Garments Inspection and Your Quality Standards to Factory
The quality of product or service quality is what keeps the high number of customers that any business requires to be prosperous. The market is too competitive to ignore quality.
This is even more critical when dealing with garments, especially now that quality is much more difficult to master due to their production and garments inspection being so labor-intensive. In contrast to larger-scale, machine-made goods that could be produced in huge quantities with the precisely same specs for each piece, garments are mostly hand-stitched.
Due to human error, this method increases the risk level of discrepancies across products and, subsequently, unsatisfactory quality levels.
However, despite all the complications in ensuring consistency in the quality of the garment, the concerned business needs to ensure that any variance in quality is as minimal as possible to meet consumer expectations. Otherwise, the importer may lose their buyers to competitors offering better quality standards.
Managing Garment Quality Control
The 4 ways most commonly used in the garments inspection include:
- – Conducting on-site testing during the production process;
- – Tolerance for measurements; and
- – Testing in the lab.
- – Workmanship defects Classification
- – AQL for Garment Inspection
So, how does an importer deal with the management of garment quality control to maintain customers? Let’s have a look at the top 5 ways for garment quality control and can’t be missed in the garments inspection checklist:
1 – On-Site Tests Before Garments Shipping
Like electronics, garments also need thorough on-site garments inspection during the manufacturing process to make sure they comply with the necessary quality standards. Performing routine checks during production is important to guarantee high levels of quality in the finished item. Some of the attributes the inspector checks for during on-site quality tests on the garment include functionality and durability. The inspections performed include below but listed all:
a) Fitting Test
Normally, the QC inspector puts every individual garment on a mannequin or other model to check if it fits well. This requires that they have mannequins corresponding to every size the manufacturer is producing at their factory.
A very vital test, is to determine the overall durability of fabric colors. For the dry rub test, the inspector rubs a dry section of cloth against the test garment while a wet one is used for the wet rub test. Because the cloth used is colored white, if it exhibits any other color after rubbing, then the test garment is color-leaking. Therefore, this test method is used to pick out and check garments randomly for the strength and efficacy of the colors applied.
c) Seam Strength Test
Here, the inspector stretches the test garment along some of its seams, for instance, the necklines or the armholes, using “normal” force. Any cracks appearing in the stitching and/or binding of the fabric — and for any sequins/beads used — are not by the inspector. This garment inspection test is normally performed on every batch article since any problem with seams could certainly affect the entire item’s stability quite negatively.
d) Fatigue Test
This test involves the opening and closing of fasteners like buttons and zippers, typically at fifty cycles for each fastener. In case the test fastener functions appropriately and adequately after the test cycles, then the quality of the garment is considered up to standard. However, the inspector doesn’t have to inspect every single fastener since the manufacturer normally employs the same fastener brand for the entire batch.
e) Pull Test
This test involves the inspector pull any elastic parts on the garment and ensure they function as they should. Once the stretching is done, the garment shouldn’t show any change of shape or exhibit loose fibers. To make sure that the highest quality standards are maintained, the whole shipment needs to be inspected since the garment’s elasticity is of paramount significance to its overall functionality and usability.
f) Stitches per Inch
The test is used to determine the garment’s overall performance and strength. Usually, using close or many stitches result in a higher quality of the test garment. For consistency, importers need to state how many stitches per inch are to be used by including the details in the garments’ specs sheet received by the manufacturer when ordering items.
2 – Set Guidelines on What’s Acceptable
In simple terms, tolerance for every garment involved would exhibit the error margin where the precise measurement point can differ widely from the stated specification standard. This eases things for the QC inspector to make a decision on which garments meet or don’t meet the required quality specifications.
The reason we’re emphasizing size a lot is mainly because that’s what customers see at their first glance at a garment. The size determines how restfully and securely the garment in question will fit on a wearer’s body and complement its figure.
By sending a detailed compilation of tolerance levels to the manufacturer and the quality control team, the importer can make sure that all those products they’re buying fall within a specified set of standard specifications for garments inspection. Every single point of measure needs to be outlined in the specs sheet that’s given out to the product supplier. These specs should include:
- ● Exact Point of Measurements for Every Garment: Each garment requires its own differing measurement points. For instance, a shirt requires the dimensions of its sleeves while a pair of pants requires its waist size to be measured.
- ● Standard Garment Size Measurements: Since every garment style comes in a differing size, the importer needs to consider every single size’s measurement carefully. This is often determined by the customer’s preference and also the type of garment used.
- ● Tolerance Levels for All Points of Measurements: This measure makes it easy for manufacturers and distributors to follow the required quality standards fully.
However, not every point of measure we’ve discussed above applies to each test. For instance, depending on the garment’s design, keeping a lower tolerance margin for some standard specs like a wedding dress’ neckline may make sense compared to the width of the belt for the same dress.
If, as an importer, you fail to provide your manufacturer or supplier of your products with some critical tolerances, then they’ll have to rely on their judgment. That may end up not aligning with your expectations. That’s why you must remember to provide the seller with clear instructions on the specifications you want.
How to Effectively Measure Garments
- ● You should always lay down your garments on an evenly flat surface to enhance the accurateness of your measurements.
- ● Don’t stretch the garment when taking your measurements because that may end up distorting your readings.
- ● Always take initial measurements before you can fit your garments on a mannequin or model.
- ● In case of a stretchy material somewhere, be sure to take that measurement as the last thing.
3 – Lab Test For Quality Control of Garments
While in-house garments inspection for quality is a very important step, anything beyond that should involve the expertise of an accredited lab for assessment. The laboratory can help the trader to assess and certify the quality level of the colors, sequins, or base fabric used in making the garment.
a) Performance Test
Assessing the garment’s overall performance following repeated use, as well as its durability, is another essential thing. By incorporating the services of a professional lab in the garments inspection process, you ensure that the kind of analysis conducted on the garment is in-depth, also including physical attributes that include:
● The garment‘s stability when washing and drying;
● The strength and efficacy of the type of color used on the fabric, especially when under exposure to sunlight, bleach, and/or water;
● Any other physical properties like abrasion resistance, etc.
b) Composition Test
Most nations have put in place rules and laws that make it mandatory for garment-importing firms to noticeably and transparently put labels on their products, identifying the quality of fiber used. Such regulations help the customer to be better informed about garment quality, and also to avoid any potential allergic reactions arising from contact with certain fibers. Therefore, 3rd-party labs help verify the fiber composition in each garment.
c) Safety & Environmental Test
Because garments come into contact with their users’ skin, any health-harming fibers in the garment might result in serious injury to the skin. This, in turn, can expose you to severe legal liabilities. That’s why lab tests must be conducted to make sure that only the safest chemicals and fibers are used to produce garments.
4 – Workmanship defects Classification
Product inspection of garments is a highly specialized area within the realm of quality control. so a quality control inspection checklist is necessary and a vital document for consistent quality of garments, or other products.
On-site tests also can be listed in the checklist.
The other important detail to include is the list of known quality defects for the product and how to classify them into “Critical” “Major” or “Minor”. the classification in industry exist but not better than you, because you are the importer and you know your market, so please be sure the defects classification be well known between you, factory and 3rd party qc company.
Please remember without a QC checklist that clearly outlines the defect classification, 3rd party QC company will misunderstand your quality standard in some cases.
Critical Defects for Garments
A critical defect is one that presents a safety hazard to the user, might cause property damage, or otherwise harm the end-user of the product. for example a needle or other sharp object included in the packaging of the finished goods or blood or mold on a garment.
Major Defects for Garments
Major defects are those which don’t pose a threat to the safety of the user but don’t meet the importer’s specifications or golden sample. These defects typically lower the value or usability of the product, hurt salability, and can lead to customer returns.
Factory workers may be able to repair to rework the defective garments, but sometimes they can’t easily remedy these major defects.
Example of major defects you may find in garments is a broke seam, incorrect stitching, incorrect colors or designs, sizes out of tolerances, incorrect WCL, or fabric issue, etc.,
|1||Infestation of living insect||Critical|
|2||Any sharp points, sharp edges such as protruded nail, broken needle, etc.||Critical|
|3||Unsecured button or snap||Major|
|4||Large color, dirt, oil, or solution stain on the surface of the item||Major|
|5||Any broken, missing stitches or open seams||Major|
|6||Colour shading difference within the same pieces does not conform to the client’s requirement||Major|
Minor Defects for Garments
Minor defects typically don’t affect the salability of a product and aren’t normally identified by the customer, but they’re still issues since importer has different acceptable quality limits for garments inspection, these defects found in isolation are typically accepted by the importer, except the number of defects is found beyond the AQL, that lead to shipment rejected.
Examples of minor garment defects such as :
- Misprinting on labels, stickers, or shipping marks,
- Untrimmed threads, missing stitches, or uneven stitching
- Wrinkle or puckering
- Color shading between garment pieces
- Dirt and other marks on the garment surface
So it’s very useful to clarify the quality tolerance for various defects in a detailed QC checklist and provide it to both your supplier and your third-party quality inspector, which will help you ensure consistent quality across all of your garment suppliers.
5 – AQL for Garments Inspection
Most of the garment brands hire a third-party inspection company to inspect every shipment, By relying on the internationally recognized AQL standard, importers have chances to review the inspection report and check the quality level of the shipment. ( AQL 2.5 for Major defects, AQL 4.0 for Minor Defects is the most standard we used for garments inspection).
Strictly adhering to the guidelines we’ve discussed above is a huge step towards ensuring that all garments being imported are not just dependable in their level of quality after the final garments inspection but also adhere the standard expectations by customers and/or other legal and social obligations the importer needs to abide by.
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