Here are some helpful tips for how to measure garments accurately:
In a typical garment inspection, an inspector will randomly pull and measure one or more pieces per SKU and record all dimensions in a measurement table. This table lets you see each measurement for all sizes and will show whether dimensions are within tolerance.
Although the garment in the above example doesn’t comply exactly with your garment specs, the deviation is within your allotted tolerance. So you could still accept the shipment, assuming the garments complied with your other quality standards.
Garments aren’t considered “functional” products in the same way consumer electronics or sporting equipment are. But that doesn’t mean you should skip on-site testing during garment inspection.
On-site testing during inspection helps ensure you’ll receive a finished product that meets your quality expectations, aside from fit. Your inspector can help verify your garment’s durability and functionality with on-site tests that mimic regular consumer use.
Below are some of the most common on-site tests performed during a garment inspection.
The inspector will put the garment on a model or mannequin to check whether it fits correctly. Inspectors will typically check one piece per size.
The number of sizes the inspector can check will depend on whether the factory has mannequins of multiple sizes available. Be sure to clarify this availability ahead of inspection if its important for you to fit each size before shipment.
Crocking tests involve rubbing a piece of white fabric on each colored fabric of the garment for 10 repetitions. Then the inspector checks the white piece of fabric for any color transfer.
The dry crock test uses a dry piece of white fabric, while the wet crock uses a wet piece soaked in water. Inspectors will typically test at least two pieces per style for this test.
The inspector will stretch a garment along its seams and any edges or openings (e.g. armholes, necklines, etc.) using a normal force during this test.
The inspector will check for any cracking of the stitching or binding after the test, as well as verify the security of any trims (sequins, beading, etc.). These trims should stretch with the garment without breaking.
This test is typically conducted on the full sample size inspected, since a quality issue with seams could have a major impact on the product’s salability.
The fatigue test of fasteners entails opening and closing any fasteners, such as buttons, zippers or snaps, 50 cycles per fastener. There should be no loss of function after this test.
Inspectors will usually test at least two pieces of each style to ensure proper functionality. A supplier will typically use the same fasteners throughout the entire shipment. So inspectors can often find any issue with the fasteners by checking a small sample size.
Inspectors will typically stretch the elastic fabric and straps of any garments that contain elastic to check elasticity. Any elastic straps or fabric should show proper elasticity without exposing elastic fibers or broken stitches during this stretch test.
Inspectors will typically check the full sample size inspected for this test, as elasticity can be vital to the fit and function of certain garments like underwear and sportswear.
The number of stitches per inch (SPI), or stitch density, can impact the strength, appearance and performance of a garment seam.
A greater number of stiches per inch often indicates higher-quality stitching.
Set a standard for stitches per inch in your spec sheet for garments before production (related: 4 Sewing Stitches Used in Manufacturing and Their Benefits). Inspectors will use a measuring tape to simply count the number of stitches per inch on at least two pieces per style. The SPI count should conform to your garment specs and your approved sample, if available for reference.
Roughly checking the SPI of bulk garments during the regular visual inspection is also helpful to ensure these are consistent with the pieces measured above.