Many companies require an inspection of their products at various stages of the manufacturing process. This is done to ensure an acceptable product is produced for the customer.
The most common type of check is the workmanship check, or appearance inspection. A majority of this type of check is performed by factory workers, using only their eyes, often with minimal to no aid from equipment.
Workmanship check typically includes:
- Checking for foreign particles on food packages
- Checking for stains on cloth and furniture
- Checking for flaws on metal/resin components
- Inspection for defects, such as chipping or burrs, generated during resin/rubber molding processes
- Inspection for defects in unlit LEDs
Visual inspection is simple and less technologically advanced compared to other methods. Despite this, it still has several advantages over more high-tech methods. It is also one of the easiest and most reliable inspection techniques to perform.
Workmanship Check Procedures
According to the degree of attention to different parts of clothing when people meet or observe, the garments are divided into A area, B area, C area (see below).
- The A area is the area near the head region, it is usually neckline and shoulder.
- The B area is the visible part except the head area
- The C area is generally difficult to observe, such as the inside of garment, the hem, the sleeve, or the inner outside area of the trouser.
For garment visual inspections, the same type of defects when in different parts of clothing, determine that the types of defects will actually be different. For example, the color yarn (less than 5mm) on shirt, if on collar (A area), determine as major defect, if in the chest or back area (B area), determine as minor defect, if in bottom position (C area), determine as minor defect, if on the inside (C area), it may not be determined as defect.
The garment should be placed on a flat level surface and all packaging materials as well as components should be opened (buttons, snaps, zippers, etc.)
The visual evaluation should be performed at arm’s length (30 inches or 76 centimeters maximum) considering the end user’s position with regard to visible defects.
The overall quality of the product is checked at first (product presentation, cleanliness, symmetry, etc.), then the sewing quality is checked.
For the first part of the inspection, customer’s requirements, approval or reference samples, product specifications, color standards, and pictures are essential to inspect each product for conformity. The more information customer provides about the product and packaging, the more successful the inspection will be.
General appearance - the inspection engineer normally checks if products have the same style, size, material, design, pattern, and color as specified. He/she checks for dirt, oil stains and foreign matter, as well as examines if there’s similar appearance and symmetry between any components that make up a set.
Workmanship - The inner and outer surfaces of the product is checked for manufacturing attributes such as seam, stiches, threads, embroidery, printing, pressing, etc. Same procedure is performed on attachments and accessories to the primary product.
Color – The product will be checked for color, color shading, discoloration, color transfer, and surface texture/finish differences within a product, the bulk products against the approval/reference sample, and between products of the same style/color. The same procedure is also performed on attachments and accessories to the bulk product.
Touch & feel – The inspection engineer in this part, checks if the fabric and other materials have the same feel or “hand” as the approval or reference samples.
Attachments & accessories – The quantity, size, style, design, color, and method of attachment, alignment, basic function & strength of attachment with normal force are checked in this part. Normal force is a force applied onto the inspection sample or its components, by means of modeling the actual strength in real-use-scenario, to check the toughness or strength of the sample. The force ranges from 5 to 7 pounds and is akin to the strength to pull the tab of a pop-top can.
Labeling, printing & marking – Here the inspector checks if the correct labels/hangtags are present in the specified locations and are attached in the specified manner. All labels found on the product will be recorded. Labels normally covers the following:
- Care instruction (see Care Label Check in Garment Inspections)
- RN/WPL number
- Country of origin
- Fiber content
- Style & trademark
- Barcode, UPC code, retail price, etc.
Permanent label verification process – without using any toll or solvent and under a prerequisite of not damaging the label itself or the product, the label shall not be removed. As an illustration, when the inspector attempts to remove the paper label from the surface of the product, under the three circumstances: it can’t be removed, it is torn into pieces, or it damages the surface of the product in the process, the label will be considered as permanent one.
The inspector does the appearance check against the above mentioned definition only if the customer mentions that one label shall be “permanent label” during the inspection and the label must be stably attached to the product via an observation. The declared permanent affixation manner might be from printing, embossing, stitching or permanent sticking, etc. Usually, putting on surface, inserting or clipping will not be permanent affixation methods. Hangtag and removed label sticker are not regarded as permanent label. No specific testing is performed for the permanent label validation.
What to Pay Attention to
Leather garments - attention to the thickness of the leather, any torn, large pore, mildew, etc.
Heavy knit garments – the hem must be flat
Lined dress, suit and jacket – the lining mustn’t be exposed
Fusible interlining - must be flat and pulp must not penetrate to outside
High density, thin fiber knit wear – attention to evenness, pulling yarn
Hanged garment – proper measures should be taken to prevent press mark
Jeans pant – there should be no twist on side seam
Suit and dress – the collar and sleeve shape should be smooth, and fit to body
Poly bag size – should not be too big or too small
Products fixed with metallic fittings – attention to the rusty stain, oxidized stain on the surface
Most Common Defects
- Bumped/bulgy cartons
- Damaged/crushed/deformed shipping carton
- Empty space in shipping cartons or inner carton
- Unusual smell
- Poor workmanship of wooden pallet, such as wrong structure,
- Weak corrugated cardboard
- Unstable pallet stacking or goods stacking on pallet
- Sealing and fastening material and method cannot meet client’s
- Wrong connection method of carton construction – glue or staple
- Mildew or mold on wooden pallet or shipping carton
- Sharp stools, such as knife, blade, scissor, and exposed nails, inside
- Wrong assortment/packing
- Wet shipping carton
- Foreign material (trimmed thread end, foreign fiber, dust, etc) floating
- Hanger cannot hold garment
- Hangtag hidden inside garment, or barcode invisible from poly bag
- Label/tags turned upside down
- Loose packaging, oversized poly bag
- Poor presentation of garment
- Garment folding not as specified or packed with wrinkles/unwanted
- No air hole at poly bag
- Poly bag thickness less than 0.038mm (for garments exported to
- Exposed nails or staples point on box.
- Broken/damaged hanger, wrong/missing hanger
- Damage/damp unit box/poly bag
- Foreign substances such as mildew and blood, hair, insect, worm, etc
- Hanger/clip press mark
- Incorrect size, color packed in one set
- Incorrect size/style no., color printed on unit box/poly bag
- Unusual smell/odor
Marking/label/print on packing/product
- No warning clause/marking on poly bag
- Missing/wrong tracking label for USA children garments
- Some information do not obey the law or religious belief of the
- Wrong label sticker
- Wrong/missing shipping mark information
- Chinese letters on the package
- Insecure sewing label
- Misplacement of hangtag/labeling/marking
- Missing/detached hangtag/labeling
- Poor printing of barcode
- Illegible print
- Wrinkle/air bubble/scratch on label
Appearance and workmanship
- Use of monofilament sewing thread that will hurt customer’s skin
- Any sharp point/edge on accessories
- Loose stud/button/rivet or trim on baby products (under 36 months)
- Needle detected
- Mildew, insects, blood mark
- Loop stitches, open seam
- Unusual smell/odor
- Color shading difference within same products with gray scale 4 (or below)
- Reverse face and bottom side of fabric
- Torn leather
- Poor printing
- Water spot
- Crease mark
- Neps/pills on surface
- Coarse/fine yarn
- Float/fly yarn
- Snagging yarn
- Pull out loop
- Mending mark
- Abrasion mark at leather
- Scratch/burn/paint/cut mark
- Mismatched stripes/prints
- Uneven washing effect
- Pilling/hairy on garment surface
- Zip/button mark made by improper pressing
- Broken/skipped stitches
- Seam slippage
- Open seam
- Snarled stitches
- Run-off stitches
- Loose/tight stitches
- Blind stitching visible
- Under stitches exposed
- Insufficient seam allowance - major if over 3/8”
- Uneven seam allowance – major if over 3/8”
- Line of needle hole
- Pucker at seam
- Asymmetric parts
- Uneven sleeve length/short-long sleeve length
- Uneven leg/short-long leg
- Uneven stuffing
- Pocket flat not centered over pocket
- High-low placket
- Inclined belt loops
- Fusing bubble at interlining
- Incomplete adhesion interlining
- Missing interlining
- Fusing crease at interlining
- Malfunctioned accessories (zipper, Velcro, snap, stopper, buckle, etc)
- Button setting inside out
- Bigger/smaller buttonhole
- Button and button hole not aligned because of bulge
- Insecure shoulder pad attached
- Non-alignment of button placement
- Improper button position
- Improper placement of accessories (Velcro, snap, embroidery,
- Broken embroidery
- Poor stitch quality of embroidery
- Rusted metal accessory
- Accessory easily pulled off
- Missing/detached/insecure/damaged/ragged accessories
- Paint peels off on eyelet
- Gat at zipper end/top – major if over ½”
- Dirt/oil/glue/water stained mark
- Untrimmed raw edge
- Untrimmed thread ends at the garment– major if length over
- Stuffing fibers coming through the seam
A Well-Trained Inspector Can Detect Most Signs of Damage
Breaking down the elements of the inspection process gives three basic elements:
- Knowing what to look for
- Knowing how to look for something
- Making a decision without bias.
Unfortunately, visual check has limitations if conducted by factory workers only. The quality of visual inspection depends both on the use of appropriate standards and the expertise of the visual inspector. The better trained and more experienced the inspector is, the more reliable their inspections results will be and the more units they will inspect per shift.
Besides adherence to the inspection instructions and briefings prior to each inspection, inspectors should also be experts in the product being inspected. This ensures that they are able to work as efficiently as possible.
V-Trust engineers when conducting quality check on garments are fully trained to perform workmanship checks according to client’s requirements and market regulations.
V-Trust has a solid history in helping overseas importers ensure their garments will be shipped in accordance with their quality standards and in compliance with markets’ regulations.
For more information concerning quality control and regulations, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is not very uncommon for us in the quality control industry to come across situations which importers (mostly unexperienced) do not fully understand cross-border regulations on care labels and its importance to consumers’ satisfaction with the product they are buying.
As the demand for inspections in the garment & textile industry has increased dramatically within sourcing destinations such as India, Vietnam, Malaysia, our inspectors on the ground have had the opportunity to generate quality statistics from the most common garment defects that have been found while inspecting at garments' suppliers in these countries.