At DTMX we want to make the most funkiest and comfortable socks you’ve ever worn, but we had to overcome some big technical hurdles to do so.
As an ever-increasing number of men stop wearing ties, socks have become the new way in which men can inject a dash of color or personality into their outfit. Even so, most men’s dress socks come in only a few patterns: dotted, striped, argyle, etc. The crazier the design, the more the quality of the yarn being used suffers. At DTMX we are trying to manufacture a better sock by improving the process by which socks are actually designed. And it’s a surprisingly complicated problem.
Actually as it turns out, plenty of them. There are many logistical issues and design trade-offs that make it expensive, difficult, and sometimes impossible to make a sock design into a reality.
There are many compromises that end up being made during this translation process. Color is a big problem. A knitting mill might not have the exact color of yarn needed for the design, requiring an alternative hue to be used. Because of the expense of dying yarn, mills tend to control their own yarn inventory, and if a color outside of their palette is required, they will charge a premium to have it made. In addition, most knitting machines are only specked to use a maximum of six colors in a single row of stitches. If you use more than that, there’s an increased risk of the machine jamming, just like pressing two keys on an old typewriter at the same time. This can result in dulling the spectrum of a sock’s design, or even eliminating colors entirely.
Socks manufacturing is not a high-tech industry, but it involves many detailed processes. Each section of the production must coordinate with each other to ensure quality requirements and time-controlling. In this post we will talk about socks manufacturing process in detail.
The whole socks manufacturing process does involve many steps, and the coordination between these steps makes the whole process time-consuming.
1. Pattern coding
When we come up with a new sock design, the first step is to send it off to the mill and see if it’s even possible to be made. Once at the mill, a commercial knitting machine is taken offline and a professional coding engineer is tasked with trying to figure out how to best translate the design into a pattern the knitting machine can understand. He transfer vector designs into bitmap designs and then codes that the knitting machines can read. Every pixel of the bitmap design means a thread with the specific color will be knitted through.. Considering the fact that there can be 100,000 stitches in a sock, it’s a time-consuming process that can take a couple days.
2. Yarn Preparation
Raw materials are washed, spun into yarn and colored at factory. The yarn then comes to big yarn spools. A multitude of needles then knit the various threads into a series of interlocking loops. These loops form the tube of woven material used in making socks. For the best possible fit and comfort, each individual garment part and size is made on individual stitching machines with different diameter needles. Computerized sock knitting machines work at high speeds and can easily be programmed to produce a wide variety of socks.
3. Knitting socks
Using programmed codes in step 1, multitude of needles then knit the various threads into a series of interlocking loops. Computerized sock knitting machines work at high speeds and can easily be programmed to produce a wide variety of socks. 1st inline-inspection is implemented here to avoid mistakes like length, trimming, interlocking etc.
4. Linking/Sewing socks
Knitting makes a cylinder tube, thus we need to the sewing process in order to link the separated toe parts together. This is usually done by machine, which is quick. Sometimes this process is also done by manual work, which costs a lot of time. Since the socks are sewed one by one, our skilled workers can easily find defective socks and clear them away from the majority, which is the 2nd inline-inspection.
The boarding process is actually implemented to keep the socks in good shape, so that they can easily be paired and packed. One more thing to note here is that the boarding step also keep the socks clean and soft by experiencing steams under a fixed pressure and temperature. After boarding, the socks will naturally dried.
6. Pairing & Labeling socks
This is the final inspection step to see if there is any deflection on the socks. The left and right socks are paired together and then passed on to be labeled.
There’s been tons of design innovation in socks over the last few years, particularly with athletic and technical socks, but nobody’s been able to marry that innovation with fine designs and comfortable, natural fibers, which is the premise of DTMX SOCKS.