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Understanding and

Identification of Fabric
Defects

Source:
New Cloth Market
Understanding and Identification of Fabric Defects
Source: New Cloth Market

Often inspectors are given the responsibility of inspecting finished garments without adequate training in
fabric defects and their causes. The ultimate solution, of course, is to provide actual examples or
photographs of both major and minor defects. This section provides a list of defects and explanations and
simplifies the language and the judgments used in making visual fabric evaluations. The Quality Control
Manager can provide this list to inspectors as a practical tool for achieving uniform inspection decisions.

Major and Minor Defects

The following definitions are central to fabric inspection:

Major Defect: A defect that, if conspicuous on the finished product, would cause the item to be a second. (A
"second" is a garment with a conspicuous defect that affects the salability or serviceability of the item.

Minor Defects: A defect that would not cause the product to be termed a second either because of severity
or location. When inspecting piece goods prior to cutting, it is necessary to rate questionable defects as
major, since the inspector will not know where the defect may occur on the item.

Woven Fabric Defects

Defect Explanation Severity


Burl Mark When a slub or extra piece of yarn is woven into the Major
fabric, it is often removed by a "burling tool." This will
usually leave an open place in the fabric.

Drawbacks Caused by excessive loom tension gradually applied Major


by some abnormal restriction. When the restriction is
removed the excess slack is woven into the fabric.
Usually the ends are broken

Dropped Caused by the filling insertion mechanism on a Major


Pick shuttleless loom not holding the filling yarn, causing
the filling yarn to be woven without tension. The
filling yarn appears as "kinky". There will also be
areas of "end out".

End Out Caused by yarn breaking and loom continuing to run Major
with missing end.

Jerk-in Caused by an extra piece of filling yarn being jerked Major or


part way into the fabric by the shuttle. The defect will Minor
appear at the selvage.

Knots Caused by tying spools of yarn together Usually


Minor

Mixed End Yarn of a different fiber blend used on the wrap Usually
(Yarn) frame, resulting in a streak in the fabric. Major
Mixed Filling Caused by bobbin of lightweight yarn or different Major
fiber blend used in filling. Will appear as a distinct
shade change.

Open Reed Results from a bent reed wire causing wrap ends to Major
be held apart, exposing the filling yarn. Will be
conspicuous on fabrics that use different colored
yarns on wrap and shuttle.

Slub Usually caused by an extra piece of yarn that is Major or


woven into fabric. It can also be caused by thick Minor
places in the yarn. Often is caused by fly waste
being spun in yarn in the spinning process.

Smash Caused by a number of ruptured wrap ends that Major


have been repaired.

Soiled Filling Dirty, oil looking spots on the wrap or filling yarns, or Major
or End on package-dyed yarn.

Stop Mark When the loom is stopped, the yarn elongates under Can be
tension; when loom starts again' the slackness is Major or
woven into the fabric. Minor

Thin Place Often caused by the filling yarn breaking and the Major
loom continuing to run until the operator notices the
problem.

Knitting Defects

Defect Explanation Severity


Barre Occurs in circular knit. Caused by mixing yarn on feed Usually
into machine. Fabric will appear to have horizontal Major
streaks.

Birdseye Caused by unintentional tucking from malfunctioning Major or


needle. Usually two small distorted stitches, side by side. Minor
Broken Usually caused by colored yarn out place on frame Major
Color
Pattern
Drop Results from malfunctioning needle or jack. Will appear Major
Stitches as holes or missing stitches.

End Out Occurs in wrap knit. Results from knitting machine Usually
continuing to run with missing end. Major

Hole Caused by broken needle. Major


Missing Occurs in circular knit. Caused by one end of yarn Major
Yarn missing from feed and machine continuing to run.
Mixed Occurs in wrap knit. Results from wrong fiber yarn (or Major
Yarn wrong size yarn) placed on wrap. Fabric could appear as
thick end or different color if fibers have different affinity
for dye.

Needle Caused by bent needle forming distorted stitches. Major or


Line Usually verticals line. Minor

Press-Off Results when all or some of the needles on circular Major


knitting fail to function and fabric either falls off the
machine or design is completely disrupted or destroyed.
Many knitting needles are broken and have to be
replaced when bad press-off occurs. Bad press-offs
usually start a new roll of fabric.

Runner Caused by broken needle. Will appear as vertical line. Major


(Most machines have a stopping device to stop machine
when a needle breaks.)

Slub Usually caused by a thick or heavy place in yarn, or by Major or


lint getting onto yarn feeds. Minor

Dyeing or Finishing Defects

Defect Explanation Severity


Askewed or Condition where filling yarns are not square with Major or
Bias wrap yarns on woven fabrics or where courses are Minor
not square with wale lines on knits. depending

Back Fabric Backing fabric is often used to cushion fabric being Major
Seam printed. If there is a joining seam in the backing
Impression fabric, an impression will result on printed fabric.

Bowing Usually caused by finishing. Woven filling yarns lie Major or


in an arc across fabric width; in knits the course Minor
lines lie an arc across width of goods. Establish
standards of acceptance. Critical on stripes or
patterns; not as critical on solid color fabrics.

Color Out The result of color running low in reservoir on Major


printing machine
Color Smear The result of color being smeared during printing. Major or
Minor

Crease Mark Differs from crease streak in that streak will Major
probably appear for entire roll. Crease mark
appears where creases are caused by fabric folds
in the finishing process. On napped fabric, final
pressing may not be able to restore fabric or
original condition. Often discoloration is a problem.

Crease Occurs in tubular knits. Results from creased Major or


Streak fabric passing through squeeze rollers in dyeing Minor,
process.
Depending on the product; usually Major for
fashion outerwear, Minor for underwear.

Dye Streak in Results from a damaged doctor blade or blade not Major
Printing cleaned properly. Usually a long streak until the
operator notices the problem.

Mottled Color applied unevenly during printing Major or


Minor

Pin Holes Holes along selvage caused by pins holding fabric Major,
while it processes through tenter frame.
Major> if pin holes extend into body of fabric far
enough to be visible in the finished product.

Sanforize Results from uneven wetting out on sanforize; Major or


Pucker usually caused by defective spray heads. Fabric Minor
will appear wavy or puckering when spread on
cutting table. Difficult to detect during inspection
on inspection machine with fabric under roller
tension.

Scrimp The result of fabric being folded or creased when Major


passing through printing machine. There will be
areas not printed.

Selvage Torn Usually caused by excessive tension while Major


processing through tenter frames.

Water Spots Usually caused by wet fabric being allowed to Major


remain too long before drying; color migrates
leaving blotchy spots.
Pilling is a common fabric defect occurring on knitted and woven fabrics. In producing a yarn, long fibers
tightly-twisted produce a serviceable yarn. When short stable fibers are mixed into the yarn the result is a
yarn that will not hold together. The short staple fibers will separate from the yarn and curl up in a ball,
forming what is referred to as a pill. Pilling is accentuated by the friction of normal wear, washing and routine
drycleaning.

Originally published in New Cloth Market: June 2009