The most fundamental aspect of garment manufacturing is assuring the quality of the fabrics that are used in the production. Even the most outstanding manufacturing methods cannot compensate for defective materials – it’s very important to ensure the quality of fabrics prior to any production run. If defective fabrics are used, the end results will be less than perfect, – even unsellable – which can mean disaster for any brand.
Fabric inspection is perhaps the most important process in garment production, but in many factories inspectors are often looking at only the finished garments without adequate training in spotting fabric defects. Apparel Networks’ fabric checkers are experts in fabric selection and can recognize defects at the outset, ensuring that our clients’ manufactured products are always delivered defect-free. Fabric rolls are evaluated using a number of different systems, the most common of which is referred to as the “4-Point System,” a process for testing against standards set by the American Apparel and Footwear Manufacturers (AAFA).
What sort of things can ruin a garment? Here are just three of the dozens of defects our fabric inspectors in China typically run across when checking fabric for production runs.
- Shade Variations. In a previous blog post we talked about problems that can arise with dyed fabrics. Similar problems arise with printed fabrics, which can show defects where the printing is missed, or stitched pieces are incorrectly positioned relative to each other.
- Skews, bows and mis-picks may occur in fabrics when there is a distortion in the construction of the yarns used to make the fabric; sometimes weft yarns are not properly interlaced, or may run across the width of the fabric, or two yarns may run simultaneously in the weft. These small defects can go unspotted to the untrained eye.
- Holes and abrasions are self-explanatory. Bad needles, take-down mechanisms that are too tight and cause too high a tension on the yarn, improper stitch setting – there are numerous ways in which fabrics may become damaged. As they pass through various operations (dying, printing, etc.) the surface of the fabric may break or become overly weakened.