Seamless clothing

The gold standard for style, comfort and utility

Introducing a new service and more choice from Shahtex (Leicester) Ltd.

We’re used to seeing elite runners, swimmers and cyclists in Lycra, but the days when smooth and seamless clothing was just for specialists has long gone.

Now, seamless clothing is increasingly popular – as much as with manufacturers and retailers as it is with consumers.

To meet this demand, and to provide our customers with market leading capabilities, Shahtex now offers seamless garment manufacture using the latest custom knitting machinery from Italian specialist engineers, Santoni.

Using cotton, viscose, and nylon – recycled as well as virgin – Shahtex now provides a powerful and dynamic seamless garment production service. Everything we make is of the highest quality, and our seamless facility is capable of responding quickly to changing trends and demand.

What are seamless garments and how are they made?

Seamless innovation offers garments free from restrictive seams. Often they are close fitting, body-hugging, smooth to the touch and supremely flexible; everything you need for total comfort and performance.

From functionality and performance to style and aesthetic, the application of seamless garments is vast. Seamless manufacture is ideal for underwear, swimwear, loungewear, shapewear, and sportswear – gym, yoga, cycling, running and much more.  It’s light weight, comfortable and versatile – a perfect combination.

3D knitting technology enables each item to be knitted individually in one piece in specialised cylindrical machinery, rendering seams unnecessary. The process provides tremendous versatility in terms of design. It offers many more options that the traditional cut & sew methods of garment assembly.

Multiple stitches, patterns and textures can be achieved easily in one piece, allowing a multitude of design and functional elements within a single garment – at a level previously only achievable through bulky seams and patchworking fabrics together. Seamless manufacturing, because there are no offcuts, also dramatically reduces waste. And through knitting each piece individually, we can achieve exact order quantities.

For the consumer, what’s so special about seamless clothing?

Consumers buy seamless clothing for many different reasons. High on the list are some key drivers:

• Comfort
• Style – and lifestyle
• Practicality

Comfort is increasingly important. Seamless means no irritating seams rubbing under arms, around the neck, across the shoulders or at waistbands. The seam-free design leads to a softer and more relaxing feel and a better, more comfortable experience.

Seamless clothing is also supremely practical. Well-designed seamless running kit, for example, reduces chaffing and fits snuggly and smoothly – often becoming more like a second skin. When using well-chosen artificial yarns, it’s also high wicking, helping to take sweat away from the skin, very considerably increasing comfort.

Style and fashion have always driven clothing sales, and seamless clothing really has an edge here. The circular knitting process allows for great variety and fine control of design, so a lot of seamless clothing doubles up as a fashion statement as well as being great garments to wear. The increased comfort of being seamless also adds real value to informal clothing such as the classic T-shirt. Carefully designed underwear with no seams means figure-hugging outer clothing can be worn with confidence.

Versatility is also a major appeal. Although a lot of seamless clothing is ostensibly sportswear, buying it doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole time in the gym. Seamless clothing is just really comfortable and it’s friendly to all body shapes. It’s hard to find apparel which offers a greater combination of freedom of movement, comfort, style and practicality.

Benefits for the wholesaler and retailer

Seamless clothing hits the sweet spot between consumer demand and production efficiencies. Whatever benefits the consumer also benefits the wholesaler and retailer. These include some fundamental advantages.

Design versatility and originality

The “3D” nature of seamless production means that designs can run across and around the entire garment and are not limited to specific panels. The same characteristic means that products can be customised without difficulty for specific clients – for sports teams and as corporate promotional products, for example.

Production lead times are shorter.

The manufacturing process depends on the knitting machine, the product design and the supply of yarn. There is no sourcing of fabric, no cutting and no sewing together of separate panels. Once designs are agreed and the machines are set up, production can start.  It is estimated that overall lead times are 30%-40% quicker for seamless clothing than for garments made by the traditional cut & sew method.

There is less wastage

Another benefit of seamless manufacture is significantly less wastage. Again, compared to ‘cut & sew’ the ‘spare’ and wasted fabric or yarn is only a marginal amount. Less wastage means greater economies of scale and less wastage is better for the planet too.

The supply chain is shorter and more responsive

With fewer steps in the production process, the supply chain is shorter. And it is more responsive. In an industry where trends change quickly, this creates a powerful advantage. Wholesalers and retail buyers can adapt quickly to changing fashions, or they can drive their own change with new designs and new clothing concepts.

Easier access to samples

The buyer can request a particular product as a sample more easily and more quickly than with conventional production methods. Additionally, the sample can act as a template for the final product and, because the process is computerised, all the specifications will remain exactly the same as for the final approved prototype.

Products are more versatile

With high responsiveness to fashion and demand, designs can incorporate features that would be expensive or unrealistic in the cut & sew method of production. With multiple stitch types possible through one garment, the design process becomes genuinely dynamic. The transition, for example, between decorated panel and waistband simply becomes one of a change of stitch – no longer do multiple sections need to be sewn together.  In practical terms, shape, colour, texture and knit are infinitely variable.

High standards of quality control

Clothing made with the conventional ‘cut & sew’ method tends to be quality assured by batch. It’s true, of course, that there will be sample testing of seamless clothing in the same way, but the real quality control comes at the very creation of the garment. Once the designs are agreed the knitting machines are programmed and a series of prototype garments can be made. The several versions are fine-tuned until the finished product is just right. Once all parameters have been checked and double checked, the production can carry on apace – knowing that each subsequent item will be identical to the original.

Seamless clothing usually has a small packed size

It’s surprising how much volume is added by seams in a garment; seams also make some items harder to fold, so that more space is required for packaging in any case.  In addition, seamless garments – often made with fine synthetic yarns – are less bulky than their conventional seamed counterparts. Less bulk will often mean less weight – or more items per consignment. Altogether this adds up to cost savings on packaging, transport, storage and distribution.

Fewer product failures

Most clothing failures originate at seams. Seams are inherently the vulnerable areas in any item that is stitched together, no matter how good the workmanship. Either the fabric around the seams gives out, or the stitching itself is of poor quality. Without seams, these issues simply disappear. Product failures with seamless garments are extremely rare. In turn this leads to high levels of customer satisfaction and more repeat purchases.

Wider Markets

Although most of our observations are about the consumer market, there are additional opportunities too. Medical supplies – eg compression stockings and bandages – become more comfortable and versatile with seamless manufacture. Likewise, there are benefits in other fields. Innovation is at the heart of our development and we are always looking for alternative applications for seamless manufacture.

What we offer – the benefits to our customers

Shahtex (Leicester) Ltd is delighted to offer the option of seamless clothing production to support customers expand their offering – developing their client base and entering new markets.

We believe that seamless garment technology brings benefits to everyone in the supply chain as well as to the consumer. The opportunities for customised designs and products tailored to specific markets are now better than ever before.

Amongst other benefits the following stand out as being truly transformative:

  • Custom products for individual corporate clients
  • Rapid and improved access to the sportswear and leisure clothing markets
  • A simplified supply chain and a swift response to market trends
  • Outstanding quality control and significantly reduced wastage
  • Excellent products representing great value for money

To find out more about our seamless knitted clothing, get in touch: 

Shahtex (Leicester) Ltd. is a UK market leader in knitted textiles.  They offer design flexibility and the capacity for high production runs in seamless clothing and weft knitted single and double jersey fabrics. Shahtex supply greige and finished fabrics to merchants and converters who further process the fabric to their own colour and print. They also supply garment manufacturers fabric to their specification. Tel: +44 (0) 116 274 1647 or

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