Steps to manufacture long and short sleeve undershirts having non-elasticized compression using natural fibers.
The first step is to create a digital pattern that describes how the spindles on the braiding machine move. Historically braiding machines had pattern control using punch cards similar to a player piano. Today we can design the pattern using a computer program that speaks to the machine.
Choosing the best yarns has been a difficult lesson. We've experimented with many different size and types of filaments. For the bodywear our preference is natural yarns such as organic and Supima cotton and soft, Tencel and soft, washable wools. We use a small amount of elastane for the bands.
After we've chosen our filament types we spool and load the them onto spindles to braid into new hybrid yarns that will be used to produce the final garment.
We like the hybrid braided yarns for their ability to resist stretching. By incorporating TENCEL filaments with cotton and other natural fibers, a soft yarn can be created that exhibits conformal qualities and time tested longevity when used in garments.
The hybrid yarn spindles are loaded onto the 96 or 128 spindle lace braiding machine - ready to perform their pattering dance. The lace braiding machine is the only circular braiding machine wherein the spindles can move forward, back and around each other in countless pattern combinations. It is this dance that allows for the creation of zonally patterned products with built in function.
The dancing machine intertwines the yarns in helically interconnected patterns that produce fabric that is the bodywear. The spindle's path is controlled by a computer program that was digitally created by way of imagination.
The result is fully pattered bodywear fabric ready to be cut, laced and fitted with elastic bands.
In 2019 we began producing our own custom elastic bands using elastane filaments and yarns that match the bodywear. Our mesh patterned bands are softer than traditional elastic bands and stretch in longitude and latitude directions.
The undershirt fabric ends are sealed in preparation for lacing at the front and back and sewing the elastic bands to the bottom of the shirt and sleeves.
For an undershirt, we lace the front and back of the fabric together in the center. Lacing vs. sewing allows for the uninterrupted connection of yarn linkages throughout the whole structure. Such integration facilitates the fluid shaping of the garment in response to movement and tensional forces.
After sewing elastic bands onto the bottom of the shirt and sleeves we have a finished undershirt ready to wash and wear.
Tensengral's automated new technology allows for the manufacture of bodywear with virtually no waste, having as few as one ingredient and able to provide structure by way of patterned filaments. By using biodegradable elastane Tensengral bodywear could be composted at the end of life.
We've created a design and manufacturing process to produce simple, functional and aesthetically exciting bodywear. The efficiency of Tensengral's automation makes possible production in the United States, with design and yarn choices limited only to one's imagination. The future use of AI will facilitate the creation of new patterns for products in all categories who seek to build the lightest and strongest.
lace braider lesson 5.16.2020
"Patterning has enlightened me to the necessity for things to be fluently linked together to function properly -- the best piece of material I can produce for any number of things happens when all the fibers in the unit are linked to each other, -- sort of like the internet provides for us now, allowing us all as human beings to be linked together through some sort of mysterious electrical network." ~Bradford C. Jamison