The fabric in any garment takes the major share of its costing. Also, fabric defects are one of the major reasons for alteration or rejection of garments. Therefore, fabric inspection plays a crucial role in the fabric and garment industry. The inspection can take place at various stages of fabric production. Some prefer to do it in stores before issuing the fabrics to the cutting department. Some, on the other hand, do it during the spreading process and also inspect the cut parts at times. While some companies do 100% fabric inspection, others prefer to do a random inspection. Some factories favor fabric inspection while others choose cut parts inspection. In this article, let’s find out the ideal method for fabric inspection.
Fabric Inspection At Stores
Under this method, the fabric lot enters the factories in roll form or meter fold form. Then, the cloth checking machines helps in identifying the defects as precisely as possible. Generally, these machines consist of a slanted table with lighting from the top and bottom. They are either motorized or manually operated for winding/unwinding of fabric rolls, edge alignment, and checking fabric length. Once the fabric inspectors identify the defects, they paste small stickers near the defects or flag the edge of the fabric perpendicular to the area of the defect.
(Source: Apparel Resources)
It is not always possible to cut every defect off the fabric during the inspection time. This is because it’s time-consuming, and it will make the spreading process difficult with the numerous cut pieces. Therefore, it’s not always necessary to cut and remove defects during the fabric stage. Instead, stickers are pasted for the easy identification of the defected areas during the spreading process. Although, with the stickers, you are unable to assess the defects when the fabric is in roll form. This can be resolved with the flagging process, which involves marking the edge perpendicular to the defected areas. By following this method, the rolls with maximum defects can be identified in the roll form itself. Thus, it’s a time-saving process.
During the spreading process, the rolls are unwound, and the spreader checks the extent of defects in the fabric. Based on that, the cutting decisions are made. Generally, small defects (little holes, slubs, etc.) are left uncut. Such defects may not even be a part of the garment after cutting. However, fabric areas with larger defects (colored patches, pattas, etc.) are cut out. Otherwise, they might end up being a part of one or more garment components. After the cutting process, the remaining defects in the cut components can be checked and replaced during the cut parts inspection.
Cut Parts Inspection
You can conduct a cut parts inspection on a cutting table after cutting or during sewing. If you inspect the cut parts on the cutting table, you must follow the process after cutting and stickering of defects. Generally, after 100% inspection, only around 5-10% of the cut parts might contain defects. During the inspection, you need to remove and replace the cut components, which could disturb the stacking or alignment of the bundle. However, the cutting table inspection is not appropriate for certain types of fabrics. Fabrics that are loosely-woven or dimensionally unstable will lead to distortion or fraying of the fabrics. In such cases, the sewing operator conducts cursory checks during sewing. Both processes consume the same amount of time, but with inspection during the sewing process, distortion of fabrics is minimized.
The Ideal Fabric Inspection Method
The process of inspection generally involves three steps:
- The unwinding of fabric rolls
- Inspection, cutting, and spreading of the fabric
- Rewinding of the inspected fabrics into rolls
However, if the fabric is dimensionally unstable, the re-stacking of fabrics gets impossible. This is because it will lead to distortion of fabrics and take a lot of time. One solution is that we can combine fabric inspection during spreading and cut parts inspection during the sewing process. By doing this, we can eliminate the third step of re-stacking the bundles after cut part inspection. This can result in lesser handling of materials and thus, saving time. However, choosing the right inspection method depends on various other factors:
Number Of Defects
One of these influential factors is the number of defects in the fabrics. Let’s say the fabric quality is good, and the chances of having defects inside the cut parts are less. Then you can inspect the fabrics and cut parts during the spreading and sewing stage. Alternatively, the possibility of defects in a fabric lot can be quite high in certain cases. Then you must opt for fabric inspection at the store followed by cut parts inspection after spreading, cutting, and stickering of defects.
Quality Of Fabric
Sometimes, in the case of high-quality fabrics, factories may even skip the fabric inspection step completely. Instead, they directly go for cut parts inspection at the cutting table or during the sewing process.
The size and number of components also influence the method of inspection. A larger component or those with a lesser number of components in a style requires cut parts inspection over inspection during sewing. Alternatively, smaller components or a high number of components in a style require inspection during sewing over cut parts inspection.
One of the most convenient ways for inspecting fabric rolls is by adopting the 4-point software for grading of fabric lot.
You can read this blog for more insights: A Comprehensive Guide To Fabric Inspection And Grading System
Choosing an inspection method primarily depends on the priorities of the organizations. Determine your goals and segment your resources to maximize the output. Decide the more essential requirement for your organization: fabric inspector’s time or sewing operator’s time. Make sure that your decision reflects overall cost reduction while minimizing garment rejects.
fabric inspection and cut parts inspection.
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