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Garment Accessories Knowledge



       Garment accessories are used as decorative and/or functional items on a variety of clothing such as shirt, blouse, skirt, jacket, sweater, dress, coat, trousers, jean, underwear, etc. They add color, style, aesthetic elements, class, and special effect to clothing and create a certain look, in addition, they may also have practical functions, and some even contribute to embellish or completing a piece of clothing.

       Garment accessories may include, but not limit to, lace, hot fix motif, collar lace, button, snap fastener, woven tape, ribbon, zipper, buckle, beads, belt, magic sticker, braid, craft flower, rivet, hot fix studs, rhinestone …


1. Lace

Lace is an openwork fabric, patterned with open holes in the work, made by machine or by hand. Lace-making is an ancient craft. The origin of lace is difficult to locate in both time and place. Some assume that true lace was not made until the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The types of lace, according to manufacturing technology, are classified as follows:

1. Torchon lace. Earlier, lace was made by hand such as tatting lace and bobbin laceand is made by torchon lace machine today. 

2. Crochet lace. Crochet is a process of creating fabric from yarn or thread using a crochet hook. Today it is manufactured by crochet machine.

3. Warp-knitted lace or warp lace, which is made by warp-knitted lace machine. Rachel and Tricot are two famous technologies of warp-knitted lace.

4. Embroidery lace. It may be made by machine or by hand.

5. Hand-made crochet lace. In France, Italy, Belgium and Spain, it is called as “crochet”, in Holland as “haken”, in Denmark as “haekling”, in Norway as “hekling” and in Sweden as “virkning”.

6. Other laces including beading lace, sequin lace, weft-knitted lace, lace made by ultrasonic lace sewing machine, etc.

However, in accordance with materials used for the manufacture of lace, the types of lace may be classified as cotton lace, cotton fabric lace, nylon lace, TC lace, aloe lace, wool lace, rayon lace, flax lace

Brief introduction to some lace

Water soluble lace It is also called chemical lace, which is a form of machine-made lace. This method of lace-making is done by embroidering a pattern on a sacrificial fabric.  After the embroidery is completed the embroidered fabric is immersed in a solution that will not harm the embroidery thread but completely dissolves the sacrificial fabric leaving just the lace. (fig. 1)



fig. 1  Water soluble lace


Cotton lace  It is also called torchon lace which is made by lace weaving machine and used cotton as material. It is notable for being coarse and strong, as well as its simple geometric patterns and straight lines (fig. 2)


   fig. 2  Cotton lace

National lace (Nationality lace) National lace is made using rayon yarns mixed lace machine, so it is also called rayon yarns mixed lace. It is characterized by magnificently brilliant colors and special patterns which imply “best wishes”, “everything goes well”, “celebrating harvest”, and so on. It is well welcome and deeply loved by Chinese minority nationality. (fig. 3)



fig. 3  National lace


Cotton fabric lace  As one of embroidery lace, a lightweight cotton cloth is used as fabric for lace and needlework. (fig. 4)


fig. 4  Cotton fabric lace


Elastic lace  It belongs to warp-knitted lace and is made by warp-knitted lace machine using spandex (a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity), polyamide yarn, polyester yarn or viscose rayon as material. (fig. 5)



fig. 5  Elastic lace


Voile lace One of warp-knitted lace, it is used voile as material which is a light weight woven fabric, generally made of polyamide, polyester or rayon. (fig.6)



fig. 6  Voile lace


Rayon lace A machine made lace using rayon as material. Rayon is a manufactured regenerated cellulosic fiber. Because it is produced from naturally occurring polymers, it is neither a truly synthetic fiber nor a natural fiber, it is a semi-synthetic fiber. It usually has a high lustre quality giving it a bright shine. (fig. 7)


fig. 7  Rayon lace


Battenberg lace  A type of needle lace made of cotton. Also popularized as Renaissance lace, it is made by using loops of woven tape held together by yarn brides to form patterns. Making battenberg lace was a recognized hobby in the United States in the early 1900's. It is now made by machine and is commonly used not only in garment accessories but also in battenberg lace parasol set, battenberg tablecloth, battenberg lace fan and the like. (fig. 8)



fig. 8  Battenberg lace


2. Button & Snap Fastener


In clothing and fashion design, buttons are usually functional and decorative. A button is a disc, large or small, typically round, object usually attached to an article of clothing in order to secure an opening, or for ornamentation. To be functional,  buttons require the presence of buttonhole. Generally speaking, buttons have shanks or holes, called eyes, by means of which they are sewn to garments. Buttons may be manufactured from an extremely wide range of materials, including natural materials such as antler, bone, leather, bamboo, horn, shell, coconut, corozo and wood; or synthetics such as rubber,  polyester, ABS, celluloid, glass, metal, bakelite, acrylic, plastic and urea.

Some types of buttons



      Metal button                     Metal button - jeans button                Coconut button        


     Plastic button                           Wooden button                          Rhinestone button


   Polyester button                          Bakelite button                           Shell button


Snap Fastener

Snap fastener, generally made of metal or plastic and known also as snap button, press button, snap, popper and press stud, is a pair of interlocking discs commonly used in place of buttons to fasten clothing (it fastens with a snapping sound). A circular lip under one disc fits into a groove on the top of the other, holding them fast until a certain amount of  force is applied. However, some snaps consist of  four pieces, i.e., cap, socket, stud and post.



Snap fastener - the male         Snap button - made of                   Snap button - made of

half features a groove which    metal, consists of four pieces        metal, consists of four pieces

is snapped in place by the

female half  


3. Hot Fix Motif  

Hot fix motif, which is also called heat transfer motif, hotfix motif or hot motif, consists of a group or groups of rhinstones, rhinestuds, nailheads, pearl studs, glitter studs, dome studs, spangles, sequins and the like, which are used alone or in combination. They are elaborately arranged in design so that they can be, using a heat transfer machine, applied on clothing. The operational principle of a heat transfer machine is similar to an iron but it is much larger and has the ability to maintain even pressure and heat across the entire surface of the motif. For best results a proper temperature and constant pressure are absolutely necessary.



                                                             A heat transfer machine

As materials of hot fix motifs, there have been hot mix rhinestone, hot fix rhinestud, hot fix pearl stud, hot fix epoxy dome, hot fix epoxy rim, hot fix epoxy pearl, hot fix micro beads, hot fix metal mesh, hot fix spangle, hot fix octagon, hot fix nailhead and so on.

As for rhinestone -- the most important material, it is an imitation diamond made of glass, plastic or some kind of crystal. Rhinestones include Swarovski quality stones, Czech quality, M/C quality, Korean quality, Taiwanese quality and Chinese quality stones. Hot fix rhinestones are rhinestones that have been cut according to practical requirement and have heat-activated adhesive applied to them in order to allow them to be applied on clothing.

Materials used in the manufacturing of hot fix motifs:



               Rhinestones                                  Rhinestuds                                  Nailheads



                Epoxy Pearl                                   Half Round                                  Dome Studs



                           Flock                                            Gold Foil

      How long the design will stay on the garment, that is, the quality standard of finished product is determined by washing test. All hot fix rhinestones or studs superior to Grade A, Chinese quality stones should pass the following washing test:

Put finished product being examined into a drum-type washing machine, add a quantity of liquid detergent, and wash with sufficient water for forty minutes, maintaining the water temperature at about 40. Repeat the operation for four times, it loses not more than 3.0% of rhinestones or studs.

Another test method for all hot fix rhinestones or studs, equivalent to or superior to Grade A, Chinese quality stones, is as follows:

Wear or use for not less than six months, the lost rhinestones or studs should not be more than 3.0%.

The following are some hot fix motif :



Hot fix motif – butterfly           Hot fix motif - dancer            Hot fix motif - bird

     Materials: rhinestones                Materials : rhinestones             Materials : rhinestones       


     Heat transfer printing hot          Heat transfer printing hot       Hot fix motif  - crown

fix motif – little bear                 fix motif - heart and letters     Materials : polygons         

     Materials: hot fix fabrics,           Materials: hot fix fabrics,

     rhinestones                               rhinestones


4. Collar Lace & Necklace

Collar Lace

      The collar lace, based on manufacturing technologies and materials, is categorized as lace, however, in accordance with its practical functions, it should belong to collar, which is the part of a shirt, dress, blouse, etc., that encompasses the neckline of the garment and is sewn permanently to the garment or a detachable accessory worn around the neck opening of the garment.

       The types of collar lace may include chemical collar lace, battenberg collar lace, cotton collar lace, collar embroidery lace, beads lace collar and so on.


                  Cotton collar lace                     Battenberg collar lace                  Chemical collar lace


               Beads lace collar                         Collar embroidery lace                 Fashion collar lace


A necklace is an article of jewellery or imitation jewelry, which is worn around the neck. Exactly speaking, necklaces are fashion accessories (such as gloves, handbags, hats, necktie, etc.) instead of garment accessories and more decorative than functional. Necklaces are frequently formed from a metal chain, perhaps a non-metal chain, often attached to a locket or pendant. Necklace can also be manufactured with cloth, and they may contain gems, wood, shells, beads, plastic and/or other suitable things with different shapes and sizes. Please see below:




5. Buckle & Belt


A buckle is a clasp usually made of plastic or metal and used for fastening two things together, such as the ends of a belt, or for retaining the ends of a strap. Buckles can also be seen on backpacks, shoulder bags, knapsacks, satchels, fanny packs,  watches, modern fashion, specialty clothing, wrist jewelry, and even in automobile and aeroplane safety belts. Some buckles are primarily functional, while others serve a decorative purpose.

A wide range of types of buckles can be find in and out of the field of garment accessories and they may include: pin buckle, rolling auto buckle, magnet auto buckle, moving buckle, roller buckle, two-joint buckle, press buckle, tri-glide buckle, stair buckle, lock buckle, insert buckle, square ring, O ring, D ring, oval ring, beltstay buckle, interlocking buckle, spring buckle, hook buckle, LED buckle …



           Tri-glide buckle                                   Pin buckle                                      O ring 



                 D ring                                    Rinestone buckle                            Fashion buckle



A belt is a flexible band, traditionally made of leather, heavy cloth or woven tape and worn around the waist to support trousers or other articles of clothing. Sometimes, as a part of a uniform, skirt or dress, it serves for style and decoration. A girdle, one type of belts and constructed of elasticized fabric, is designed to enhance a woman’s figure. 

A belt looks more attractive because of a buckle, and a buckle becomes more stylish because of a belt. Please see the following fashion belts from L&M, two of which are still attractive without buckles.




6. Woven Tape & Ribbon

Woven Tape

Whether woven tape or ribbon, not much but proper in quantity, can be used as a decorative purpose to make a piece of clothing more fashionable and stylish.

Woven tape is a thin band of flexible material, usually made of acrylic, cotton, nylon, polypropylene (PP), polyester, rayon, linen, etc. Woven tape is used in garment, fashion belt, safety belt, straps, footwear, bag, luggage, backpack, sport articles, baby carriage and children’s wear. It is available in various widths, from a few millimeters up to scores of millimeters, and a wide range of colors. The types of woven tape include jacquard woven tape, velvet tape, elastic tape, reflective woven tape, woven edge tape, grosgrain tape, herringbone tapecolor combination tape, lattice tape …



     Jacquard woven tape                     Sequins trimming                Color combination tape



          Elastic tape                                 Craft flower tape                         Fashion tape



A ribbon is also a thin band of flexible material, typically made of silk but frequently chemical fibers such as nylon and polyester. Served as ornamental and symbolic purposes, it is mainly applied to fashion and garment. The following are some types of ribbon.



       Jacquard  ribbon                        Organza  ribbon                         Metallic  ribbon



         Velet  ribbon                               Printing ribbon                       Polyester satin ribbon     



7. Craft Flower

A craft flower is nothing but the aesthetic combination of colors and shapes. For a craft flower, there is no the best, only the most suitable. Craft flowers, as articles of decoration and ornament, are made from various kinds of materials, from natural and synthetic fibers ( silk, organdy, velvet, tissue, satin, nylon …) to metals, plastic, wood, feather, etc. A craft flower can add the finishing touch to fashion and garment, even to millinery and shoes, and make them much more elegant, beautiful and pleasant to see. 







                                              8. Requirements of Environmental Protection

for Garment Accessories

       Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the environment, on individual, organizational or governmental level, for the benefit of the natural environment and human being.

       In each European Union member state all garment accessories should comply with the relevant requirements prescribed in Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive or RoHS on the content of the following six substances:

(1) Lead, (2) mercury, (3) cadmium, (4) hexavalent chromium, (5) polybrominated biphenyls or PBB, and (6) polybrominated diphenyl ether or PBDE. The maximum permitted concentrations are 0.1% or 1000 ppm by weight of homogeneous material except (4) hexavalent chromium, it is 0.01% or 100 ppm.

In U.S., total lead content of garment accessories should not exceed 600 ppm (0.06%) or the lead content of any surface coating on fashion and/or garment accessories should not exceeds 90 ppm (0.009%). Total phthalates content (DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP or DnOP) should not exceed 0.1%.

In addiction, some azo dyessuch as Congo red, are considered chemical carcinogens, and implicated in hepatocellular carcinoma, and they should not be used in garment accessories. As far as nickel is concerned, sensitized individuals may show an allergy to nickel affecting their skin, also known as dermatitis. Nickel is an important cause of contact allergy, partly due to its use in jewelry intended for pierced ears. Many earrings are now made nickel-free due to this problem.

It is acceptable in principle that natural products including cotton, flax, linen, wood, silk, wool, shell, leather (untreated), feather, amber, gems, pearl, etc., are considered to be environment friendly and less or no hazards to health. Environment friendly garment accessories may cover cotton lace, cotton fabric lace, battenberg lace, flax lace, coconut button, shell button, wood button, mother pearl button, cotton collar lace, battenberg collar lace, rhinestone and rhinestuds of Grade A, Korean quality stones (equivalent to or superior to), silk ribbon and so on. Nevertheless, by no means are non-natural products unacceptable and hazardous. So long as any fashion and/or garment accessories meet the requirements concerned and comply with RoHS, they are safe in health and acceptable for use.

   Introduction to Some Environmental Friendly Products

l        Organic cotton is cotton that is grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides from plants which are not genetically modified. High levels of agrochemicals are used in the production of non-organic, conventional cotton. Cotton production uses more chemicals per unit area than any other crop and accounts in total for 16% of the world's pesticides. Though organic cotton has less environmental impact than conventional cotton, it costs more to produce.

l        Garment accessories made with recycled polyester and other sustainable materials. Polyester recycling is a process of recovering scrap or waste polyester and reprocessing the material into useful products while sustainability, in an ecological context, can be defined as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity. For humans to live sustainably, the Earth's resources must be used at a rate at which they can be replenished.

l        Urea button. An environment friendly product, which is characterized by lightfastness, high temperature resistance (up to 150), incombustibility, abrasion resistance, resistance to drycleaning solvents, resistant to ultraviolet rays and fastness. What is more, it never needs dyieng, is safe to human, and is not easy to abrade or rupture.


9. Brief Introduction to Some Fabrics

Rayon is probably the most misunderstood of all fibers. It is not a natural fiber, yet it is not synthetic. It is a fiber formed by regenerating natural materials into a usable form. Rayon is a very versatile fiber and has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton and linen. The fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent, but they do not insulate body heat, making them ideal for use in hot and humid climate. Some major rayon fiber uses include apparel (such as blouses, dresses, jackets, lingerie, linings), furnishings (such as bedspreads, blankets, window treatments,), industrial uses (such as medical surgery products, non-woven products), and other uses.

Organdy or organdie is a very fine transparent muslin with a stiff finish and the sheerest cotton cloth ever made. Its appearance is due to combed yarns and its sheerness and crispness are the result of an acid finish on unbleached lawn goods. Because of its stiffness and fiber content, it is very prone to wrinkling. Organdy is more popular for summerwear, loose wear apparels, blouses, little girls’ dresses, trimming, interfacing, curtains and other home textiles.

Organza is the filament yarn counterpart to organdy. It is a thin, plain weave, sheer fabric traditionally made from silk, the continuous filament of silkworms. It is suitable for bridalwear, blouses, evening wear, dresses, interfacing and a base fabric for embellishing. Both organdy and organza are transparent, crisp and woven with very fine, tightly twisted yarns in an open, plain weave. The difference between organdy and organza is in the fiber content. Organdy is usually cotton or nylon, while organza can be made of silk, polyester or rayon, though some are made of nylon. The most luxurious organzas are still woven in silk.

Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are very evenly distributed, with a short dense pile, giving it a distinct feel. Velvet can be made from all kinds of fibers. Ideally, velvet is made from silk. Cotton can also be used, though this often results in a slightly less luxurious fabric. Synthetic velvets have been developed, mostly polyester, nylon, viscose, acetate and mixtures of different synthetics, or synthetics and natural fibers (e.g. viscose and silk). Velvet can also be made from fibers such as linen, and wool.

Voile is a light weight woven fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blends including linen or polyester. Due to its light weight, the fabric is mostly used in soft furnishing. Full length curtains in hot countries are made with voile and used as window treatments, mosquito nets, etc. Because of their semi-transparent quality, voile curtains are made using specially manufactured heading tape that is less easily noticeable through the fabric. Voile fabric is also used in dress-making, either in multiple layers or laid over a second material.

Flax fibers are amongst the oldest fiber crops in the world. The use of flax for the production of linen goes back 5000 years. Flax fiber, which is soft, lustrous and flexible, is extracted from the bast or skin of the stem of the flax plant. It is stronger than cotton fiber but less elastic. The best grades are used for linen fabrics such as damasks, lace and sheeting. Coarser grades are used for the manufacturing of twine and rope. Flax fibers vary in length from about 25 to 150 centimeters and average 12-16 micrometers in diameter. There are two varieties: shorter tow fibers used for coarser fabrics and longer line fibers used for finer fabrics.

Satin is a weave that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is a warp-dominated weaving technique that forms a minimum number of interlacings in a fabric. If a fabric is formed using filament fibers such as silk, nylon, or polyester, the corresponding fabric is termed a "satin". If the yarns used are short-staple yarns such as cotton, the fabric formed is considered a sateen. Satin is commonly used in apparel: satin baseball jackets, athletic shorts, women's lingerie, nightgowns, and evening gowns, but also in some men's boxer shorts, shirts and neckties, interior furnishing fabrics, upholstery, and bed sheets. It is also used in the production of pointe shoes for use in ballet.

Acetate, also know as cellulose acetate, is a man made fiber of natural origin with specific characteristics which allow the production of beautiful, practical and comfortable fabrics, whether it is used alone or mixed with other fibers, natural or synthetic. Acetate yarns give to their fabrics the following characteristics: Natural luxury, silky feel (soft, smooth, dry, crisp, resilient), comfortable (breathes, wicks, dries quickly, no static cling), elegant drape, and environmentally friendly (made from wood pulp, a renewable resource). Acetate is used in the fields of apparel (linings, blouses, dresses, wedding and party attire, home furnishings, draperies, upholstery and slip covers), and industry ( cigarette and other filters, ink reservoirs for fiber tip pens, high absorbency products). It should be made clear that acetate and triacetate (cellulose triacetate) are mistakenly referred to as the same fiber; although they are similar, their chemical compounds differ.

Spandex or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is stronger and more durable than rubber, the major non-synthetic competitor. When first introduced, it revolutionized many areas of the clothing industry. Since then, this synthetic fiber, which is made from a polymer containing polyurethane, has been used in the manufacture of elastic clothing and accessories.

Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate (PET, PETE). Polyester fabrics are claimed to have a "less natural" feel when compared to similarly-woven fabrics made from natural fibers (i.e. cotton in textile uses). However, polyester fabrics may exhibit other advantages over natural fabrics, such as improved wrinkle resistance. As a result, polyester fibers are sometimes spun together with natural fibers to produce a clot with blended properties such as terylene/cotton (TC) blended fabric.

Polypropylene or polypropene (PP) is a thermoplastic polymer, made by the chemical industry. Due to their low density and excellent physical and chemical resistance, polypropylene nonwovens have been increasingly used in many industries including textiles (e.g. ropes, thermal underwear, carpets and garment accessories), packaging, stationery, etc.

Nylon, one of the most commonly used polymers, is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides(PA), which was first produced in 1935 and the real star of the plastics industry and the first purely synthetic fiber in the 1930s. Nylon was intended to be a synthetic replacement for silk and substituted for it in many different products after silk became scarce during World War II. Nylon fibers are used in many applications, including apparel industry, fabrics, bridal veils, carpets, etc.

Silk Silks are produced by several other insects, but only the silk of caterpillars of the silkworm moth, a natural protein fiber, has been used for textile manufacture. Silk's good absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in warm weather. Its low conductivity keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather. It is often used for clothing such as shirts, blouses, formal dresses, high fashion clothes, negligees, pajamas, robes, skirtsuits, sun dresses and underwear. Silk's elegant, soft luster and beautiful drape makes it perfect for many furnishing applications and other uses.

Cotton is a soft, staple fiber that grows in a form known as a boll around the seeds of the cotton plant, a shrub native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. The fiber most often is spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile, which is the most widely used natural-fiber cloth in clothing today. Cotton is used to make many textile products. It can either be used in knitted or woven fabrics, as it can be blended with elastane to make a stretchier thread for knitted fabrics and other things such as stretch jeans.

Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides and skins of animals. The tanning process converts the putrescible skin into a durable, long-lasting and versatile natural material for various uses. Today, most leather is made of cattle skins, but other animal skins such as lamb, pig, etc., have also been used. In many fields one can not fail to find leather products especially in the clothing industry, such as shoes, belt, wallet, leather jacket, leather skirt, leather pants, leather coat, …  


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