What is Serviceability of Fabric?
Serviceability is a relative term which is serviceable of performing useful service. Serviceability of a fabric is it’s length of life upto it’s end of usefulness which occurs when it becomes deficient in one necessary property. Its serviceability ceases when it can longer do so. A time element is included in serviceability. A garment is considered to be serviceable when it is fit for its particular end use. In garment for example, the end of service generally is reached when, due to color fading, shrinkage in laundering or bagging at knees or elbows the garment no longer has a presentable appearance.
After being used for a certain length of time the garment ceases to be serviceable when it can no longer fill its intended purpose in the way that it did when it was new. The particular factors that reduce the service life of a garment are heavily dependent on its end use. For instance overalls worn to protect clothing at work would be required to withstand a good deal of hard usage during their lifetime but their appearance would not be considered important. However, garments worn purely for their fashionable appearance are not required to be hard wearing but would be speedily discarded if their appearance changed noticeably. An exception to this generalization is found in the case of denim where a worn appearance is deliberately strived for.
Factors of Fabric Serviceability:
Serviceability of fabric influences by various factors of fabric quality and manufacturing parameters. The performance and durability of a fabric determines its serviceability, which will depend upon a number of factors, including the construction, use and care.
If asked, many people would equate the ability of a fabric to ‘wear well’ with its abrasion resistance, but ‘wear’, that is the reduction in serviceable life, is a complex phenomenon and can be brought about by any of the following factors:
- Changes in fashion which mean that the garment is no longer worn whatever its physical state.
- Shrinkage or other dimensional changes of such a magnitude that the garment wills no longer fit.
- Changes in the surface appearance of the fabric which include: the formation of shiny areas by rubbing, the formation of pills or surface fuzz, the pulling out of threads in the form of snags.
- Fading of the color of the garment through washing or exposure to light. The bleeding of the color from one area to another.
- Failure of the seams of the garment by breaking of the sewing thread or by seam slippage.
- Wearing of the fabric into holes or wearing away of the surface finish or pile to leave the fabric threadbare. Wearing of the edges of cuffs, collars and other folded edges to give a frayed appearance.
- Tearing of the fabric through being snagged by a sharp object.
Purposes of Fabric Serviceability Testing:
- To determine as objectively and precisely as possible whether the application under investigation is a valid and suitable use for the fiber, yarn or fabric.
- To compare a number of different fibers, yarns or fabrics.
- To determine the influence of cloth structure and finishing on performance.
- To asses suitability for purpose in instances where the fabric is considered borderline.
- To determine suitability for making up e.g. seaming properties, pleating and creasing properties.
- To assist in establishing criteria for laboratory testing and standards performance.
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