ISO, ASTM, and ABC Seams… what are they?

Quite often, we receive questions from you about this matter: are your seams the same as ISO seams?, are your seams registered under ISO/ASTM regulations?, can I use your seams instead of the ISO’s?…

These are some of the questions that you’ve been asking. So, we see the need to explain these questions deeply. 
In this first article, we will talk about what are the ISO Standards, what are the ASTM Standards, and what are the ABC Seams Standards. Let’s start from the very beginning…

What is a Standard?

A standard is a norm for specifications, procedures, and guidelines that can be adopted either in a region, a nation, or the whole world.

The ultimate goal of any standard is to ensure consistency to systems, services, and products. They help to improve the communication by setting up the basis for a mutual understanding.

Standards can be registered under international organizations such as ISO and ASTM International or not. Depending on their nature and their purpose, standards are voluntary or mandatory. For example, a voluntary standard is the use of the Pantone Code to specify a color shade. These codes are not registered under the ISO specifications, but we use them worldwide anyway.
On the other hand, Care Labelling for clothing and textile is mandatory in most countries.  So, there is a mandatory standard that we have to follow in order to sell our products.

ISO, ASTM, and the Standards

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, non-governmental international organization that brings together International Standards. They certificate organizations for products, services, and processes.

ASTM International (former ASTM – American Society for Testing Materials), similar to ISO, is another organization that develops and publishes standards for materials, products, systems, and services (they are not the only ones that do this).

These organizations cover an immense and diverse range of subjects, from the Temperature for Geometrical Products to Units of Measurements and Social Responsibility of Corporations.

On the other hand, other companies are specialized in a specific matter. That is the case of Pantone, a company which exclusive subject is color. And they provide a code system to refer and identify different color shades.

Standards for Sewing Seams

ISO and ASTM share a similar type of standardization for sewing seams: same basis but different codes.
By contrast,
our code system (ABC Seams Code System) has a different foundation, a different structure, and a different type of coding. And, same as Pantone, our code system is not registered under the ISO and the ASTM regulations. 

So now, you might ask yourself, why you developed a new code system?. The short answer is that the ISO and ASTM systems are barely used in real life. We learn them at the university/institute, and then, very probably, we won’t use them ever again.

You might wonder, Why this happen?… the answer is quite complex, and there are several aspects to cover. 
In further articles, we will discuss each of these points. We will also explain the differences between these systems, and why our code system actually works.
If you want to know more, stay tuned.

Reference material:

  • https://www.iso.org/about-us.html
  • https://www.astm.org/ABOUT/overview.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Organization_for_Standardization
  • https://www.iso.org/standard/42918.html
  • https://www.productsafety.gov.au/standards/care-labelling-for-clothing-textiles
  • https://www.pantone.com/about-pantone
Belu Chi

Belu Chi

Technical Designer at ABC Seams®
Expert in apparel development and technical communication. Former Product Developer at Burberry.

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Belu Chi

Technical Designer at ABC Seams®