Saturday, October 26, 2013

Merrow introduces the age of Branded Stitching with ActiveSeam

A nice write up of the new ActiveSeam stitch and Merrow by Beth Purdue.

A link to the article:

One of the first textile-related discoveries Charlie Merrow made, after becoming CEO of Merrow Sewing Machine Co. in 2004, was that garment designers didn't believe stitching added value to their customer brands.
Brand logos and materials, yes, but not stitching.
"My customers don't care," a New York lingerie manufacturer told Merrow when he began pitching a new, more flexible, stitch.
But Merrow and his brother Owen Merrow, company COO, believed otherwise. Stitching, they thought, could become the "design story" and create a whole new way for designers to brand their garments.
You just need the right stitch.
Fast forward nine years and the brothers have made good their idea, launching a new ActiveSeam 502 stitch and stitch design lab in October that they believe can contribute to a re-energized textile industry in Fall River.
At an Oct. 15 event to announce new innovations, Merrow said the ActiveSeam not only makes products that stretch better and are abrasion resistant, but can be used by designers to tell better product stories, essentially branding the stitch.
"When we created this we realized that we had something very different that was so good, so interesting, and so visible," he said. "Everybody wants an authentic story."
The ActiveSeam stitch was invented in 2010 and is made on Merrow sewing machines. The stitch has been publicly promoted for the past six months, according to Brian Foley, Merrow business development.
"We've been getting the message out that stitching matters," Foley said, adding that the company is also pushing the message that the stitch is more comfortable, offers complete linear stretch, and can be used to monetize a seam.
Flat on both sides, the stitch can be made in a variety of widths and designs to meet the needs of multiple fabrics and garments as well as the varying looks of company brands. It works for multiple clothing markets, from activewear and lingerie to medical garments or baby clothes.
What really got the attention of major manufacturers like Adidas, Nike, and Under Armor, Merrow said, was a triple-thread version that buries a third color beneath two outer threads and then reveals it when the garment stretches.
"Then we had something aesthetic," Merrow said. "It has been a transformative thing at Merrow."
A 175-year old company that got its start making gunpowder, Merrow Co., now Merrow Sewing Co., invented the overlock sewing machine and has been making them since 1838. The company has distributors in 65 countries with 300 agents selling products.
The Merrow brothers, great-grandnephews of company founder Joseph M. Merrow, moved the company to Fall River in 2008. Today, the company occupies a 30,000-square-foot open mill space on Bedford Street in the city.
With the ActiveSeam stitch, Merrow is also debuting a stitch design lab that can be used by other companies to design a unique version of the ActiveSeam stitch. Merrow can then outfit them with their sewing machines to make the stitch, Merrow said. Or, the company could, under a licensing program, develop the product in Fall River using local sewing companies like Griffin Manufacturing, a textile manufacturer located in the same mill space as Merrow.
The company expects to add three to five positions to its staff of 24 people with the launch of the stitch lab, Merrow said.
It is already beginning to use the stitch to make tactical vests for Maryland-based Velocity Systems.
Merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space

Monday, October 14, 2013

ActiveSeam 502™, Building ActiveSeam locally


Since 1838, Merrow® has been building the world’s finest industrial overlock sewing machines and currently provides customers like Nike, Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, Milliken, Gildan, Glen Raven and Penn Emblem with technical and proprietary sewing solutions. Throughout its 175-year history, Merrow has contributed to the worldwide development of textiles and is now a global brand represented in 65 countries by more than 300 sales agencies. Merrow is headquartered in Fall River, MA.

Today, Merrow proudly announces the ActiveSeam 502™ Production Program and the Merrow Stitch Lab®, which represent a new business model for developing and producing apparel in the United States based on the ActiveSeam stitch. The ActiveSeam 502 Production Program and Stitch Lab allow the local production community to capitalize on the global success of the ActiveSeam stitch.

ActiveSeam® -  A New Technical Story -

ActiveSeam was invented in 2010 in Fall River, and released to the public last year. It is a new stitch type - the first stitch ever to be branded. ActiveSeam is a technical, marketable, and aesthetically distinctive stitch that replaces common forms of stitching. The new stitch has captured the imagination of designers, production engineers, and many of the major athletic apparel manufacturers. In partnership with A&E (the world’s second largest manufacturer of thread) and Groz Beckert (the world’s largest sewing needle manufacturer), ActiveSeam has developed into a technical collaboration that allows designers to engineer unique versions of the stitch for their specific products.

ActiveSeam 502® Production

With major brands around the world requiring ActiveSeam development, Merrow is introducing a production program to support the rapidly iterative qualities of ActiveSeam and provide a simple, cost effective way to make products with the stitch.

ActiveSeam 502 is a new business model designed to leverage the worldwide interest in ActiveSeam and locally generate new production. It will help brands worldwide rapidly develop and produce variations of ActiveSeam in small-to-medium quantities - and significantly impact their ability to bring unique and competitive products to market.

ActiveSeam 502 changes the way the ActiveSeam stitch can be developed and deployed. It will change the way that brands consider using branded stitching in their products, and it will provide designers with the freedom to build custom-designed seams into a myriad of products.

In partnership with local production facilities, Merrow will provide brands producing under an ActiveSeam license with the ActiveSeam machines required for their production at no additional cost. ActiveSeam produced through the ActiveSeam 502 program requires no capital costs for sewing equipment. Machines will be configured and deployed on product cycles before being returned and retooled between production runs.

The ActiveSeam machines will be available exclusively to licensees, protecting custom engineering developed in the Stitch Lab.

The ActiveSeam 502 program reduces costs for all parties. It also improves any brand’s ability to rapidly innovate and move product to market while providing local businesses with a unique and valuable production option to offer their customers.

Approved ActiveSeam 502 partners will be listed on Businesses interested in affiliating with ActiveSeam 502 may request more information from Brian Foley at (508) 689-4095 or

Merrow Stitch Lab®

Mission: Implement ActiveSeam to Make Better Products and Create Better Product Stories

The Stitch Lab is a unique offering from Merrow that provides the blueprints for an ActiveSeam stitch. The Lab is best viewed as a process where an organization works with Merrow to achieve a single goal: create a stitch that matters. It starts with a vision and/or product brief, followed by an analysis of fabric and stitch requirements. We listen to what features will be most important to a brand’s customer and provide direction based on the intended aesthetic, strength, stretch, abrasion resistance, comfort, etc. To create a unique, proprietary ActiveSeam, we focus on product design and function before applying two critical pieces: our understanding of the MB-4DFO ActiveSeam machine’s mechanical intricacies and a highly specialized approach to thread selection. The result is a stitching story worth talking about with customers.

All machines used in the ActiveSeam 502 production program will be configured in the Stitch Lab.


Today, Merrow is run by brothers Owen and Charlie Merrow, the great-grandnephews of company founder Joseph M. Merrow. The company was relocated to Massachusetts in 2004 and renamed The Merrow Sewing Machine Company.

Currently based in Fall River, MA, Merrow has led in the invention, manufacture, and sale of industrial sewing machines since 1838. The company has become an industry leader in web-based content, cutting-edge online support development, and training systems to advance its global network of 300 distributors.

Merrow Merrow

Merrow has manufactured sewing machines since 1838 and remains one of the most interesting companies in the textile space