By admin       2017-12-26

Knitwear garments made of silk would soon glitter in India as the collaborative project between the central silk board (CSB) and the NIFT-TEA college has successfully blended silk and cotton for manufacturing garments. In the project, mulberry, the most popular silk variety in the country, and eri, one of the three wild silks, were blended in different proportions with cotton for producing new materials. "CSB was taking efforts to promote the silk beyond saris and dhotis. To experiment with knitwear garments, there is no better place than Tirupur. That's how, the collaboration with the NIFT-TEA college started five years ago. The industry had necessary infrastructure and we brought technical and experts support," said Jaganathan, scientist D, central silk technological research institute in Bangalore. C P Senthil Kumar, head of R&D department at NIFT-TEA college, said, "The knitwear industry in Tirupur mainly produce cotton products. Garments made by blending man-made fibres including polyester form only a small section of work." "During the project, the CSB had worked with a few interested knitwear garment manufacturers. Though the cotton and silk have different natural qualities, blending them in weaving was successful. But the research team here had to toil to find ways to blend them and make them as a whole-knitted garment. Because for the knitting process, the yarns should be finer than that of the woven fabric," said Senthil Kumar. They changed certain parameters in both the knitting and dyeing processes to ensure balance in stability of the two blended yarns, he added. Comparing to 100% cotton or cotton-polyester knitwear, silk-cotton knitwear has higher thermal insulation. Especially eri silk could be warmer than other. So, this light-weight garments could be utilised as winter garments, Senthil Kumar said. On the question of silk at least 10 times costlier than cotton and the silk-cotton knitwear could be tried only as value-added products, Jaganathan said, "Nowadays a section of people could afford apparel even for 5000 or more. The silk cotton knitwear product could be made and marketed for 3000." These additional varieties give the knitwear industry options for diversification, said Senthil Kumar. China has already proven that the silk-cotton product has a good commercial market. "The research team has made some garments in women and kids segments. With the product in hand, the knitwear manufacturers could market it among their clienteles," Jaganathan said. Last week, the NIFT-TEA college and the CSB had conducted a meeting for the leading knitwear manufacturers regarding the silk-cotton products. Many manufacturers requested the organisers to help them to make the product cost-effective

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