Splicing is the technique used while spreading in the cutting room, which incorporates cutting the fabric across its width to overlap layers in between the ends of the lay. It can be used for different reasons:
- Firstly, to accommodate for fabric defects, preventing any final cut pieces from the defective part of the fabric
- Splicing is also used when the fabric roll being spread ends in the middle of the marker, and the end bit length is sufficient to cut one complete garment piece
- Lastly, it is used when there is a change in the size, i.e. the pattern pieces of each size have not been mixed in the marker (e.g. on step markers)
Hence, splicing can simply be understood as the process of overlapping the cut ends of two fabric pieces to ensure continuous spreading. When splicing fabrics, a splicing line should be selected, making sure that no one of the patterns on the marker is cut incomplete. So the position of splicing is crucial, and it depends on the fabric quality and the marker.
Splice Marks are used (as marked points) in the marker where fabrics can be cut and the next piece can be overlapped to maintain a continuous lay spread. To keep the splices accurate, markings on both the sides of the marker should be done.
Splice marks can be of two kinds
Straight splices:A straight splice line is marked across the marker width on the spreading table. This is used in cases where pattern pieces meet edge to edge across the fabric width, with no pieces sticking out of the straight line. For this method, fabric is overlapped, 5cm on either side of the splicing line.
Interlock splices: In this splicing method, crossed diagonal lines are marked on the table to keep it easily differentiable from the straight splice marks. These crossed marks indicate the ends of the pattern pieces overlapping on the marker. The start and finish of the pattern pieces sticking put are marked with two splice lines, and fabric is overlapped 5cm on both sides of interlock splice mark.
The fabric that is used as the spicing overlap is a waste generated during the process. This overlapped fabric waste is known as the Splicing Loss, which is affected by the distance between the splicing points. To minimize this splicing waste, markers should be made to ensure minimal fabric overlapping.
As a general practice in garment factories, splicing overlap is not calculated and accounted for. Factories do keep track of other fabric losses like end bits, damages, etc, but when it comes to splicing, they used the available fabric as it is.
To optimize this whole process, setting up of a standard splicing overlap is crucial. This will ensure that lay men are aware of the amount of splicing overlap they need for that particular lay. In absence of this standard, there are two scenarios that can emerge:
- Excess overlap, which is simply unnecessary fabric wastage. Also, since overlap is more, there is a possibility of getting more than planned cut pieces, which then affects the accuracy during the bundling and numbering processes
- Less than required overlap, resulting in incomplete cut pieces and/or less than the required number of cut pieces, thus generating the need for panel replacements which could have been avoided
Splicing should preferably be done for smaller pattern pieces and should be avoided for larger garments like trousers. For bigger garments, adjustments using end bits prove more efficient than splicing.