As part of our underwear design, a main component of the style is going to be a 1.5-inch wide elastic waistband. This is a design and comfort component you see on a lot of men’s underwear, but not women’s. And why not?
Yes, I know that Calvin Klein also makes a version of these men’s boxer briefs in women’s bikini’s. But, on the whole, designers stick with smaller waistbands for women’s underwear – like this Victoria’s Secret bikini cut, for example. Jockey, Hanes, etc. will have waistbands like this for women. The other important aspect of the Calvin Klein design to note is that the CK name/logo is woven into the elastic waistband. For our women’s underwear, we want to have our logo woven into the waistband.
In fact, calling the waistband an elastic waistband at all is technically incorrect in the fashion business. A manufacturer will correct you on this. This type of trim is known as jacquard. What’s that? I know, we had no idea either. It’s a complex process of weaving a pattern, in this case, a logo. Jacquard can be done using many different kinds of materials — including elastic fibers, to create the stretchiness needed in a waistband. A mechanized process of weaving that, in the 21st century seems to be a given in large manufacturing now, it revolutionized the process of textile manufacturing in 1801. Named after its inventor Joseph Jacquard, the machines first used punch cards with punched holes to control the textile-making process. As of the mid-1980s, jacquard weaving is done on electronic jacquard looms.
So how do we have our waistbands made with our logo in them? Contact a manufacturer of knitted, woven and webbed elastics. There are numerous directories online of worldwide manufacturers of fabric and trims for the apparel market. The two that we use the most and have found to be the most reliable and easy to navigate are Fashiondex and in New York City, The Fashion Center. The Fashion Center website is also a useful resource for all aspects of the NYC garment district, from navigating shops open to the public to finding a patternmaker.
I have been in close contact with two very helpful companies that make jacquard waistbands — North East Knitting, Inc. and Rhode Island Textile Company — to develop our waistband. The biggest issue is the minimum order requirement. Since the looms are so large and complicated to set up, the minimum order amount can be anywhere from 5,000 yards to 20,000 yards.
That’s a lot of waistbands!