Seam Puckering in Garments: Types, Causes and Remedies

What is Seam Puckering?
According to The Oxford Dictionary seam pucker as ‘a ridge, wrinkle or corrugation of the material or a number of small wrinkles running across and into one another, which appear when sewing together two pieces of cloth’. Among many quality parameters of sewing garments, puckering of a seam is one of the major obstacles to quality. It downgrades the appearance of the final product sewn from lightweight fabric.

When the smooth fabric appearance turned wrinkled by the way of seam is called Pucker. It is generally happened when there is too much fabric and not enough thread in the seam. Pucker is one of the most repeatedly occurring sewing defects on fabric. Seam puckering in garments is the combination of many causes. Generally seam puckering in cloth is seen after sewing and washing.

seam puckering in garments
Fig: Seam puckering in garments

Seam puckering is observed when seam contractive forces exceed the fabric buckling resistance inside a stitch. The problem of seam puckering is more common with woven fabrics than knits; and it is prominent on tightly woven fabrics. puckering may be apparent after sewing or it may develop later on during use. during the sewing process, it is influenced by the properties of sewing threads and fabrics, seam construction, processes of needle penetration, stitch formation, sewing thread tension, fabric feeding and compatibility of the sewing thread, needle and the material being sewn. The shrinkage of threads after sewing also has significant influence on puckering.

Types of Seam Puckering in Garments:
In general, there are six ways in which the fabric along the seam gets distorted: fusion, gathering, shirring, pinching, ruffling and cockling. Distortion by way of gathering, shirring, pinching and ruffling are deliberately obtained for introducing a design effect in the garment. Researchers have indicated ways to predict and eliminate unwanted seam pucker in lightweight synthetic fabrics, either at the textile processing stage or later in the garment manufacturing process. There are four main types of pucker distinguished as tension pucker, feed pucker, displacement pucker and shrinkage pucker. Different types of pucker can be identified from their appearance.

Basically there are four types of seam puckering occur in cloth. They are:

  1. Feeding puckering
  2. Displacement puckering
  3. Tension puckering
  4. Shrinkage puckering

1. Feeding puckering: Feed puckering is asymmetrical to the seam (fabric is rippled and uneven on one side of the seam only). Differential feeding of the two fabrics during sewing leads to feed pucker in the seam.

2. Displacement puckering: Displacement pucker is symmetric at the left and right of the seam; the pucker remains visible after the thread is clipped between adjacent needle penetrations.

3. Tension puckering: Tension pucker is symmetric pucker to the left and right of the seam; the pucker is removed after thread is clipped between adjacent needle penetrations.

4. Shrinkage puckering: Shrinkage puckering appears similar to tension pucker and occurs due to differential shrinkage of fabric to that of sewing threads.

Causes and Remedies of Seam Puckering:
After completing the sewing activities seam puckering may be visible on fabric but some are visible in later when the garments is ironed or washed. A synthetic fabric generally has a tendency to show up seam puckering.

A seam puckering is the most common and frequently occurring sewing defects of all the others defects. It dominance sewing quality and create bad appearance on garments. Researchers who are seriously investigated the main problems of seam puckering and finally find out six reasons of puckering. These are below…….

Reasons of seam puckering:

  1. Puckering due to differential fabric stretch
  2. Puckering due to differential fabric dimensional instability
  3. Puckering due to tension of sewing thread
  4. Puckering due to shrinkage of sewing machine
  5. Puckering due to structural jamming
  6. Puckering due to unmatched pattern

Sewing thread is once and again blamed for causing puckering. But there are some other factors that occur puckering on fabric. They are given below:

  1. Fabric structure
  2. Seam construction
  3. Needle size
  4. Material feeding problem
  5. Wrong thread tensions
  6. Unsuitable thread

Prevention’s of seam puckering:

  1. Use suitable feed mechanism
  2. Use suitable feed mechanism and take more care during sewing
  3. Remove thread tension
  4. Use synthetic sewing thread
  5. Use suitable fabric or thread
  6. Change or rectify pattern

How to Fix Seam Puckering?

  1. Puckering is a boon when we talk of denim shirt, trousers. We needed this defect to create effect after washing.
  2. There are micro forces present while handling fabrics, stitches.
  3. Selection of right needle point is also very important aspect to reduce puckering.
  4. Fabric should be stitched according to the grain line reduce the puckering.

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