Making women's triathlon shorts and tops?
Posted: Apr 09 2014
Making The Best Women's Triathlon Clothing
Someone actually asked how we go about making endurance sports clothing, so we thought it made sense to provide a brief overview. We’ll focus on our women’s triathlon tops and shorts for this post. If by some incredible stretch, people find this interesting, we’ll cover a few of our other items later.
First, it all starts with the design. Kebby is the Founder and Designer and she’ll go through 15 or 20 designs before she selects one for production. The inspiration for the designs come from the runways at fashion week, her upbringing on the east coast and from experiences she’s had in southern California. We call the motif (if you will) east coast prep meets west coast chill. The designs are usually done using a couple of software packages from Adobe like Illustrator and Photoshop.
Once, the design is finalized, it’s time to pick the fabric. Coeur’s fabric is actually made from scratch at a mill in Los Angeles. The components of the fabric are mixed to maximize softness, performance and aesthetics. It usually takes about four weeks for the fabric to be made.
While the fabric is being made, the team discusses any needed changes to the pattern for the triathlon kits. Some companies elect to go with premade clothes and just print their designs on them. While that is perfectly fine, we elected to design our clothing from the ground up so that we can change the shape and the features as needed. One example of this is with our women’s tri shorts where we removed the seams from the chamois. It took about five tries to get this dialed in but we’re pretty jazzed about it now because it actually eliminates that seam between your…your…how shall we say it? Your southern area and the saddle on your bike.
The seamless-chamois. Helps protect the...the...southern area.
In any event, if the pattern is fine, we go to cutting. The fabric is cut into panels and then we print them. We print in-house with what is called sublimation equipment. Sublimation is an amazing process where a special ink is turned into a gas by heat and actually infused into the fabric as opposed to being on top of it like screen printing.
Once we finish sublimating in-house, we send panels to be sewn. Just like the fabric, we sew everything here in Los Angeles. While that is more expensive than moving the work offshore, we think it allows us to better control quality. On a side note, in case you didn’t know, sewing women’s tri tops, tri shorts, cycling jerseys and the like is incredibly complex. Most factories just cannot do it. A special sewing machine called a flatlock is required and the sewers need to know how to work with stretch fabric and leg gripper. We’re fortunate that we’ve found four factories that can work with us and we’ve developed a great partnership with all of them.
We're lucky to be in L.A.
Once the panels and all the accessories (i.e. leg gripper, zippers, care labels etc.) have been sent to the factory, it takes another four weeks before we have finished goods.
The finished product. Women's triathlon tops and shorts. Made in the U.S.A.
So there you have it. Triathlon clothing construction from start to finish. Happy Training!