Tuesday 2 April 2013

Loop-wheeled sweaters and t-shirts explained

At DC4 Berlin we offer a number of high-quality sweatshirts and tees which are made on loop-wheeled sewing machines - but what exactly does this mean? Let's have a look. The fabric produced by these special machines have a unique texture to them, and are almost exclusively made in Japan. There are just an estimated 200 of these machines left in the world! Have a look at a close-up of the fabric on our very own The Flat Head x DC4 Berlin t-shirts:

Back in the days the machines were widely used, also in the USA. The process of creating a loop-wheeled garment takes a lot longer than any other machinery, so it was just a matter of time before they were replaced with faster ones. Around the 1950's many factories chose for mass-production, so the machines had to go.

The loop-wheeled machines knit the fabric in a tube-like way, where the only tension on the threads used is plain ol' gravity. This results in a fabric that has basically no tension on the threads, which gives the garment a very soft feel and makes it a lot more durable than modern fabrics, and it's also able to retain the original shape a lot better. Because of the slow production process, loop-wheeled clothing is automatically more expensive than regular sweats and tees.

Nowadays almost all of the loop-wheeled fabrics are produced in the Wakayama prefecture in Japan (which is close to Osaka). It's one of the few places where true authentic goods are still made, like the products from The Flat Head and Iron Heart that we carry. They truly have that vintage feel to them and look like the garments your parents or grandparents used to wear in the in the first half of the 20th century!