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Why Does the Structural Integrity of Flame-Resistant Protective Clothing Hang by a Thread?
The transition from rolls of flame-resistant (FR) fabrics to cut pieces having various sizes and shapes to the assembly of a finished FR protective garment requires an understanding about structural integrity. Essentially, this means answering the question: How well do the cut pieces that are joined together with FR sewing thread compare to the strength and performance of the FR fabric being used to make the garment before the fabric was cut? The functions performed by this technically engineered strand of yarn—starting with the production processes used to manufacture a garment and then later, during the service life of the garment—are incredible when compared to the small percentage that sewing thread contributes to the selling price of the finished garment. This paper addresses the question posed in the title by identifying and explaining the following topics: what sewing thread is, a comparison of FR sewing thread types and performance characteristics, the interdependence of fabrics and sewing thread, how seam selection and stitch selection are important, and how construction plus care and maintenance can add value that results in long-term service.
flame-resistant (FR) protective clothing, FR sewing thread, meta-aramid yarns, seam break, sewn seam strength
Atlantic Thread & Supply Co., Baltimore, MD