As mentioned in the last article, quality workmanship in clothing should be a top priority when competing for consumer loyalty, as respect can be hard to earn but even harder to keep.
So, as a producer it pays to know what to look for and how you can instruct the manufacturer to fix any defects you find.
Untrimmed threads are generally considered a minor defect; however they can become a more serious issue if found in babywear or found in a significant portion of the order.
The main concern for many buyers is that untrimmed threads make the clothing appear “cheap” as it’s a sign of poor workmanship. In babywear, depending on the location of the untrimmed thread, it can be dangerous. If the thread is caught around their fingers or toes it could cause serious damage due to their delicate skin.
Cause and remedies
Untrimmed threads are one of the easiest defects to rectify. The manufacture making the clothing needs to be more vigilant while finishing and packing, trimming any excess threads before goods are packed and shipped.
Cause and remedies
Broken stitching can be caused by rough handling or poor quality thread. If there are skipped stitches, workers may be rushing, the sewing machine setup may be incorrectly set up, or the machine is not adequate for the fabric.
Stitch issues are generally considered a minor defect, but can be major if the issue is evident on a high percentage of the order or in a highly visible area of the garment.
If broken or skipped stitches are found during inspection of garments these need to be brought to the supplier’s attention. The manufacturer may be able to mend these in a reasonable amount of time if goods have not been shipped. If goods have been shipped you will need to come to an understanding with the manufacturer.
Puckering is considered a minor or major defect depending on the location and severity of the issue. Clothing affected by puckering typically cannot be fixed. Removing stitching will leave behind needle holes and puckering cannot be pressed out. If the manufacturer advises they can press it out, when the customers are washing it the puckering is likely to come back as they have had to stretch the fabric to camouflage the puckering. This problem can only be rectified in the sewing process, not after the garments are complete.
Cause and remedies
While needle damage can be caused by friction it is generally caused by incorrect needle type being used or a blunt/damaged needle.
Needle damage is considered a major defect as most times it’s not picked up until the bulk is made.
The following are just a few ways to correct the issue. Keep in mind that these remedies can only fix the issue while in production; therefore only part of the production may be saved. Once the fabric has been damaged it is not fixable.
1. Friction or heat can cause damages; machinist needs to slow down
2. Adjust the needle size and/or shape
3. Change the needles regularly to stay sharp and in working order
4. Ensure needle remains clean and clear of damage
5. Ensure the sewing machine is well oiled/lubricated
Developing tolerances and points of measure
Issues related to dimensions can easily cause an entire product order to fail bulk inspection. The best way to prevent this is to make sure your supplier follows a specification sheet. This is a document that indicates what each size should measure too. It also shows the tolerance that you’re willing to accept.
Should you or a member of the team (the manufacturer or your business) inspect the product before it leaves the manufacturer, ensure they have a copy of your specifications so that they can check your product measures to spec or within the tolerance.
If you decide to engage an independent firm to inspect the goods they may have developed their own tolerance levels, so be sure your specification sheet is clear. They also may have their own measuring method, so you will need to provide these prior to verifying dimensions.
Knowing these 5 common garment defects will help you navigate your way through some of the most common quality issues and avoid unacceptable bulk inspections, through to customer returns and unsellable products.
It’s a great idea to have your bulk inspected prior to shipping by the manufacturer, you, team member or a 3rd party business. This will ensure any garment defects or other issues have been addressed before the goods leave the factory.
Lastly, it’s important to understand and recognise that some defects in products are unavoidable. So it’s important to understand what is commercially acceptable, know your tolerance levels are and ensure your manufacturer understands this as well. Once you and the manufacturer are on the same page you will both save a lot of time and money trying to fix quality issues later.
Katrina & Team x
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