CrÃ©ation Gross Gmbh & Co. KG operates one of the last sample production facilities in Germany in Hersbruck, Bavaria. On an area of ââ700 square meters, the first samples of a new collection are created each season. CG – Club of Gents designs are also made here and tested for suitability before going into mass production. Production manager Peter Ressel shows us around the production hall.
The large company hall in Hersbruck is elusive at first glance because of all the machines. Background noise, on the other hand, is omnipresent. There is a constant hissing and clicking sound. As Peter Ressel leads us through the narrow aisles of the machines, the sources of the noise only gradually become apparent. A whistling sound escapes from an ironing press from which hot air escapes. The snap comes from the countless sewing machines that move their arms in a mechanical jerk and drive the needle and thread into the fabric.
Here we are in the middle of the CrÃ©ation Gross production line. “This hall is one of the rare vestiges of the German textile industry”, explains production manager Peter Ressel. You wouldn’t know by looking at it: everything vibrates and clicks, like in a well-oiled clock. Ressel knows every machine by name, knows the individual advantages that are so important in producing a perfect jacket. He talks enthusiastically about his machine park, worth a total of 1.2 million euros. The seamstresses at the Hersbruck site have a complete sewing and ironing workshop. Around 1,000 individual items such as jackets, vests and pants are still produced here every year.
The production line is divided into four different areas. From cutting and securing fabrics to sewing individual pieces, producing trousers and ironing, everything is under one roof. What’s special, says Ressel, is that “for almost every seam there is a specialized machine plus a special ironing machine.”
Five seamstresses and six ironers work at the factory. About five complete pieces are produced each day, the number varying depending on the complexity of the garment. The jacket is still the pinnacle of men’s fashion. No other garment is more complex, has more additions and layers. It takes up to 180 minutes for seamstresses to make a jacket, depending on the number of pockets.
There is a long way between the fabric ball and the finished costume. It starts at the cutting table. Countless fabric rolls with precious exterior fabrics from Italy are ready on large carts. The rolls of fabric are first laid out flat on a long table. The production manager skillfully spins a wheel on the side of the table. Suddenly, needles pierce the fabric from below. “This fixes the fabric for the cut”, Peter Ressel is pleased with the effect. Depending on the individual part, a pair of hand scissors or a mechanical push knife is used. Here too, digital progress has found its place in the process. Ressel is proud to present a CNC machine that processes the data from the CAD program and transfers it directly to the mill. The result is a precise cut down to the millimeter. The CNC machine fixes the fabric by sucking the material with air. In this way, the machine achieves a high precision cut, which is essential for high quality fabrics.
In one corner of the workshop is a machine that has been a feature of the textile manufacturing business for decades. This is the circular knife, also called an awl. With its 18 ton press power, the hydraulic device punches leather patches for elbows, linings, chest bands and more.
Preparing to sew
Neatly aligned, dozens of front parts, back parts, sleeves and side parts now rest on the cutting table. Before the seamstresses sew the individual pieces together, several layers of fabric are stitched together to give the finished costume its fit. A fusion machine uses 120 degree heat and three bars of pressure to join the upper fabric and the reinforcing fusion material, Vlieseline. The adhesive, which reacts at 115 to 127 degrees, is used to permanently fix the upper and lower tissues. In addition to the formative properties of fabric stabilizers, they are also used to make a durable costume for everyday wear. “Just think about how often a suit is taken to the cleaner. A jacket should also stand up to that,” the production manager emphasizes, examining the attached layers of fabric with a keen eye.
The men’s suit remains the most elaborate garment in production. A suit jacket alone can consist of up to 160 individual pieces. Only highly specialized machines can guarantee the production of this complex clothing segment. âMen’s outerwear is strongly characterized by special machines,â says Ressel. The production hall in Hersbruck is full of machines. None of the facilities are dual; each machine in the fleet has a special capability which is crucial and important for production. The production manager enthusiastically points out the most expensive sewing machine in the factory. It costs 24,000 euros and imitates a point in the hand. It is also the slowest sewing machine, taking six minutes to complete a seam where other machines take a minute. “Crazy as it sounds,” Ressel attests, “this approach to serial production of costumes saves time and, most importantly, ensures consistency of fit.”
âOf course, it’s not just automatic machines in Hersbruck,â explains Peter Ressel, leading the way in front of some currently busy workstations. Especially in the sewing room and in the production of trousers, the dexterity of experienced seamstresses comes into play. Ready-to-wear remains a profession, even if many work steps have been automated. Many fabrics require a steady hand, and the hand sewing that is still sometimes necessary is what makes a jacket a garment that shapes the body on the one hand and responds flexibly to body movements on the other. . Sample production takes place and falls with the workers who have remained loyal to CrÃ©ation Gross for most of their working lives. The record is held by a seamstress who has worked in the company for over 45 years. She is the only one who can operate all the machines. His colleagues, many of whom have been with the company since the 1980s and 1990s, also have proven expertise in most machines. In 2025, the company will look back on its hundred years of history.
At the end of a complex production process, the clothes arrive at the ironing service. Here, the costumes are given their final touch. The waist, the collar and the shape of the shoulders are worked with hot air, giving life to a two-dimensional garment. The costume is now ready to use. The buttons are sewn at the end. They would damage presses and ironing machines, Ressel says. At the inspection station, finished products are checked to ensure they meet specifications: Has the model description been followed? Is the material correct? Is the finish correct? Has it been ironed cleanly? The garment receives tags and hang tags and is ready to ship.
Read more about Club of Gents on the brand page: fashionunited.com/compagnies/cg-club-of-gents