WHOLEGARMENT: 3D-knitted Zero Waste garments

No sewing, no seams, no stitches. That’s seamless. A specific knitting technology that uses specialized circular looms to develop garments that adapt perfectly to the body, making people forget that they are actually wearing them. By eliminating the fabric cutting and sewing process, there is an optimization of the production process making seamless production a lot faster than conventional. There is also a fewer product failures since most errors since most of the garment failures are due to seam failure, which translated into better quality pieces.

Seamless knitted technology has been around since 1995 but has continued to evolve and become more usable and adaptable. There are many advantages to using seamless knitting technology, which has made it increasingly popular over recent years. As well as allowing you a lot more freedom with design and the ability to create unique textures and details, the seamless knit technology produces garments in a way that creates almost zero waste and has much less risk of human error.

Usually, knitwear is produced by knitting each part (front body, back body, and sleeves, etc.) separately and sewing them together. In contrast, SHIMA SEIKI’s WHOLEGARMENT knitwear is produced in one entire piece three-dimensionally directly on the knitting machine, preventing wasted material such as cut loss and seam allowance.

Large, circular knitting machines are used to manufacture seamless garments in factories. These machines are programmed with the information to create the whole garment, starting from just yarns and fibres. These are then knitted together into the shape of the garment, creating the fabrics straight into the accurate, tubular shapes and eliminating the need for seams. Garments are either knitted into complete, finished pieces or they are semi-finished and then the last elements are finished on standard sewing machines, depending on the design. Seamless knitting technology almost eliminates the whole cut-and-sew process in production, which can save a large amount of time as well as wastage.

By eliminating the cutting and sewing processes, complete garment knitting provides a variety of ad-vantages in knitting production such as savings in cost and time, higher productivity, quick response production and other advantages.


WHOLEGARMENT knitting maximizes the benefits of shaped knitting even further by expanding that potential to 3 dimensions. WHOLEGARMENT knitting is capable of producing knitted items in their entirety on the machine, and allows 3D preforms and tubing to be produced without sewing.

Elimination of sewing allows for faster turnaround and high potential for on-demand knitting. The seam-free nature also ensures continuity of the fabric, allowing functional yarns such as those made from conductive fibres to wrap around the entire body without interruption for applications in smart garments and wearable technology. 3D knitting provides fit, comfort, lightness and mobility—key factors that make seam-free WHOLEGARMENT knitwear ideal as wearable technology platforms.


WHOLEGARMENT is made in one entire piece, so it is possible to unravel the yarn and reuse it to make something new. Items you’ve outgrown, or keepsake knits can be given new life. A new idea in recycling—only by WHOLEGARMENT.

3D Virtual Sampling Shortens Lead Time

Super realistic high-definition simulations created on SDS-ONE APEX series can be used effectively for prototyping of knitwear. Time, cost and materials are no longer required for producing prototype samples over and over again. Speedy planning, production, and sales using 3D virtual samples ultimately lead to zero inventory loss, zero leftovers, and zero waste.


The on-demand production capability of WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology that can knit an entire garment in one piece on the machine without the need for sewing is naturally suited to production that is customized to the individual. At ITMA Shima Seiki is showcasing mass-customization as it is applied with WHOLEGARMENT knitting, called MADE2FIT by WHOLEGARMENT. Visitors to the booth will find an entire area dedicated to presenting the concept, beginning with scanning a body using a smartphone app, then sending that data to a server that automatically adjusts preloaded data categories such as size, length, sleeve length, color, etc., and knitting on the MACH2XS103 WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine.

Image Source:- https://www.knittingindustry.com/shima-seiki-sets-out-to-knitify-the-world/

Wholegarment solutions

MACH2XS103 15L

A short-needle bed version of Shima Seiki’s flagship WHOLEGARMENT machine, MACH2XS103 features the company’s original SlideNeedle on four needle beds of 40-inch (100cm) knitting width. High-quality WHOLEGARMENT production in all needles is possible, at high speeds thanks to quick carriage returns with the R2CARRIAGE combined with a maximum speed of 1.6m/sec for high productivity. i-DSCS+DTC Digital Stitch Control System with Intelligence and Dynamic Tension Control allows consistent, high-quality production with a variety of yarns.

Equipped with a spring-type moveable sinker system, dimensional fabrics and flechage can be knit with ease, expanding the range of knitting. It is also equipped with the Air Splicer option for supporting multi-colour knitting by splicing together yarns at high-speed. MACH2XS103 is also equipped with the dual takedown prototype option that allows waste knitting for short-sleeve pullovers to be practically eliminated, further contributing to the sustainable nature of WHOLEGARMENT knitting.

MACH2XS123 15L

MACH2XS123 is slightly larger than MACH2XS103, with a 50-inch (125cm) knitting width. SlideNeedle mounted on 4 needle beds and spring-type moveable sinkers all contribute to highly efficient and versatile production of high-quality WHOLEGARMENT products. MACH2XS123 is also equipped with the dual takedown prototype option, as well as the optional tension control device that measures the stretch characteristic of yarn beforehand and uses that data to control yarn feed at the machine. At ITMA, stretch characteristic is measured and controlled while knitting stretch leggings.

The 15L machine features large-hook SlideNeedle mounted in 15-gauge pitch for production of fabrics in the 10~15 gauge range.


The flexible and versatile MACH2VS is evolved from MACH2S machines and carries on the capability to knit in a range of production styles. As a conventional shaping machine, it is capable of all-needle knitting in its available range of 8 to 16 gauge, while WHOLEGARMENT knitwear can be produced in half-gauge fabrics. The range of usable yarn and material has increased as well, thanks to i-DSCS+DTC as standard equipment. The R2CARRIAGE system that yields quicker carriage returns for greater efficiency, now features a lighter carriage for even higher productivity.

For versatility, MACH2VS is even capable of gaugeless knitting whereby a number of different gauges can be knit into a single garment. A new full-colour touch-screen monitor improves operability over the previous monochromatic one. At ITMA, MACH2VS features a number of prototype options, including motorized auto yarn carriers that do not require extra carriage courses for yarn carrier placement.

The lacy intarsia dress with vertical strip pattern being knit at the booth demonstrates the advantages of this function. Another prototype option is the needle bed gap adjustment function for further easing switching between conventional shaping and WHOLEGARMENT production.

SWG091N2 5G

Affectionately referred to as “SWG-Mini,” Shima Seiki’s compact line of WHOLEGARMENT machines allows customers to take advantage of the same short lead times and versatile production capacity exclusive to WHOLEGARMENT knitting as with their larger MACH2 series counterparts, but with minimal investment.

SWG091N2 with its 36-inch (90cm) knitting width is especially suited to knitting a wide variety of items. At ITMA it is using schedule knit to knit matching gloves, socks and caps consecutively.


Shima Seiki’s benchmark SVR-series computerized shaping machines have undergone an overhaul resulting in the new N.SVR series. The SVR123SP likewise adds adopts the “N” designation becoming the N.SVR123SP. A special loop presser bed mounted above the rear needle bed makes it capable of unique designs in knit fabrics—especially inlay patterns—which allow hybrid textiles that combine both knit and weave characteristics in the same fabric. In addition, the i-Plating option can alternate yarn colors in any pattern, producing jacquard-like designs using plain jersey stitch.

Plating can be performed within the same course and for individual needles. In combination with the loop presser and patented spring-type moveable sinker system even greater diversity in knit design is possible. Meanwhile a lighter, more compact carriage combines with high-speed carriage turnaround of the R2CARRIAGE system as well as a maximum knitting speed of 1.4m/sec to yield higher productivity.

N.SVR123SP carries over other established Shima Seiki technology such as the Digital Stitch Control System (DSCS), stitch presser, takedown comb and yarn gripper and cutter system as well as WideGauge knitting capability. An all-new full-color LCD touch-screen control panel greatly improves on the previous monochromatic display as well.

At ITMA N.SVR123SP is shown knitting chair fabric using velvet-like tape yarn which has a natural tendency to twist. Otherwise impossible to knit correctly, it is fed into the machine with the aid of the special Yarn Unwinding Device which helps to handle such challenging material.

N.SVR122SP-SV 14G Prototype

The triple-knitting system N.SVR093SP/N.SVR123SP/N.SVR183SP lineup is joined by the newcomer N.SVR122SP which features a double KNITRAN cam system. Like the N.SVR123SP also shown at ITMA, N.SVR122 also features a special loop presser bed capable of inlay technique which allow hybrid textiles that combine both knit and weave characteristics in the same fabric. In addition, the i-Plating option allows alternating yarn colors to be knit in any pattern, producing jacquard-like designs using plain jersey stitch. i-Plating is used to knit a pullover that also combines sinker patterns made possible with the patented spring-type moveable sinker system for even greater diversity in knit design.

N.SIR183-SV 18G

Shima Seiki’s global standard for intarsia shaped knitting—the SIR series—has undergone renewal and is joined by the long-bed N.SIR183 featuring a 72-inch (183cm) knitting width. Improvement in productivity is achieved with a lighter, more compact carriage combined with a maximum knitting speed of 1.4 metres per second and the R2CARRIAGE System that improves efficiency in each course through quicker carriage returns.

It also carries over proven Shima Seiki technology such as our renowned Digital Stitch Control System (DSCS), spring-type moveable sinker system, stitch presser, takedown comb and yarn gripper and cutter, as well as an all-new full-color LCD touch-sensitive control panel. With a maximum capacity for 30 intarsia carriers, N.SIR183 at ITMA uses 10 carriers to produce an ultrafine gauge one-piece dress that is knit while oriented on its side featuring flechage, pintuck and other techniques. The machine also features a top tension device that automatically adjusts tension as a prototype option.


Shima Seiki is debuting its latest design system SDS-ONE APEX4 at ITMA. SDS-ONE APEX4 continues as a comprehensive all-in-one system that offers complete support of the knit supply chain, from planning and design to production and sales promotion. As such, SDS-ONE APEX4 provides all the functions you need in taking advantage of the integrated workflow that is the Total Fashion System. Not limited to the knit apparel industry, textile design and production requires the diversity to support ever-changing market needs, with increasing emphasis placed on speed from design to market and sustainability. SDS-ONE APEX4 responds to such requirements by providing up to a 5x increase in programming and simulation speeds as compared to SDS-ONE APEX3.

As part of its full support of planning and design needs, SDS-ONE APEX4 features the latest search functions using Artificial Intelligence (AI). High-quality virtual sampling for circular knitting, flat knitting, weaving and pile weaving reduces waste of time, cost and material associated with sampling. It can furthermore be used for e-commerce as well as pre-ordering to forecast demand and optimize inventory through smart, speedy and sustainable production. Demonstrations are held daily at 9 locations throughout the Shima Seiki booth.

Shima Seiki Online Services

“SHIMA online” for short, this is a new portal site opened this month along with the launching of Shima Seiki’s new website. The portal site collectively introduces the company’s various web-based services. Taking advantage of IoT technology, Shima Seiki supports its users in all stages of the product supply chain through various web-based services, ranging from fashion trend  and archive of knit samples to production management and training support. Shima online and its services are open for viewing at the Shima Seiki booth.

A number of services are introduced below.

Site URL: https://online-services.shimaseiki.com/

Shima KnitPLM

The Shima KnitPLM website features the world’s first PLM system dedicated to the flat knitting industry. Shima KnitPLM connects Shima Seiki products with the customer’s core systems such as ERP and SCM using the latest IoT technology, and ensures traceability and improved productivity throughout the value chain. In addition, seamless data link among software eliminates the need for data input at each stage, achieving workflow automation and labor savings.

URL: https://online-services.shimaseiki.com/shimaknitplm/


A web service for inspiring creativity in the fashion industry, staf features an impressive volume of archive data including collection photos, fabrics, designs, illustrations, patterns and more.

Information can be organized using tools that are intuitive and easy to operate for effective product planning. New to staf is knit content based on trend and market information for the next season.

Data that can be used with the SDS-ONE APEX series design system is available, such as knit designs, patterns and 3D simulation data, enabling faster product development.

URL: https://staf.shimaseiki.com/

Yarnbank Sample Exhibit

yarnbank is a website for searching and downloading digital yarn data that can be used for virtual sampling on the SDS-ONE APEX series 3D design system, free of charge. Downloading yarn data reduces the need for scanning yarns manually, while accuracy of simulations and efficiency of product planning is improved. For the yarn company, yarnbank provides a brand new channel for sales promotion. With yarnbank, the entire supply chain from yarn companies and apparel companies to knit manufacturers can be connected digitally. Although actual launch of yarnbank is yet to be announced, a preview demonstration is available at ITMA.

Article and Image Source :- https://www.shimaseiki.com

Prakash Dutt

Prakash is an accomplished apparel professional with extensive experience in apparel manufacturing, sourcing, quality control, sustainability, and CSR.He is a lean management professional (black belt in lean six sigma), innovative and open to experimenting with new technology and changes in the industry.

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1 Response

  1. Damodar Menon says:

    Thanks for sharing, Great Content

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