Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management


Apparel Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Eulanda A. Sanders


Textile cutting is a standard pre-production stage in the apparel manufacturing process that has developed from a manual to a fully automated procedure in recent decades. Laser cutting technology has improved the efficiency and sustainability of cutting pattern markers on a large cutting scale, as well as the ability to cut intricate internal patterns and shapes on a smaller cutting scale. CO2 laser technology has been adopted by industry and academia professionals at an exponential rate, but standard material testing for cutting and etching different textiles has been minimally documented. There were three primary objectives that comprise the purpose of this research which were to: (a) perform material testing to document and create a user manual that explains the parameters needed to laser cut and etch various textiles; (b) use Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory to examine “perceived attributes of an innovation” (2003, pp. 15-16), which are characteristics that help determine the rate of adoption, to survey apparel design students in order to determine the possible diffusion of laser cutting and the user manual in apparel design educational settings; and (c) apply knowledge from material testing to create a fashion ensemble that portrays the capabilities of laser cutting and etching textiles in apparel design.

To meet the objectives, the researcher first tested how 127 textiles from the Basic Swatch Kit provided by Textile Fabric Consultants, Inc. responded to the laser cutter to develop a user manual for students, educators and industry professionals. Second, the researcher used Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory to analyze laser cutting and etching in the apparel industry. A sample of 26 undergraduate apparel design students participated in a survey in which the results demonstrated that laser cutting is viewed as a means to enhance their design projects and increase efficiency and precision. Third, the researcher created an experimental garment that incorporated both laser cutting and etching. Although the material testing of the various textiles had been completed, the creation of the experimental garment allowed the researcher to reveal a significant finding related to the impact of overall percentage of area that the raster textile design covers on the job time or efficiency in etching. Also, as a result of this research, a formula is proposed that will allow students, educators, and industry professionals the ability to use the information from the user manual and adjust the parametric percentages to that of their machine specifications.


Copyright Owner

Whitney Marie Rorah



File Format


File Size

154 pages