Let’s Get To The Basics: What Is Fabric Inspection And Grading

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Fabric is the most valuable raw material in garment manufacturing, and still more often than not, we rely solely on our supplier’s word for it. How much time do you invest in your factory to ensure the quality of the fabric received is actually what you are paying for?

This is where fabric inspection comes into play. So let’s get to the basics of it: What is fabric inspection and grading

Fabric inspection is basically visually examining the fabric to detect the defects that can potentially mar the quality of the final garment. What makes fabric inspection in garment factories so crucial is the fact that defects detected at any stage later than spreading, will not only cost time and money, but can also cost us customers if left unchecked.

Generally, the practice followed in most factories is taking a sample of some rolls from the entire fabric lot and if the sample passes the rest of the fabric is checked visually as it is spread on the cutting table. Many times people do 100% cut part inspection post cutting to ensure quality. Ideally though, fabric inspection should be done before spreading the fabric with fabric inspection machines for better defect visibility and lower costs.

Once the fabric is inspected, defects should be marked, so that the pieces are cut around the defects. Fabric inspection will also help us determine fabric roll’s width, based on which fabric grouping can be done to ensure optimum fabric utilization by proper marker making and lay division.

The two most widely used fabric inspection systems in garment industry are:
1. 4-point system
2. 10-point system

4-Point System:

In this inspection system, the fabric defects are assigned points based on the length or width of the defect, as per the following classification:
table 1

The total defect points are calculated for 100 square yards of fabric, and then based on the company’s predefined acceptance criteria, the fabric roll is graded. Generally, fabric rolls with less than or equal to 40 defect points per 100 square yards are accepted as good quality.

For example: Assume after inspection of fabric roll of size 120 yards and width 45 inch, the following defects were found:
table 2

Total defect points per 100 square yard of fabric = (Total defect points in the roll x 36 inches per yard x 100 yards) / (Fabric width in inch x fabric length in yards)
= (20 x 36 x 100) / (45 x 120) = 13.33 defect points per 100 square yards.
Hence, this fabric is of acceptable quality.

10-Point System:

In this system, penalty points are assigned to defects, based on the following criteria:

table a_300816

Basic grading criteria in 10-point system:
• If total defect points < yardage of the fabric piece inspected, then the fabric is given the ‘first’ or ‘A’ grade. • If total defect points > fabric yardage, the fabric is graded as ‘second’ or ‘B’ grade.

For example: A fabric roll of size 120 yards x 46 inch is inspected and the following defects are found:

table b_300816

Since, the defect points (97 points) < fabric yardage (120 yards), this fabric roll is of ‘first’ grade.

Inspection is a very crucial stage in the whole apparel manufacturing cycle. It should not just be done at the initial stage for fabric, but also at various stages for garment pieces and full garment completion. So, inspect your fabric and grade it accordingly to maintain the quality of your garment, and save time and money.

If you find this information useful or would like me to write on any particular subject, please let me know in the comments below.

You can also refer following articles for further information.


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  1. Anonymous says

    Do it right quality from the fabric and stop inspection at Garment manufacturer, save time and improve leadtime…Nowadays looking speed

  2. Anonymous says

    instead of doing in factory, why can’t this be followed in mills to save time.

  3. Md. Rezaul karim says

    Md. Rezaul Karim : You have nicely explain it for eassy understanding though traditionally most of factory maintain 4points system specially for knit fabric. Still there some thing missing that related with inspection like shade veriation with batch to batch, running shade, un-even deying, bowingness etc. how it would be calculated as those points also part of visual inspection. Please explain this next feature.

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