The fast changing economic conditions such as global competition, declining profit margin, customer demand for high quality product, product variety and reduced lead-time etc. have a major impact on manufacturing industries. The demand for higher value at lower price is increasing and to survive, apparel manufacturers need to improve their operations through producing right first time quality and waste reduction. It is important to identify, quantify and eliminate sources of variation in an operational process, to optimize the operation variables, improve and sustain process performance with well-executed control plans. The industry can gain higher productivity and profitability with improved quality product by minimizing the need for reworks. It also minimizes cost and improves internal throughout time.

In garment business, it is quite usual that few rejected garments are left after shipment due to the unacceptable, and sometimes unrepairable, defects that occur during the manufacturing process. This may happen due to low quality raw materials or faulty process or employee's casual behavior (machine and/or human error). It is important, therefore, that the factory has evolved well defined check points to control the quality and reduce the rejection percentage. Reworks in the garments industry are quite common but they hamper the smooth normal production.

In the apparel manufacturing industry, main raw material is fabric; others are different types of trimmings and accessories. Operational wastages in the apparel manufacturing process are- top surface rework, printed label rework, sewing fault rework, pinhole rework, fabric rework, improper fly shape, and other reworks. The defects can be categorized as follows.

Sewing Defects: These defects are usually caused by errors arising from wrong functioning of sewing machines.

Seaming defects: These defects are usually caused by errors arising from the interaction of the operator and machine in the handling of garment.

Placement Defects: These defects are usually caused by errors arising in marking and cutting as well as sewing operations in the sewing room or a combination of all these.

Fabric defects: These defects are usually caused by errors arising from the fabric processing like knitting and dyeing.

Embroidery defects: These defects are usually caused by errors arising from the embroidery processing of the garments.

Major Garment Defects: Types, Causes & Solutions


Measurement out of tolerance

Suggested Solutions:



Notches improper at pleats

Cutting Department was informed about the cause and the reason identified was misalignment of piles during cutting. This being a major defect causing activity was asked to be checked 100% in the audit before sending the bundles to sewing. A template was provided against which the pieces were checked and in case of any devotion, white pencil was used to mark pleat positions.

Improper sweep shape after panel attachment

Bottom trimming was done to make the sweep uniform.

Puckering at waistband



Improper pre-setting of waistband after thumb pressing

Pressing was done by stem iron with a spray of starch over it. This made the handling of the waistband easier while stitching and thus reduced puckering at the waistband

The suggested solution to overcome roping and puckering is to cut the armhole binding in bias instead of in straight grain direction. This procedure completely avoids roping and puckering at armhole thus achieving the desired aesthetic look of the garment. The Quality Analysis and Control systems and its monitoring should be in place so that this defect can be detected at the initial stage of the production, avoiding reworks or rejections at later stages.

Waistband extension uneven



Improper folder setting on machine

The folder guide should be appropriately adjusted and improper materials handling avoided

Margin not followed while attracting waistband and waistband edge not finished properly

The operator must be instructed to be careful while feeding and following the margins strictly.


Improper fly shape



Top stitch is being inhibited by zipper

Provide a template to the operator and shift the stitch a

lock underneath

little below, altering the fly shape within tolerance level.

Fusing shining marks



Poor quality fusing used

Fusing should be changes and skilled operator should be given the job


Suggestions to Reduce Defects in Finishing Section

Oil spots:

  1. Application of a scrap paper under the presser feet of sewing machines after the day's work so that the machines which are leaking oil can be tracked.
  2. Proper oiling level to be maintained in order to prevent leakage of extra oil.
  3. Operator to take responsibility of cleaning the machine after lubrication.
  4. Immediate reporting of oil leakage.

Ink/chalk marks:

  1. Usage of good quality markers, the marks of which are easily washable.
  2. Avoid using pencils for marking.
  3. Usage of chalks on white and light colored fabrics.

Soil and dust:

  1. Usage of plastic bags for storing and transportation of pieces.
  2. Cleaning of checking tables and machines before the start of day's work.
  3. Avoid keeping garments on the floor, using trolleys for storage.
  4. Creating a polyethylene sheet partition between sewing and finishing departments so that fabric dust doesn't come over to the finishing unit and settle down on the washed fabric.


Suggestions for reducing no. of uncut & loose threads:

  1. Thread cutting operation to be carried out after washing in order to counteract unraveling of threads after washing.
  2. Use of thread sucking machine to prevent any loose threads to reach the checkpoint.

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This article was originally published in the December issue of the magazine, New Cloth Market the complete textile magazines from textile technologists."