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Clothes made with glue?
Nike, Adidas and a few high-fashion names like Armani and Prada are giving this new technique a try.
September 6, 2005: 12:44 PM EDT
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer
The "no-sew" sportswear clothes from Petratex use special heat-binding process to "stick" the seams together.

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Guys all over the world are going to love this, and probably plenty of women too -- clothes made with glue that promise never to come apart at the seams.

No, it's not a joke. A company in Portugal, which boasts some big-name sports and fashion brands as its clientele, has developed a proprietary technique to make garments that don't need to be sewn.

They're "glued" together at the seam, instead.

"We developed the technique three years ago and we're still improving the process," said Catarina Reguenga, marketing manager with Petratex in Portugal.

Reguenga said Petratex has already received orders for its no sew garments from companies such as Nike (Research) and Adidas for sportswear and activewear clothing.

"Last year we supplied Nike with 100,000 no-sew items specifically for the professional soccer teams," she said,

Can the glue come apart at the seams?

Said Reguenga, "No. We've done repeated tests on that. Professional soccer players have worn our no sew clothes. The binding is very strong and resistant. Even Nike and Adidas made several inspections and approved our process."

Teresa Ribeiro, a technical engineer with the company, said the no-thread technique involves using a tape made of "polyutherane", a see through elastic rubber, to line the edges of the fabric that form the seams.

But instead of sewing the seams together, Ribeiro said that a heating machine is used to "melt" the tape, in effect bonding the two edges of the fabric together.

For high-performance athletic wear, Ribeiro said a process involving ultrasound is used first.

"The ultrasound binds fabric together. Then we put the tape along the seams and use heat to bind the edges," Ribeiro said.

There's a drawback to the process, however. "If we make a mistake the first time, we can't go back and repair it," Ribeiro said. Also, the process on average takes 15 minutes longer than using a sewing machine for the same task.

Although she wouldn't comment on the prices of "no sew" clothes, Reguenga said on average they would cost 10 to 20 percent higher than clothes made the old-fashioned way.

Petratex's been making about 1,000 of the "glued" clothing a day, everything from shorts, shirts, pants, workout clothes, bikinis and even designer dresses.

"We've tested jeans but denim is very thick and it doesn't look very beautiful with this method," said Reguenga.

Nike and Adidas could not immediately be reached for comment on when the new "fused" clothing would hit stores in the United States.  Top of page

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