Fabric relaxation and pre-shrinking are crucial for an accurate cut and to avoid wastage.

In garment manufacturing, fabric relaxation and pre-shrinking are two vital parts of the fabric preparation process. Without these processes, fabrics cannot be cut and shaped correctly. Manufacturing processes can determine the longevity of clothing. Keep reading to learn how manufacturers ensure accurate cuts via fabric relaxation.

Why is fabric relaxation important?

Fabric is delivered to manufacturers in large rolls, so the first step in textile production is to unroll it. Depending on the fabric type, factories leave unrolled fabrics to settle for 12 to 48 hours to release the tension they get from being rolled up. Fabric manufacturers need to understand the properties of material types to know how long fabrics should be relaxed. Stretch fabrics, for instance, need a far longer relaxation time than 100 percent cotton fabrics. Too much or too little tension in unrolled fabrics can cause problems later on in manufacturing and impact the measuring and shaping process that is necessary for an accurate cut.

Factories with a long backlog of clients may reduce or even remove the fabric relaxation process. But this only hinders production in the long run. Unrolling alone is not enough to relax fabrics and tense fabrics can retract and shrink further down the line. Imagine the frustration of receiving a bulk order for a client and skipping the relaxation process to save time and sending the fabric to the cutting room only to discover it has shrunk. That fabric is now cut to the wrong size, meaning the entire order has to be abandoned and restarted. Factories that try to cut corners on fabric relaxation are doing themselves no favors.

Luckily, machines can help. Fabric relaxing machines, as they are called, reduce fabric tension by gently unrolling fabrics as they pass through metal feeders.

Fabric relaxing machines are designed for busy factories working to tight deadlines. They expedite the fabric relaxation process, slashing the number of relaxation hours by half for more efficient production. The machines are suitable for all types of material, including heavier fabrics such as denim. With fabric relaxing machines from OSHIMA, textile producers can rest assured that their fabrics will be perfectly relaxed and ready for cutting.

Why is pre-shrinking fabric important?

There is also another way to mitigate the effects of natural fabric shrinkage. Ironically, it involves deliberately shrinking fabric during a process called pre-shrinking.

Have you ever put your clothes in a washer or dryer, only for them to come out small enough to fit a two-year-old? Fabric shrinkage is normal during manufacturing, as heat produced by wet processing releases tension in the fabric, returning polymers to their original, smaller size. Fabric types differ in how much in size they threaten to shrink. Some fabrics, such as synthetic fibers, are liable to shrink less since they absorb less water. Other fabrics, such as rayon can shrink up to 10 percent during production. Luckily, fabric manufacturers can take measures to control the amount of shrinkage through a process called pre-shrinking, so that there are no nasty surprises later on.

Textile experts have been interested in fabric shrinkage for many years, trying to find its root cause and ways to avoid it. Clothing manufacturers must have a deep understanding of textile properties to optimize pre-shrinking and prevent more shrinking further down the production line. The stakes are high. If pre-shrinking is not done properly, then the fabric has to be thrown away, causing wastage and delayed production orders.

There is another benefit to pre-shrinking. Clothes that have been through the pre-shrinking process are less likely to shrink in standard domestic washing machines, as fabric tension is already released during production. If pre-shrinking is done properly, manufacturers can write more accurate information on product care labels so that customers can learn how to take care of their clothing. For these reasons, pre-shrinking is a simple but dependable way for fabric manufacturers to ensure product quality and keep customers happy.

Although shrinking is a natural part of textile production, manufacturers have the power to prevent over-shrinking with help from the latest technology. OSHIMA shrinking machines use steam to assist the pre-shrinking process, offering high-temperature processing for various fabrics. OSHIMA OSP-200011/2000III fabric shrinking machine come with a measuring wheel that accurately records fabric length after setting, allowing for more accurate shrinkage. They even have a heating device and vacuum cooling system to expedite drying and fabric setting and thereby ensure a more consistent finish. Armed with OSHIMA steam pre-shrinking machines, factories can handily face the threat of over-shrinking and satisfy their customers with quickly delivered and high-quality products.


Fabric relaxation and pre-shrinking are two crucial parts of the fabric production process, allowing better handling of fabric and mitigating shrinkage later in production. Factories that try to cut corners only risk faulty orders, fabric wastage, and dissatisfied clients. This translates to lost orders and higher expenses for factories. Fabric relaxing machines from OSHIMA relieve manufacturers of the burden of an otherwise time-consuming process so they can focus on delivering excellent end goods to customers. These fabric pre-shrinking machines give factories greater control over shrinkage levels, helping them to produce a more accurate finished product. This greater control also benefits consumers, as it lets them avoid the headache of retrieving tiny garments from the washing machine. Let us know today how we can streamline your production process.