3 WAYS TO MANAGE GARMENT QUALITY CONTROL (Part 1)

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Clothing brands face daily scrutiny for their suppliers’ working conditions, their environmental impact and their delivery times. Who has time to worry about garment quality control too?

Your products ultimately need to speak for themselves. And there’s no better way to represent your brand than with a product that meets your customers’ expectations. But you can’t do that without an effective garment quality control strategy.

Managing garment quality can be especially difficult when importing garments from abroad. How can you create a spec sheet for garments that your supplier will understand? How should you instruct your QC team on how to take garment measurements (relatedGarment Inspection Guideline [eBook])?

Controlling garment quality starts with setting the right quality expectations and then inspecting and testing your products before they ship. So let’s look at three specific ways you can effectively manage garment quality—even from a distance.

1. SET CLEAR TOLERANCES FOR GARMENT MEASUREMENTS

How likely are you to buy or wear a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit? Not very likely, right?

Measuring garment dimensions is a critical aspect of garment quality control. Most consumers care about the fit and comfort of a piece of clothing more than any other factor. But garment measurements can also be one of the hardest aspects of garment quality to manage with your supplier.

Garment manufacturing is a labor-intensive process, which garment quality controldoesn’t lend itself to cookie-cutter consistency between pieces. Unlike injection-molded products and others that can be made with standardized production methods and equipment, garments are typically individually handsewn.

For this reason, you’re more likely to find discrepancies between pieces of clothing than with other products.

When creating garment specs, set a tolerance for each point of measurement that allows for a small margin of error. And provide this list of tolerances to both your supplier and your QC team to ensure goods are produced and inspected to your requirements.

Specify each point of measurement in a spec sheet for garments

Your garment specs should include:

  • Each point of measurement (POM): These will vary depending on the garment you’re manufacturing. For instance, you’ll need to measure the waist for a skirt but the sleeve length for a shirt.
  • Your desired standard measurements for each size ordered: These are normally based on a pattern grading But your sizing might vary based on your customers’ preferences and garment type.
  • Your tolerance for each point of measurement: This is the range above or below your standard measurement that you will still accept, typically presented as a “+/-” value.

Depending on the complexity of your garment, you might set upwards of 15 points of measurements.

But some dimensions for garments may be less crucial to the overall fit of the garment than others. You might use a higher tolerance for dimensions less critical to the item’s fit. Other times, you might set a lower tolerance if the nature of the item or dimension allows for a lower margin of error.

For example, if you’re manufacturing prom dresses, one such dimension might include “shoulder width from edge to edge”. This might be a less-forgiving dimension with a relatively small discrepancy of 1/8" allowed to ensure a proper fit.

You might use a looser tolerance of 1/4" for another dimension, such as “neck width from edge to edge”, which won’t affect the overall fit as much. A size 12 dress with the desired measurement of 10" for the neck width could, therefore, be 9 7/8" or 10 1/8" and still pass inspection.

garment quality control

Many professional inspectors will use a tolerance equal to half the grade rule in the absence of tolerances from the buyer. Providing your supplier and QC team with your spec sheet for garments will help ensure they evaluate your shipment to your specific standards.

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