Different Kinds of Testing and Approval Required for Fabric to Garment Manufacturing Process

Different Kinds of Testing and Approval Required for Garmenting Process
Amarnath Sharma
MBA, NIFT-Bangalore, India

Testing of fabric and garment:
Quality management is the integration of all functions and processes within an organization in order to achieve the continuous or continual improvement of the quality of goods and services for the customer satisfaction. In apparel manufacturing industry, testing and approvals at different stages are an important process to produce the suitable product for the end customer and to avoid accumulated monetary loss due to problem finding at the final stages. Testing is basically done in laboratory of the factory and which are not facilitated in factory lab, may be tested to the independent out side lab. Some time third party lab is recommended by the buyer. In case of own retail company, different department should be developed for approval and close monitoring of test result of product.
Textile Testing
Different kind of testing of fabric and garment:

1. Color fastness test: There are different kind of fastness in different condition some of them are as follows: 
  • Crocking; through this method transfer of color of fabric or garment is evaluated in dry and wet condition through crocking machine by using crock cloth and chromatic transference scale. 
  • Color fastness to light; this is for evaluation of color fading in sunlight. How much color would fade in a specified condition of sunlight?
  • Color fastness to laundering; this test is basically for the evaluation of fabric color loss due to detergent solution and abrasive action equivalent to five home laundering. Minimum five wash guarantee is given by all the reputed fashion brand for their product.
  • Colorfastness to perspiration; this is for determining the color loss of fabric through perspiration. Three specimen of color textile are soaked in simulated acid perspiration solution and allowed to dry slowly at a slightly elevated temperature in a circulating air oven for at least six hour.
  • Color fastness to water; Dyed, colored or printed fabrics resistance to water is tested through this method. De-ionized or distilled water is used for this test method because natural water is variable in composition at different places.
  • Colorfastness to sea water; Swim wear, bath wear made from colored yarn, dyed fabrics or printed fabrics are need to be tested for this. Artificial sea (Salted) water is used for this test method because composition of sea water varies at different places 
2. Construction test: Construction of fabric is based on yarn standard and weaving quality. Following two kind of tests are important to know the construction and characteristics of fabrics; 
  • Yarn quality and count test; Measurement of yarn thickness, plies and quality of yarn spinning and weave, comes under this test.
  • Weight test; Measurement of fabric mass per unit area / weight, comes under this test. 
3. Performance tests: Dimensional changes in fabrics and snagging resistance of fabrics come under this test. 
  • Shrinkage / dimensional changes; this is generic term for changes in length and width of fabric in a specified condition of wet processing. The changes are usually expressed in term of percentage compare to the original fabric. This test is important to know the dimensional changes of any kind of fabric while laundering at home in a given temperature, process and method. 
  • Snagging resistance of fabrics; snagging is common feature in woven and knitted fabrics and it is created when an object pulls, plucks, scratches, drags the yarns from its normal pattern. Snagging is of basically three types. 
   i. Only protrusion and no distortion,
   ii. Only distortion and no protrusion and
   iii. Protrusion and distortion both. 
       Fabric sample placed in a cylindrical drum along with spiked ball and rotate. Snagged fabric matched and compared with original fabric for knowing the degree of snagging.
  • Abrasion resistance; this test is for the determining the resistance to abrasion of woven and knitted textile. 
  • Pilling resistance; Formation of pills and irregular surface due to rubbing is measured through this test. 
4. Strength and stretch test: Following kind of test is normally done in this category; 
  • Tear resistance; Average force required to tear the fabric from a fixed distance. 
  • Seam slippage; Measurement of force required to slip the seam from fabrics, which are joined together. In this method two fabrics which are joined together through the stitches are pull in opposite direction to know the seam stability.
  • Strength test; Determination of breaking force of woven textile fabrics in dry and wet both condition while clamping and pulling the fabrics in opposite direction. Force applied to tear the fabric is measured in this test. This is also called bursting strength test.
  • Stretch and growth test; this test is recommended for the knitted fabrics.In specific condition and specific load, in length and width wise how much elongation happens in knitted fabrics. 
5. Water resistance / rain test: Any textile fabrics, which may or may not have been given the water repellent finish, need to go for this test. It measures the fabrics resistance from the probable rain penetration. 

6. Ultraviolet transmittance test: This test method is used to determine the ultraviolet radiation blocked or transmitted by textile fabrics. 

7. Azo test: Chemical used in dying and printing of fabrics or sewing threads are as per the European guidelines or not? Chemicals which are not good for skin must not be used. This test is very important and mandatory for many European countries. 

8. Accessories tests: Accessories used in apparel such as metal button, zip, buckle etc also should be tested for nickel free, toxic free, ferrous or non ferrous metal etc. 

9. Subsidiary tests: Tests required to conduct main test, may call subsidiary test. Following may be considered as subsidiary test; 
  • pH test of water or any solution before wet processing. This is part of main test and before going to make any solution of chemical, water pH is tested for accuracy. 
  • Color matching test through color matching cabinet. This is part of main test and use to see the result of color loss after completion of any test comparison with original fabrics in different lights. Mainly five standards of lights are internationally recognized. D65 (day light), CWF, Inc A, TL84 / TL83 and UV light. After doing all the above test this cabinet is required to match the tested fabrics or garments with original sample. 
Many of the tests, factory can do in-house and can save time and cost. All the test and approval are not required. Factory may do the essential and required test as according to buyer standard or may make own standard of necessary test for maintaining quality parameter.

Based on above tests, following approvals are required for producing problem free garments. 
  • Physical test properties of the fabric: Representative of production in terms of quality and performance but need not to be actual color. Fibre composition and construction of fabric should be evaluated in this approval. 
  • Sample fabric approval: Representative of bulk fabric in terms of quality, performance standard, handle and appearance and construction. Fabric technologist of buyer or internal technologist should approve. 
  • Lab dip approval for color shade, handle, construction, appearance, quality and performance. This is the actual representative of production fabric in all respect. 
  • Bulk fabric approval for construction, appearance, performance, and color fastnesses. Based on lab dip approval, bulk fabric is manufactured and this approval is from the bulk fabric. 
  • Color continuity approval: This is to access shade lot of all dyed lot or finishing lot of fabric. This is also to identify that all the color lots are similar and within family lot to avoid major color shade variation in same design. 
  • Product approval: buying sample approval and assessment for fit and technical evaluation. 
  • Grades approval: Fit or technical approval of all sizes. This is called size set also. 
  • Pre production sample: Before bulk production start, apparel made with all actual production accessories and fabrics. 
  • Accessories approval for color fastness and quality i.e. Stitching threads, embroidery threads, metal button non ferrous non toxic, labels, fusing, zips, laces, elastic, button etc. should be approved for quality and performance. Button pull test in children wear is must and this is done internally through pull test machine. 
  • During production sample: While doing mass production, approval of garments from middle of production garments. 
  • Folding / packing accessories and method approval: Method for folding accessories, size, box dimension, ratio and quantity of garment in one box, outer marking etc. should be described clearly. 
Above guidelines are an idea and producer may develop their own method for approval and testing parameter. Through adopting professional approach, factory may increase their market response, less rejection percentage and increased productivity. A Chance of mistake at the final stage of production is minimized. 


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