Trims and Accessories Inspection Procedures

Do you inspect the trims prior to attaching those to your garments?

You can set inspection procedures for the trims and accessories as following. Like garments, trims are not checked for 100%. Quality inspector only needs to confirm that bulk trims are sourced as per required standards. Only trims or accessories that are made by manual processes are required to check 100% of quantity.

All the trims are made in the machine are considered as same quality. Like shades of threads, printed text on labels etc. In trims inspection, it is not just visuals inspection of the trims but many times you need to check its physical properties. To ensure physical properties are as per standards, trims are processed for in-house tests. Store personnel, testing lab (if test lab is there), merchants or R&D department can be involved in the tests.

Prior to start inspection, the quality checker must have approved standards of the trims or style wise approved trim cards. Standards for the properties are like – color, shade, measurement (width and length) and hand feel. The standard sample must be signed by the buyer or buying house merchants or factory merchant. 

Procedures for standard approvals:

Once factory received the bulk of the trims, merchant collect trims from the store and prepare the trim card and sign on it after comparing trims against the approved sample. If the merchant does not have approval or does not sure about the item quality, she sent trims to the buyer for bulk approval. Once merchant received approval from buyer they keep approvals ready for factory use. 

Trims are normally being checked against standards on the following parameters. And parameters may vary one trim to another.
  • Shade matching 
  • Shrinkage 
  • Color bleeding 
  • Width and thickness 
  • Strength 
  • Number and size 
  • Fiber content 
  • Text content/font/language in labels and tags 
All the above parameters are generally checked using following procedures.

Shade matching: When we are talking about shade matching of trims it is more important that trims color should match with base fabric rather than color code or Pantone card. Trims those are specified DTM (dye to match) requirement is checked after attaching trims on the fabric swatch. Check shade of the trims whether the shade is matched or not. Use color cabinet (lightbox) for checking shade. This test is always required for shade matching of sewing threads, embroidery threads, tapes, elastic and Dori. 

Shrinkage: If shrinkage % of the trims varies from the fabric’s (base material) shrinkage%, it will cause defective garment. Trims such as tapes, laces must be tested for its shrinkage%. To check the shrinkage, take some sample of trims (lace or tapes) of a length of about 1.2 meters. Mark on its two ends keeping a gap in between marks of exactly 1 meter. Dip one sample (the lace/ tape) in cold water for about 12 hours. Take out tapes from water and flat dry. Measure the length in between marks using same measurement tape/scale.

Now calculate shrinkage% in cold water. Secondly, shrinkage% is also checked after washing trims in the washing machine and tumble drying. The shrinkage found in testing is compared to tolerance label and decided whether trims will be accepted or not. When you are in confusion seek help for the authorized person (generally merchants).

The formula for calculating shrinkage percentage = (Length before wash – Length after wash)/Length before wash X 100 (%).

Color bleeding: Dyed trims are checked for color bleeding. Buttons, sewing threads, dyed tapes, and laces may be required for the color bleeding test. In this test, trim samples (one by one) are washed with white fabric for a number of cycles as mentioned in testing methods (AATCC or ASTM). If the white fabric is got tainted with trims color then these trims should not be used in production. Prior to use, trims must be processed for color fixing to stabilize the color. 

Width & Thickness: Measure width of the trims such as tapes, elastics, laces etc. It would be good if you take measure after wash. 

Size & Numbers: Thread numbers, button size, length of zippers etc. need to check against standards. 

Text content/ fonts/language on labels and tags: Texts are printed in the trims like hang tags, price tags, brand labels, case labels. It is very important that all information is matched with approved one. Fiber content printed in care label must match with test report made for fiber content. 

Like above test, you may need to conduct many other types of a test based on trims and buyer requirement.

Report making: At the end of inspection prepare an inspection report on the report card (formats). Your report card must have information such as i) what trims, ii) how many samples you tested, iii) comments if you found something that does not match the standards.

Finally, write your assessment on trims inspection report whether trim is approved for production or not.

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