20 November 2018
Say no to down leakage
Solutions for the most common causes of down leakage
Around since the 1930s, down jackets (also called puffer or quilted jackets) are a popular choice for winter wear even now for their comfort and functionality.
Known for having the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any insulator, down resembles clusters of delicate fibres that trap and retain heat when packed together.
It’s understandable why these garments, already a staple for sporting and outdoor activities, have become a major winter essential. Now worn both on and off the catwalk, puffer jackets have moved from being practical garments for the colder seasons to a beloved statement pieces worn by celebrities and style icons. Traditional down outerwear brands are teaming up with designer fashion houses to create cutting-edge looks, such as Moncler’s recent collaboration with Valentino, that inspire new streetwear trends.1
The introduction of fabrics not previously associated with quilted coats are bringing new challenges to the construction process. Moncler using quilted velvet and Nanushka’s nod toward sustainable fashion with the addition of vegan faux leather to their tailored puffer jackets are a couple examples of how brands and manufacturers are learning to combine style and substance.1
Although all the rage, this type of outerwear can be tricky to assemble with assembly and environmental factors causing the jacket to lose insulation. When developing down outerwear, we recommend a few simple ways to minimise the risk of down leakage and producing a defective product.
What should you look for?
Down leakage will be visible around needle holes, joins in the fabric, and sometimes also through the fabric itself. Shoppers will be assessing garments in stores and looking at product reviews online to see if previous purchasers have mentioned filling leaking from the jacket.
Having a jacket with more down in the insulation rather than feathers will increase the cost of the puffer coat, but also reduce the chance of down leakage. This is due to the fact feathers quills are more likely to slip through the fabric.
Whether down coats are being worn as a designer fashion statement or as practical active outerwear, buyers expect a quality product that is able to retain its down. However, correcting down leakage can be a complex process.
Why does it happen?
It is difficult to pinpoint a single reason down leakage occurs in production, as it usually is a combination of factors that can be different for every manufacturer. For instance, if one factory uses fabric for the jacket shell that does not have the ability to recover after it’s punctured with sewing thread that is too thick, the needle holes left in the seam will be large enough for feathers to slip through.
Working closely with major fashion brands and factories, technical experts at Coats have developed solutions for the most common causes of down leakage. This includes specialised products, like Coats Epic AS and Coats Gral AS thread, with a special finish to reduce static buildup in dry factory conditions that cut down garment rejections.
Making changes in thread type, sewing speed, filling quality or any of the factors causing insulation leaking can make a big difference in manufacturing productivity and on the impressions shoppers have as soon as they see and feel products.
For more information on how to improve the quality of down outerwear, take a look at our Innovative Solutions for Down Jackets.