When different components of the same item of clothing seem to have mismatched colors, it is referred to as shade variation and it is considered a critical defect with the garment. Garments are made by stitching a number of different pieces of fabric parts together, so when shade variation is found between different parts it can render the finished piece unsellable, which is why great pains are taken by manufacturers to ensure color consistency across garment components.
Variations of shade or depth of color (hue) – either within or between different garment parts – is one of the most common problems in clothing manufacturing. Shade variation can occur from selvage to selvage, selvage to the center of fabric width, or from end-to-end across the whole fabric roll and any type of variation can drive up manufacturing costs because the amount of fabric used to produce each garment may increase as a result. Whenever fabrics are dyed in multiple lots there is a chance of shade variation between different lots if the dyeing process is not well controlled. Apparel Network’s factories have standard practices in place to eliminate the problem of shade variation within the same garment. Dyed fabrics procured from third-party suppliers are carefully inspected, and we never hesitate to reject entire lots where there are inconsistencies.
In the case of bulk fabric, we prepare shade bands and mark and number each fabric roll. To make this process easier, our fabric suppliers are instructed to supply the shade grouping charts with roll numbers matched to each swatch. Because we communicate every step of process, our clients with large volume orders that require fabric processing in more than one batch are aware of and prepared for any be small batch to batch variation.
Mixing shade batches on the cutting table can result in disaster. If the necessary precaution is not taken in the cutting department and on the sewing floor, fabric lots can easily become mixed-up and result in mismatched shades across the finished garment; fabrics with special surface finishes require special attention. Our factories know to roll these fabrics with the outer surface facing inward, and to mark each piece showing the direction of the finish at both ends. This eliminates any shade variation that can occur from stitching together pieces finished in different directions.