During Inspection

A Closer Look at Fabric Defects: 7 Types to Look Out For During Inspection

Is your customer complaining about their newly purchased jacket or pants? Are you wondering if the complaints are related to the fabric quality, the most important material in your garment? It is estimated that around 20% of garment defects are caused by fabric defects, which highlights the importance of assessing fabric quality before production. By performing a fabric inspection, you can ensure that key materials are of high quality from the beginning.

Before garment production, fabric inspection helps determine quality by looking at colour, density, weight, printing, measurement, and other quality criteria. Whether you are a merchandiser or a garment supplier, we will discuss some of the basics about fabric inspection so you can learn how to do it.

What makes fabric inspection so important?

There are many reasons why fabric inspections are an important part of any factory’s production process, aside from preventing defects in the final product. Garment brands/suppliers may experience reduced productivity or increased overheads due to defective fabric, such as:

. There will be an impact on fabric consumption/wastage if the cuttable width is inconsistent.

. Color shading among rolls or within a roll impacts product quality and requires special handling during the cutting/sewing/packing and other production steps.

. Fabric defects (such as stains/holes, etc.) can significantly affect garment consumption and increase defects found in garments.

What is the fabric inspection system?

A number of grading systems have been adopted for fabric inspection, such as the 10-point system and the Dallas system. With regards to fabric inspection, however, the 4-point system has become the most widely used.

As the name suggests, points are deducted from 1 to 4 based on the severity of the defect, with 4 points being the highest.

For a 4-point system, what is the sampling size?

A sample size of 10% is used instead of the AQL system for product inspection, which considers the total number of meters per order per colour in the lot.

How does the 4-point inspection penalty system work?

Below is a table that shows how the defect deduction is calculated on a 4-point fabric inspection. Defects are graded and points deducted accordingly. Defects for fabric are mostly measured by length.

Length of DefectPenalty Point
7 cm or less / 3 inches or less1
8 to 15 cm / 3 to 6 inches2
16 to 22 cm / 6 to 9 inches3
Over 22 cm / Over 9 inches4
Holes and Openings 2.5 cm or less / 1 inch or less2
Holes and Openings Over 2.5 cm / Over 1 inch4

There is a maximum of 4 points deducted for any single defect on the same fabric, and defects not visible on the fabric’s face are not counted.

What are the 4-point pass/fail criteria? 

Below is the equation used to calculate the result?

Points per 100 square meters =

(Total points per roll x 10000) / Length inspected (meter) x cuttable width (cm)

The passing score is usually 24 points per 100 square meters, which is a moderate level of stringency. If your fabric is of high value, you might consider keeping it below 20 points.

In a fabric inspection, what is assessed?

The inspectors use different criteria when examining the fabric’s quality.


Specifications and requirements are checked against identification stickers, shipping marks, packing lists, and packing quantities.


The weight of the fabric is a key indicator of the conformance of these materials. The fabric weight, measured mostly in grams per square, is an excellent indicator of fabric density, composition and construction. For woven fabrics, a sample is cut out by a circle cutter and weighed by one roll of each lot. For knit fabrics, a minimum of 10% of rolls must be weighed.


A fabric sample provided by a client is used as a comparison sample or, if none are available, the beginning and end of the roll will be cut for conformity testing against the inspected roll. A conformity assessment takes into account colour printing, angle gap, elasticity, and hand feel.


Quality is obviously a must. Common fabric defects include holes, stains, fabric bars, poor finishing, coarse yarn, and running knits.

How will defective fabrics be handled?

As a result of the severity of the defects, fabric might be discarded and a replacement may be required. For example, if the color shading of rolls is different, segregation by colour shade will be necessary during cutting. Additionally, fabric defects can be avoided by clearly labeling them during the cut and sew phase.

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