancements in computerised knitting and design technology have enabled John Smedley to invest in ‘wholegarment’ machinery, which has the ability to produce entire garments without linking, seaming or sewing. Additionally, the latest 3D design systems offer comprehensive support of the entire knitwear production process, including ultra-realistic simulation, mapping and modelling capabilities. Aside from the cost savings associated with eliminating post-knit processes, wholegarment knitting reduces production time and offers on-demand support for new and repeat orders, whilst maintaining consistent quality control and elimination of cut loss and other material waste.