Home > About WHOLEGARMENT
What is WHOLEGARMENT?
Typically, a knitted garment consists of separate parts—
the front and back body panels and the sleeves—which
are sewn together afterward. In sharp contrast, SHIMA
SEIKI’s revolutionary WHOLEGARMENT knitwear is
produced in one entire piece, three-dimensionally,
directly on the knitting machine. Consequently it
requires no expensive, time-consuming post-production
labor*, realizing a whole new kind of knitwear that
would otherwise require highly skilled sewing labor or
even be too complicated to sew. Because there are no
seams to hinder motion, WHOLEGARMENT knitwear is
suited to applications outside the realm of fashion as
well, such as sports, medical, and other examples of
wearable smart technology. Seam-free “second skin” fit
and comfort, in addition to the sustainable benefits of
knitwear that consumes only the material required to
produce a single garment, makes WHOLEGARMENT the
* Some designs may require partial stitching.
The Ideal Knitwear
WHOLEGARMENT and APEX3 ~ Revolution in Knit Production and Distribution
WHOLEGARMENT is not just knitwear without seams. It is a completely new category of knitwear, based on a rethink of all stages of the knit supply chain from planning and design, production, distribution, marketing and retail sales.
Bringing Knit Production Back to the Consumer Market
The textile industry has shifted its production base offshore in search of cheaper wages and a steady workforce, but WHOLEGARMENT has been the focus of attention concerning the recent trend in returning knit production back to markets in which knitted goods are consumed. With high productivity and efficiency as well as reduced reliance on labor, the re-shoring of knit manufacturing by means of WHOLEGARMENT production becomes a viable alternative to overseas production. Combined with the capabilities of SHIMA SEIKIʼs SDS-ONE APEX3 design system, WHOLEGARMENT production will surely bring about a revolutionary change in the global knitting industry in the 21st Century.
Comparison of conventional knit production and knit production using WHOLEGARMENT with SDS-ONE APEX3
What WHOLEGARMENT Means to You
A superior alternative to conventional knitting methods, seam-free construction of WHOLEGARMENT knitwear realizes substantial benefits unmatched by any other textile product. It opens up a world of opportunities for the designer, manufacturer, merchandiser, retailer and consumer alike.
Evolution of WHOLEGARMENT
Taking advantage of 3D knitting, everything from simple pullovers to brand new types of knitwear can be produced with special features unique to WHOLEGARMENT such as unprecedented fit, comfort and extended range of motion. Elements that normally require complicated sewing such as drape and shirr, as well as browsing effects for creating volume, can be knitted in. High productivity and efficiency, reduced dependence on labor as well as savings in resources makes WHOLEGARMENT knitting the ultimate form of knit production.
Beautiful flares and pronounced drapes
With 3D knitting based on patterns, flared skirts and dresses with multiple pattern pieces can be knit without seams. Hem width can be adjusted using flechage or short-row technique for producing silhouettes exactly as intended. Bold and elegant drapes can be created as well.
Weaving specialty yarn through knitted fabric yields a unique product that blends the soft stretch of knits with the sophistication of wovens (Select WHOLEGARMENT knitting machines can be fitted with the inlay carrier option for efficient inlay knitting).
Airdrobe (Air + Wardrobe)
WHOLEGARMENT knitwear using inlay technique is surprisingly light and comfortable. Jackets, coats and suits that are traditionally woven can now be produced as knitwear. By knitting on its side, stretch in the horizontal direction is combined with non-stretch yarn in the vertical direction that helps Airdrobe maintain its shape.
Elegance unique to WHOLEGARMENT
For lace patterns and transparent designs, seams are inevitably noticeable. However when produced as a WHOLEGARMENT item, the elegance of transparency itself can be enjoyed to its fullest.
Combining Different Materials
WHOLEGARMENT knitwear can perform changeovers in knit patterns, structures, textures and materials. Changeovers can also be performed for knitting-in special functional yarns in key positions for extra added-value. For example, moistureabsorbing, quick-dry material can be used under the arms, or soil-resistant yarns can be used at the collar and cuffs.
SHIMA SEIKI's new MACH2XS machine features,
for the first time in history, spring-type moveable
sinkers on a 4-bed WHOLEGARMENT knitting
machine. MACH2XS offers many evolutionary
improvements in WHOLEGARMENT production over
MACH2X and SWG-X, such as increased patterning
range, higher efficiency and stable, consistent
Thanks to the spring-type moveable sinkers on MACH2XS, flechage or short-row knitting is performed with ease. The garment can be shaped with increased accuracy that is true to the original pattern, 3D silhouettes and dimensional knit structures and details can be knitted-in with better ease. The capability of WHOLEGARMENT knitting can now reach far beyond what was previously possible.
With better control over flechage, MACH2XS is now capable of producing deeper necklines. New styles made possible with new capabilities in WHOLEGARMENT knitting help to raise the attraction of knitwear another notch.
Changing colors while using short-row technique yields designs that mimic intarsia patterns without sacrificing production efficiency.
Dimensional structure patterns
The spring-type moveable sinkers on MACH2XS allow for the production of dimensional fabric effects such as pintuck or ottoman stitches.
Knitting-in decorative elements
With MACH2XS flechage can be used to increase the amount of frill, ruffles and other details.
3D pants can be knitted on MACH2XS that feature more fabric on the front of the legs to form a natural bend at the knees, as well as other measures to increase comfort and form a more attractive silhouette.
A new generation of basic items
The refined capabilities of MACH2XS become most apparent in basic styles whose faults if any are difficult to hide.
Applications in WHOLEGARMENT Knitting
SHIMA SEIKI's WHOLEGARMENT knitting machine lineup
supports a variety of production needs. In addition
to MACH2XS, the compact and versatile SWG-N2
series, affectionately called “SWG-Mini,” is perfect for
producing smaller WHOLEGARMENT items, including
gloves, socks, leggings, braces, hats, scarves, neckties,
bags, purses, wallets and other accessories.
About SWG-N2 series
WHOLEGARMENT knitting beyond fashion
There is growing interest in WHOLEGARMENT knitting for applications outside the realm of fashion, including interior furnishings, sports, medical, automotive, aerospace and other industrial textiles. Of particular interest are the unique opportunities in technical textiles provided by WHOLEGARMENT technology for knitting seam-free tubes and performing 3D shaping.
Smart garment applications using conductive yarns are gaining attention within the sports, leisure, safety and medical markets. With no seams to break the conductivity of yarns throughout the garment, WHOLEGARMENT knitting can maximize the potential for such wearable technology.
Seam-free WHOLEGARMENT knitwear is ideal for infantwear, childrenswear and other hypoallergenic clothing, where seams can be a source of skin irritation. Stitching that prevents fabric from stretching is eliminated so it is easier to dress children as well. For the same reasons, WHOLEGARMENT knitwear is also ideal for medical, nursing and other healthcare applications.
Planning and Designing WHOLEGARMENT
WHOLEGARMENT knitting is not achieved by
WHOLEGARMENT knitting machines alone. Just as
important in its creation is the SDS-ONE APEX3 3D
design system. As the core system in SHIMA SEIKI's Total
Knitting System concept, APEX3 provides comprehensive
support for the entire knit supply chain from planning,
yarn design, knit design and evaluation to machine
programming and even sales promotion. What makes
APEX3 stand out above all other design systems, and what
helps make the WHOLEGARMENT production process so
effective, is its realistic simulation capabilities.
About SDS-ONE APEX3
Yarn creation and loop simulation
Even the basic element of knitwear—the yarn—can be scanned-in or created from scratch to be used in loop simulations. Even yarn count and yarn ends are taken into account for simulations so real they can replace actual samplemaking.
Patternmaking and grading
APEX3 is equipped with full-featured patternmaking software for producing patterns that allow production of new and unique, high-quality WHOLEGARMENT items. Correct sizing by use of grading software yields an optimum silhouette for each size.
3D fitting simulation
Patterns can be sewn together virtually and draped onto a 3D body for evaluation, on which loop simulation fabrics can be positioned for 3D image simulation.
Realtime 3D View
Designs and colorways can be checked and evaluated on a 3D model wearing the product, while making changes in realtime.
3D virtual sample
With a new 3D graphics engine for producing simulations with even higher quality, ultra-realistic Virtual Sampling minimizes the costly time-, energy- and resource-consuming samplemaking process for quick and efficient evaluation and shortened leadtimes. In addition these images can be used in presale activities for stimulating demand and determining market potential for optimizing inventory.
20 Years of WHOLEGARMENT Innovation
Introduced at the International Textile Machinery (ITMA)
exhibition in 1995 to world acclaim and described as the
“Magic of the Orient,” WHOLEGARMENT knitting technology
has undergone much progress since, in productivity and
efficiency, flexibility, reliability and expanded patterning
capability as well as product range. The benefits of
WHOLEGARMENT are now far beyond what is expected from
just the elimination of seams. 20 years of innovation has
prepared WHOLEGARMENT to take on knit production in the
21st century and beyond.
After two decades of WHOLEGARMENT innovation, the technology has come of age. Just as a 20-year old assumes new responsibilities as an adult and begins contributing to society, WHOLEGARMENT is likewise expected to take on an instrumental role in mainstream production in the coming age.
A remarkable number of patents
SHIMA SEIKIʼs worldwide patent applications number in the thousands; over 5,000 to be more precise*. Of these, over 2,000 are related to WHOLEGARMENT development.
A rewarding experience
SHIMA SEIKI and its founder Masahiro Shima have
been recognized for their many achievements
concerning WHOLEGARMENT knitting.
1996 18th Senken Award, Senken Shimbun Newspaper
1997 Business Manager Award, Zaikai Kenkyusho
1999 19th Business Leaders' Award, Mainichi Shimbun Newspaper
1999 Award for Achievement in Industrial Property , Japan Patent Office
2002 Mainichi Fashion Grand Prix Amiko Kujiraoka Award, Mainichi Shimbun Newspaper
2004 Special Achievement Award, Senken Shimbun Newspaper
2005 Kansai Zaikai Seminar Award 2005 Grand Prize, Kansai Economic Federation and the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives
2005 Design Excellent Company Award, Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization
2006 Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award
2007 53rd Okochi Memorial Foundation Grand Production Prize
2010 Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity
2012 Induction, American Textile Hall of Fame
2014 Honorary Doctorate, Drexel University
2015 Grand Prize, The Kigyoka Prize
Evolution from gloves
From the moment the first glove fell through the chute of SHIMA SEIKIʼs original product, the fully automated glove knitting machine, Masahiro Shima was already inspired as to the direction the company would be taking into the 21st century. The hint was in the glove, itself a WHOLEGARMENT product. Turning the glove upside-down and joining the middle-three fingers to form the body, with the pinky and thumb as the sleeves and the cuff portion as the collar, a tiny sweater is formed.
Over the years there have been countless innovations in both knitting and design system technology that have contributed to the development of WHOLEGARMENT knitting. Most innovations at SHIMA SEIKI were no more than milestones reached in the pursuit to achieve that goal.
Supporting the WHOLEGARMENT User
With 20 years of experience in the development, manufacture and marketing of WHOLEGARMENT knitting machines, we have firmly established an effective customer support program along the way. Now that WHOLEGARMENT knitting is playing a greater role in global knit production, our commitment to customer support is greater than ever.
WHOLEGARMENT product tags
WHOLEGARMENT product tags are available for use by knitting companies, apparel companies, designers and merchandisers associated with the production and promotion of WHOLEGARMENT knitwear, identifying them at the retail level as genuine WHOLEGARMENT products in order to distinguish them from conventional knitwear. Over 12 million WHOLEGARMENT product tags have been sold to date (as of February 2016).
The Communication Space
Design Centers in New York and Milan, as well as showrooms at our Wakayama headquarters, Tokyo and West Japan branch offices, Los Angeles, Derbyshire, Seoul, Shanghai and Hong Kong always have the latest samples on display, and provide opportunities for strategic meetings among designer, apparel merchandiser, yarn spinner and knit manufacturer.
The latest trend information
Production of sample collections and participation in various fashion events allows SHIMA SEIKI to offer the latest trend information to customers in a timely manner.
SHIMA SEIKI offers training courses for
WHOLEGARMENT technology at its headquarters
in Japan, or at subsidiaries, branch offices and
The SHIMA SEIKI Usersʼ Site
Registered Users can access the SHIMA SEIKI
Users' Site for browsing and downloading from
our knit sample archive of more than 10,000
items, including over 8,500 WHOLEGARMENT
items. Training videos and other technical
support are also available online.
SHIMA SEIKI Usersʼ Site