How to Calculate Fabric Shrinkage Percentage in Garment and Textile Industry?

The textile fabric has a common feature that it shrinks in wet processing. Shrinkage means the length of the fabric gets shorten after wash. So prior to cutting fabric for bulk production, you must check its shrinkage percentage in washing. The shrinkage percentage needed to add to the production pattern. Otherwise, you would not get garment of correct fit and measurement could not match the specification sheet.

This post will discuss how to calculate fabric shrinkage percentage by your own at home or in a factory. Step by step guide to calculating fabric shrinkage percentage is shown below.

Step 1: Prepare the wash test sample
Cut fabric from the roll and take fabric specimen of 110 cm X 110 cm (length X width). If you have multiple lots of fabrics rolls, take a sample from each lot.

Step 2: Measure before washing 
Mark a square of 100 cm X 100 cm (You can only mark + at the corner of the square.). Use a fabric marker to mark the fabric. This is before wash measurement of fabric length and width.

Step 3: Wash the fabric sample
Wash the specimen following dip wash or machine wash as needed. Follow washing instruction provided by your buyers. Or follow the standard washing method to find the shrinkage percentage for washing.

Step 4: Dry the sample after washing
Dry the fabric specimen as specified. Do line dry or tumble dry as specified in the test method.

Step 5: Measure after washing

Lay the specimen on a flat table. Remove creases but don't stretch the fabric. Measure the fabric length and width following marking points and note it.

Example: Let say, after washing measurement are as following
  • Lengthwise measurement =95 cm 
  • Width wise measurement = 97 cm

Now calculate shrinkage percentage specimen fabric using the following formula

Fabric Shrinkage %= (Length before washing - length after washing)*100/Length before washing

Use data from the above example:

Fabric Shrinkage

Length wise= (100 - 95)/100 = 0.05 that is 5%
Width wise= (100 - 97)/100 = 0.03 that is 3%

Fabric Growth% Calculation

In some fabrics instead of fabric shrinkage, you may get fabric growth in lengthwise or width wise or in both directions. In that case, use following formula to calculate fabric growth percentage.

Fabric growth% = (Length after washing - length before washing)*100/Length before washing

If the fabric length increases after washing and the measurement after washing is 106 cm. Fabric growth percentage will be

= (106-100)/100 = 6%

Also Read:

  1. Common Practices Followed to Control Fabric Shrinkage in Garment Manufacturing
  2. Essential fabric quality reports for bulk cutting approval

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