Field Notes

People in Production: Fuse Technician

13 July 2017

Posted in: Good to Know, Industry, H&F Presents, Fashion Thinking, Opinion

Hawes & Freer presents ‘People in Production’. An insight into the people, brands and roles in the production side of the New Zealand fashion industry. 
We talked to Anjila, the Fuse Technician for Cutting Services and Hawes & Freer about her role. She talks about the importance of checking your fabrics and how fusing can preserve your garment.
Anjila - Fuse Technician
Anjila - Fuse Technician for Hawes & Freer and Cutting Services
What part do you have in the NZ fashion industry?

I am a fuse technician who works part time at Hawes & Freer and Cutting Services. My role is to fuse garments for the NZ fashion industry where I get sent many different types of fusing’s and fabrics on a daily basis to fuse for a designer and their upcoming collection. I am at the beginning of the production chain, so I suppose there is a bit of quality control in my position, as I need to check the fabric and the fusing before and after it has been through the fuse machine. This helps cutters and designers work out what stage any flaws could happen in the production process.

Would you say that fusing for the industry is a demanding job, if so why?

Yes it is demanding, cutters and designers want the best and they want someone who knows what they are doing and for them to do it well. You also have to make sure the fusing is glued to the correct side of the fabric and that if the fabric has a pattern it is fused the same way or you will be able to notice once the garment is complete. You always have to double check everything.

Why is fusing a garment so important?

The whole purpose of fusing is to make sure the fabric lasts longer and to give it that extra stability. It also helps prevent lots of fraying of the fabric and it is easier for machinists to sew, as there is more of a grip due to the backing on it.

For people who don’t know much about the fusing process, tell us a bit more about it.

When it comes to fusing it is important to use a large high quality machine, especially when you need it to fit most garments and patterns. A machine is good for all types of fusing because it is digital and it allows you to adjust the pressure and temperature. This then ensures the fabric and fusing will stick together properly and you won’t run into issues once the garment has been dispatched for retail stores. 

It is vital that designers run fuse tests with different fusing’s for their fabric. This will avoid problems in the future and will identify a suitable fusing for the cloth. Problems you can have include strikethrough, where the glue comes through the garment – you absolutely want to avoid this. 

What does a typical day involve with fusing? Any challenges? 

The process is generally the same day to day, but you do get different designers with different fabrics and fusing’s. Challenges I sometimes run into can be the shrinkage of the fabrics or colour changes once it has gone through the machine. Even though you can have a few issues every now and then, I always try to get good results.

What skills & qualities do you think are important for your role and why?

You have to have a lot of patience or you’ll get a big mess. It can be a time consuming process so you need to be concentrating at all times. You will need to have some fabric and fusing knowledge to know if the cloth could shrink or if the fusing is too heavy for the fabric. I would also say you need to be a problem solver. You never just get given one piece of fusing, you can get a whole collection. If something goes wrong on the first piece you need to work out how to amend it quickly. People have deadlines and you still have to meet them.

If you could be doing any job in fashion what would it be and why? 

I quite like this position because it is flexible, it is all about supply and demand. The busier it is, the more work I get and if it is quiet I get to enjoy some down time.  

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