Shima Seiki WHOLEGARMENT® Technology

WHOLEGARMENT® technology produces a garment three dimensionally in one entire piece and requires no further construction processes, unless desired. WHOLEGARMENT® uses the latest technology with no waste and is particularly beneficial when labor is expensive as it reduces the process, time and cost required to construct a shaped garment.

Italy is currently the biggest user of WHOLEGARMENT® technology, not only due to a large consumer market but also because the industry is supported through education. Italy has outstanding knitwear courses resulting in innovative designers and highly skilled programmers that enable the technology to be utilised to the best of its capability.

The whole world has begun to embrace this technology including New Zealand, United Kingdom and China amongst many other countries.


WHOLEGARMENT® technology can be applied to a wide range of industries including:

  • Sports:
    • Seamless wetsuits for better comfort, warmth and mobility
    • Seamless running footwear
    • High performance garments with no seams for maximum comfort and mobility
  • Automotive:
    • Thermal covers for hoses made with yarn that can resist temperatures up to 500 degrees celsius
    • Muffler covers
  • Medical:
    • Supportive braces and circulation socks, easy to dry fabrics that draw sweat away from the body
    • Garments for people with disabilities that are easy to wear, comfortable, thermal, and provide circulation
    • Wheel chair covers
  • Space exploration:
    • Parts for shuttles
  • Industrial:
    • Knitting with Kevlar
    • Glass fiber covers for pipes that can resist temperatures up to 500° celsius
  • Furniture:
    • Upholstery for couches and chairs
  • Home wares:
    • Wine glass and bottle covers

And of course Fashion.


Visible benefits

  • No seams on shoulder or side, ideal for a good fit and silhouette
  • Beautiful draping
  • Lace can be made without interference of seams
  • Light finish for bulky garments by elimination of bulky seams
  • Different layers of fabric with no seams make a smoother transition

Stretch Benefits

Continuity of knit fabric is maintained as there are no seams

  • Retains elasticity
  • Increased mobility

Pattern based silhouette

  • Have comfort of 3D knitting
  • No tugging under sleeve produced by small gusset being knitting in under arm.
  • Second skin approach

Material savings and ecological knitwear

  • No waste

The chart below shows the comparison of waste by each method of manufacturing when making a medium size ladies sweater.

Cut and Sew Shaping WHOLEGARMENT®
30% loss of fabric due to cutting out of pattern on square of fabric = 130 grams wasted per garment. 14% material loss from 1 cm seams being knitted =700cm2 per garment.6% of total fabric area for yarn required to link garment = 42 grams. No waste – no linking required
Per 1000 garments:130 g x 1000 = 130 Kg of waste    
130 Kg waste yarn = 48 sheep (based on 2.7 kg per sheep)
Final garment weight = 300g Final garment weight = 136 grams Final garment weight = 128 grams

Quick response to market

The product is completed on a machine so the garments are ready for immediate shipment. As a result of digital software used on the machines the quality control can be guaranteed and repeat orders can be done exactly as they were the first time. As the garments require no linking quality control is very easy to maintain.

Orders can also be done on demand.

Gauge Range

WHOLEGARMENT® machines are available in 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 15 gauge.

WHOLEGARMENT® Design Benefits

When producing garments in large or small gauges by shaping the seams, it can interfere with both the design and comfort. After construction, garments knitted with a large gauge machine (chunky knits) such as bulky jackets then also have bulky seams to match. By making the garment using WHOLEGARMENT® technology, the bulky seams are eliminated resulting in lighter weight, better fit and increased comfort.

In contrast, fine knit garments can be more difficult to sew therefore eliminating the assembly. This is a great asset as the production time and cost is reduced. Quality control is also guaranteed as the chance of human error involved in linking the garment eliminated. Fine knit garments can also be designed to have an element of transparency. Using WHOLEGARMENT® technology means no visual interference by seams, diminishing the need to consider the seams creating lines in the design of the garment.

Finer yarns and gauges mean that you can add more detail to a garment and produce a better drape. Nicer silhouettes, shaping and draping can also be achieved

Depending on the type of WHOLEGARMENT® machine, different yarns can be knitted on the inside and outside of the garment.  For example, cotton can be knitted on the inside and wool on the outside, which is of particular benefit to people with sensitive skin.

Alternatively, silk could be knitted on the inside and a  textured yarn on the outside, or a loose knit on the outer layer and a fine knit on the inside layer creating more interest.  The holes created can highlight the beautiful yarn used on the inside.

Eliminating the need for added trims means you have to consider this in the design process – you can carry over stitch detail into the neckline and arms resulting in an elegant finish. When a garment has an all over rib you can also carry this up to the neck trim giving a nicer continuity to the garment.  Trims, placket and details have a nicer finished when done all together on the garment as in WHOLEGARMENT® knitting.

WHOLEGARMENT® allows more panels (gores) to be knitted, making it much easier and cheaper to assemble as it is all done on the machine, cutting out labor costs and giving a nicer finish.

 WHOLEGARMENT® technology also allows the garment to be fully reversible. However, you have to be much more careful with the design as there are technical limitations, such as  the amount of puffiness you could create on a sleeve . No seam lines allow a stronger fabric and more beautiful finish. As a second skin garment it is much more comfortable and provides a better fit.

A range of fabric textures are available on the one machine. For example, a 10gg machine can also produce 7 and 8 gauge fabrics.  Gaugeless knitting on the Shima X machines is also possible by the use of a slide needle that allows a wider variety of yarns to be used.  Yarn type and tension can also make a huge difference to the handle of the fabric.