In-Process Inspection in Garment Manufacturing

In-Process Inspection

From the starting point of garment manufacturing up to garments ready to shipment, the inspection done is called in-process inspection in garment manufacturing. It is also called time based inspection, used for recording the result for an in-process quality inspection for the intermediate & finished product during the production process. In apparel industry, inspection is done in each section starting from spreading to finishing. Main purpose of in-process inspection is to identify the defects in the primary stages of different sections & to adopt the essential steps to rectify the defects. Because, the defects detected as earlier, its rectification cost will be lesser and easy. It has been found from survey that 15% to 20% operators are responsible for 65% to 80% defects of garments. So, if the in-process inspection is controlled properly, then the complaints for defects of garments decrease considerably.

In-Process Inspection in Garment
Fig: In-process inspection in garment industry

In every work station for each of the jobs of garments making, if the quality specification and tolerance for that job is supplied with photograph, then more good result is obtained. Specially for complicated jobs, efficiency can be increased by training or if possible, highly technological machines can be used. In order to control the garments quality, the measures that can be adopted in the steps of garments making are described below in steps:

A. Marker making:

The mistakes or defects in marker planning or in marker making, for which the quality of garments may be of lower quality are listed and discussed here so that these matters can be inspected properly before using of the marker.

  • Need to count whether all the patterns of each sizes are included in the marker.
  • Need to check whether the labeling or code numbers have been placed properly in each of the patterns drawn in the marker.
  • Need to ensure whether the direction of patterns will be adjusted to the direction of the piled fabrics.
  • Need to ensure that the way of placing of all the patterns in the marker are in the right direction.
  • Need to ensure whether the grain line of patterns have been placed in the marker properly.
  • Need to ensure that the drawn images of the patterns in the marker should not be too thick or too thin or illegible.
  • Care should be taken so that the dimension of each pattern piece be correct, that means need to ensure that for any reason the dimension of the patterns should not be smaller or bigger.
  • Need to observe if each of the pattern piece in the marker will be possible to cut properly with knife, that means need to ensure whether the operating of the knife will be possible or not.
  • Need to ensure whether the matter of check or stripe matching has been taken into consideration during marker planning.
  • Need to see if the notch or drill mark has been made.

B. Fabric spreading:

The defects during spreading of the fabrics, for which the quality of apparels may be of less quality, are described here so that these points may be specially taken care at the time of fabric spreading.

  • During spreading, fabric should be spread as per the length & width of the marker & the edges of fabric both in the directions of length & in width have to be aligned. Otherwise, the wastage of the fabric will increase and even there will have chance of cutting of defective patterns.
  • The spread of the fabric should not be too tight or too loose. If the spread is very tight, after cutting of the fabric, the size of the pattern may be smaller due to shrinkage. On the other hand, it creates problem in fabric cutting and there is fear of the cut patterns of being bigger in size, if the spread is too loose.
  • Due to the imbalance tension during fabric spreading, bias or bowing may be created. As a result, problems in sizes may happen after cutting of the pattern piece and also garments may be looked bad after making of it with that fabric.
  • During fabric spreading, if splicing is done more than requirement, then fabric wastage will be increased. On the other hand, the size of the patterns piece may be defective due to insufficient splicing.
  • Need to check that any problem arises during spreading due to the static electricity and if any problem arises for static electricity then for its removal, earthing can be done or any other measure can be adopted.

C. Fabric cutting:

The most important precondition for making of high quality garments is the cutting of fabrics in high quality. If the under mentioned facts for evaluating the cut fabrics and the patterns received from cutting room are reviewed, then assessment on the quality of fabric cutting can be imagined.

  • Whether the dimension of the pattern and the cut fabric are exactly same or not?
  • How far the edge or edges of the cut fabric have been joined due to fusion or not?
  • Whether the notch has been cut properly. Because, if the size of the notch is bigger, it may be seen even after sewing of the garment. If the notch is not cut in the specified place, then problem in pattern matching may happen during sewing of the garment.
  • Need to check regularly whether the drill marks have been made in right places and in right sizes.

D. Fabric sewing:

In garments manufacturing factory, the most spacious and the most important section is the fabric sewing section. The jobs of each sewing machine operator of this section should be regularly inspected and specially it is to be specified that up to what level of faults in each job is acceptable and always arrangements should be made for identifying the defects through inspection and to adopt measures for rectification and to control the defects.

There is no specified standard as to how much works (goods) will be inspected. But based on the price of the produced goods, asking quality and on the volume of the workforce, the self standard could be settled. For this job, adequate number of manpower should be employed and inspection should be conducted as per pre-planning and at pre-settled place. Each inspector should have sufficient knowledge on his respective jobs and it is to be ensured so that they (the inspectors) do their works with patience, honesty and with due attention. Because, the quality of their works is more important than the quantity of their jobs.

During inspection, the collection of samples from bundles must be in random process. The quantity of samples are determined by various systems, such as acceptance sampling plan, skip bundle system etc. skip bundle system is mostly used in garments making industries. In this system, the greater the defects are found, the quantities of inspection are higher and smaller the defects are found, the percentage of the products inspected are smaller.

In sewing section, the steps that have to be taken for identifying and rectification of defects in garments are listed below:

Sewing defects:

  1. Needle damage: Breaking of yarn in fabrics or coming out of yarn from fabric or big holes in fabrics.
  2. Skipped stitch: If the binding of upper and lower threads are not successively and properly done.
  3. Thread breaking
  4. Seam puckering
  5. Wrong stitch density
  6. Uneven stitch
  7. Staggered stitch
  8. Improperly formed stitch
  9. Oil spot or stain

Seaming defect:

  1. Wrong inlay or uneven width
  2. Wrong or uneven sewing
  3. If stitches are not secured that means absence of backstitch.
  4. Twisting
  5. If check or stripe matching is not maintained
  6. If seam matching is not done
  7. If unwanted things are held in sewing
  8. If fabric is sewn without balancing the face side and back side.
  9. If wrong stitch type or wrong seam type is used.
  10. If shade matching of thread is not maintained.

Assembly defect:

  1. If the finished components are not in correct sizes and in correct dimensions.
  2. If the garment is not in right size
  3. If any parts of a garment or a specified design is left or if the wrong ticket is used.
  4. If any component is not placed in right place or if the alignment is not done properly, such as button, hook etc.
  5. If interlining is not placed at the right place, or if it is in shrink or in swollen condition etc.
  6. If lining is very tight or very loose or in shrink condition.
  7. If any part of the garment is crinkled or folded which for any reason may look bad.
  8. If the shading of colors is found in the garment.
  9. If the fabric of each part of the garment is not correct.
  10. If the associated trimming used are not matched properly.

E. Pressing or Finishing:

The main objective of pressing or finishing is to make arrangement so that garments look good, because in most of the cases a customer takes the buying decision of the garments based on whether it looks good or not. Though in the decision making of a garment the price of the garments, qualities, standard etc. are also related. For this reason, pressing or finishing is very much important. How far the standard of pressing and finishing are being maintained in garments production can be known if the following points are examined during inspection of goods.

  • Is any part of the garment is burnt or there is burning stain or is it shrink?
  • Is there any kind of water spot?
  • Is there shading deviation in any part of the garment?
  • Are buttons or chains broken or insecured any where?
  • Are the folding are in right places?
  • Whether the fabrics of the garments are smooth and properly crease free?
  • Whether any part is unwanted stretched due to pressing?
  • Whether the garments are dried balanced after pressing.
  • Whether pockets are smooth and crease free?
  • Whether any unwanted crease or folding in lining?
  • Whether the shapes of the garments are right?

During pressing of garments, inspections should be done as a routine work to check the temperature of the pressing machine, that means at what temperature the pressing is being done and the pressure of the pressing head and the time of the pressing cycle.

At last I can said that in-process inspection is very important to control quality and reducing cost of garments production because, at least 65 to 80% faults can be checked and controlled through in-process inspection.

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