Your clothing products directly represent your company. Positive response out of your clothing products, garment and apparel will right away reflect towards your company while any negative comments and feedback will be detrimental to your reputation as well. This is why your quality control for clothing is instrumental to your operations apart from the goal of being able to manufacture your product in the right number and at the right time. In times of fast fashion, also big and well-known brands sometimes struggle with quality problems, such as Zara and H&M. Even outlet clothing of big designer brands are known to have issues.
Quality control in garment manufacturing is an automatic task for clothing manufacturers. However, it is a much more complex process whenever the operations involve importing its products from abroad. Here is our wiki guide on how to manage quality control for clothing such as creating garment quality control procedures.
3 Effective Ways of Garment Quality Control
1. Set your company’s clothing standards.
It would be impossible to implement quality control in garment manufacturing if you do not set the bar of the quality type which you want to achieve. This process is the first major part in all quality control plans and not only in clothing. Establish quality standards by determining whether your clothing and garments are buyable or not. Ask yourself if the product fits its bill or if it is worth every penny spent for it.
Customer satisfaction should be the main consideration for your quality standards. Fit and comfort are always the main concerns when it comes to garment quality. Set your quality standards around these parameters and keep it as a mark which all of your clothing products will pass in the future. These garment quality control standards will be the same standards in which your clothing manufacturing companies, custom packaging company and other third-party players will respect with your clothing products.
When it comes to mass production, it would be easy to find discrepancies from one clothing product to another. It would be very difficult to maintain a uniform quality for each one of your products most especially if they are hand-sewn and not manufactured through machines. Your company’s garment quality control standards must be considerate of this and at least provide tolerance which gives manufacturers a small room for error.
In this type of business, you need to understand not all clothing products are manufactured with the same level of quality but at least, your products should fall in a margin of quality control clothing standards which they could pass.
2. Implement on-site product testing before they are shipped out of the factory.
Some clothing lines assume clothing products and garments no longer need to undergo on-site testing because as long as the product function much like the sample then it is good to go for shipping out of the factory. Little they know is the fact, on-site testing is actually necessary whether for clothing, garments or apparel. Garment quality control procedures include testing the fit and comfort of the garment post-production phase. This process will also further test if the product meets your quality expectations along with the right functionality and durability. Here are a few on-site test which you can do;
a. Fitting test
For this process, you can try on each size variation on specific mannequins and check for yourself if the clothing products were manufactured the right way and has passed your quality control for clothing. Doing it one by one will be time consuming but trying out a few end products will give you the general gist.
b. Seam strength test
Most especially for handwoven products, it is a must to test seam strength by checking all seams and edges. Try pulling apart the clothing product with regular force along its seams and look for cracks and loose thread to verify if the seams are properly sewn. Any form of irregularity in the seams and thread line means the product is sub-standard and has failed your quality control for clothing.
c. Dry and wet crocking test
The crocking test is applicable for any clothing or apparel with color/s on it. The test is done by rubbing the clothing or apparel to a plain white cloth and see if there were any bleeds or color transfer. The dry test involves using a dry white cloth while the wet crocking test uses a wet white cloth soaked in water beforehand. Multiple product samples are used for this test for a more exact conclusion.
d. Fatigue tests
This test focuses on the add-ons of each product such as fasteners like buttons and zippers. The fatigue test lets you repeat the function of such add-ons for at least twenty to fifty times and only affirm the product has passed your garment quality procedure if it is still functional after the final trial. If any of the fasteners, buttons or zippers fail the test, then you are bound to change supplier for these add-ons.
e. Stretch test
The fabric or material used for the garment or clothing is expected to show proper elasticity. The stretch test should determine whether the product passed your quality management in apparel industry if it does not expose any fiber material or broken stitches after the stretch test. Much like the seam strength test, this is done by giving the product a slight pull with average force.
3. Performing laboratory tests on products.
Aside from basic physical tests you can perform for quality assurance in garment industry, you are also advised to take the scientific route and have your materials assessed for proper quality control. Scientific laboratories can further test your clothing material and its add-ons to make sure they are viable for your product’s purpose and design. Some accessories may not need lab testing because industry professionals can already be expert enough to test them manually.
On the other hand, lab tests may be necessary when it comes to verifying materials for clothing labeling. Since you are obliged to comply to clothing labeling requirements when manufacturing clothing products, it is a vital part of the quality control clothing process to verify if the clothing materials you have used are legitimate according to what your clothing label says or not. Failure to comply clothing labeling could be punishable by law.
The three mentioned ways for garment quality control are standard for any clothing line in this industry. It would be up to you how to perform each process and up to certain lengths. A quality assurance specialist can help. The sole purpose is to make sure your products reach the end up of the production line passing your quality standards and be rightful to bear you brand. You are also free to add up other items in your garment quality control checklist, as long as the purpose remains the same and they do not relatively slow down the manufacturing process.