Let’s Get To The Basics: Inspection Process In Apparel Industry Part I

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The quality of a garment is subject to the perspective from which we are assessing it. For a user, fitness to use is quality, i.e. the value the product generates for the user; and for a manufacturer, quality is simply conformance to standards, but what aligns both these perceptions is inspection. Inspection helps us ensure we get the quality, as perceived both by the user and by the manufacturer.

Let’s get to the basics:

Fabric Inspection Process in garment industry refers to the visual examination of the raw material, the work in progress and the finished garment, against the expected specifications for the garment, on an allocated inspection workstation, assigned to inspect a particular set of specifications, as needed at that stage.

The basic principle of inspection can be defined by the Inspection Loop:
image 2
In my last article what is fabric inspection and grading, I focussed on the need and process of fabric inspection when it is received at the fabric store. This article series explains the various inspection processes which should ideally be followed during and post manufacturing of a garment to maintain quality and avoid any rejections.

To ensure the garments are produced as per the quality expected, proper inspection planning needs to be set in place, i.e. identifying the critical points where inspection should be conducted, and the specifications against which the garment needs to be inspected.

The first stage at which the inspection should be conducted are:


Pre-production inspection is conducted for getting the buyer’s approval, for which, samples are prepared before the actual production starts. This is done in the sampling department. Samples in this inspection stage are assessed against:
image 3
At the pre-production stage, different customers’ may have specific requirements in terms of quality features and prices, inspection and testing of material, washing, lap dip, checking of paper patterns, markers and cut parts, and production sample. These specifications are actually the buyer’s requirements, characteristic to the particular style.

The following guidelines should be considered for pre-production inspection:
image 5 table
The next inspection stage that follows the pre-production inspection is the initial Production Inspection or the Pilot Run.


The initial production inspection or Pilot Run is conducted on the initial production batch to identify any variations to the required specifications before the bulk production commences. A pilot run is conducted on actual fabric, to assess:
image 4
The test method and the respective specifications and tolerances selected for this inspection are subjective to the buyer’s requirements.

Once, the Pilot run successfully completes, bulk production starts, and in-process inspection stage arrives.

The Pre-production inspection stages are the 2nd step of inspection after fabric inspection stage. There are various other processes of inspection which are followed in the industry to maintain quality. Watch out this space for explanation of the next set of inspections.

Let me know your views in the comments section below.

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  1. MANOJ KUMAR says

    Dear mausmiji, This is really good to know about garment inspection.Thanks for your feed back.Do you have any time factor idea ,Means how any mts. to be inspected/min. Because we know time is very important tool for all in modern world.

  2. ngocbich133 says

    Thanks for sharing great knowledge. Have a nice weekend.

  3. Imtiaz Khan Jewel says

    Dear Mousumi

    Keep mailing your .

    Imtiaz Khan Jewel
    Manager Quality Assurance
    Southpole usa

  4. Anonymous says

    Thanks for sharing knowledge.

  5. Anonymous says

    Fabric inspection should be done in the fabric mill itself before the fabric is shipped to the cutter by the cutter. As buyers these days focus on speed more and more these days its important that we cut all possibilties of re-rework,rejection of fabric at the factory level which will cause additional additional time.

    1. Mausmi Ambastha says


      It’s true that time today is the most important entity and manufacturing facilities should work upon saving as much time as possible. But it is also true that the report we receive from fabric mills cannot be deemed correct. This is the same case of fabric length ticket where the length mentioned is not always as per the actual length of the roll.

  6. Gemunu Amarasingha says

    You are sharing with us much useful information. Thank you very much for those.

  7. ronit says

    Hi Mausmi,

    Nice Insight….write on and keep me posted. I am following.


  8. Anonymous says

    Hello Madam, is there any standard for how many no of mts to be inspected per minute. I mean the speed at which fabrics needs to be inspected?

    1. Mausmi Ambastha says

      There is no standard for this. It depends on various factors like fabric type, inspection model, inspecting machine(auto or manual), etc..

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