Fabric Roll Inspection in a Garment Factory

The fabric roll inspection processes including common textile testing followed by a readymade garment unit are listed and explained in this article.

Fabrics, for easier transportation, comes in the form of rolls or meter flat roll in export and production houses. This form of storage is more compact and sturdy making it easier for handling. But how is the fabric inspected before cutting and what the key checking points for the fabric to be accepted from the fabric supplier?

Checking Fabric GSM
The apparel production houses receive fabric from the mills either in the final dyed or printed form or in the greige form. For greige fabric, no such inspection apart from checking of the weave/knit is done since it will go for further processing. For the dyed and printed fabrics, the following inspections are done to ensure that the fabric received from the supplier is acceptable.

  • Fabric GSM checking
  • Preparing fabric shade band
  • Fabric shade variation 
  • Shrinkage test
  • Bowing test
  • Fabric defect checking (4 point system)

Fabric GSM checking 

The rolls received from the mill need to be checked for the GSM (Gram per square meter). Due to variable production conditions, the fabric received may not be of the same GSM as per confirmed in the FOB. For a roll to be accepted for further production, the GSM of the fabric must lie in between a certain control limit assigned by the Buyer.

For example, the assigned GSM of a fabric to be accepted is 126 and the control limits set for the fabric is +7% and -3%. This means that the GSM of the fabric rolls has to be in between 122 and 135. It is done for both conditions, before and after wash to check for any abnormal variations after wash.

Continuity card and Shade band

For most of the dyed or printed fabric, it is not possible to keep the colour shade of the fabric uniform throughout the order as they are made in batches where colour shade varies as it is difficult to maintain uniformity. A garment cannot be made contain shade variation in its components, so it’s a strict policy to check the entire shipment for all the shades present. For this fabric swatch from all the rolls of the fabric are cut and checked against the approved FOB. On the basis of this, particular shade number is allotted to all the shades found throughout the shipment. Since only a limited amount of shade variation can be tolerated for a shipment, on excess variation all the shades have to be checked with the buyer for confirmation.

CSV (Centre Selvage Variation)

It is one of the most important testings that needs to be accurately done. Not considering this variation in the shade can lead to a mismatch in the shade of the garment component even if they are cut from the same ply. For this, the fabric is cut in parallel to the width with a length of approximately 15 cm and it is then divided into 5-6 parts. The numbering of the parts has to be done serial wise starting from one selvedge to another. After which the parts have to be interchanged among them and stitched. What this will do is make the change in the shade throughout the width more prominent by discontinuing the shade at the cut.

Since it is a very prominent defect in the fabric, only a certain percentage of rolls with this defect can be accepted. Exceeding the limit can lead to the rejection in the entire fabric ordered making the fabric supplier questionable. For a minor CSV, a marker can be altered to keep the components next to each other throughout the shade.

End to end shade variation

It is checked to ensure if the colour shade throughout the fabric roll is uniform or not. For this, a strip of fabric is cut from both the ends of the fabric and sewn with each other. Then the cut parts are compared for change in any shade variation through a shade card. Companies have their own tolerable level for which this variation can be allowed for cutting. On exceeding that the fabric supplier becomes questionable for this kind of variation.

Fabric shrinkage test 

It is one of the most important testings that needs to be done to check if the fabric rolls received to have the shrinkage in accordance with that of approved FOB. If not, there is a certain control limit within which the shrinkage in the fabric can be tolerated. The shrinkage is then later added on to the marker patterns before cutting.

Bowing 

This is done to check for bowing present in the fabric. It is not of much important in heavy fabric like that of denim, but for light or medium weight fabric it is a must as the garment drape and structure will depend on this. This is done by taking a 15cm fabric, cut along its width. The fabric is then folded in between and hanged by holding the two corners along one side from the selvedge. The bowing then comes visible in the drape. The difference between the points with maximum deviation is calculated and the bowing percentage is measured from that.

Note, the bowing percentage is the ratio of deviation with that of the cuttable width of the fabric.
Bowing %= (deviationX100)/(cuttable width x 2)
A 3% bowing is often allowed for all types of woven fabrics but for printed fabrics, a maximum of 1.5% bowing is to be allowed as the print in the fabric is affected with bowing greater than that.

4-Point inspection system

It is the most widely accepted inspection system used in the apparel industry to check for defects like holes, slub etc. in the fabric. Read more detailed information and procedure for the 4-Point inspection system.

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