Textile Defects: Prevention is Better Than Costly Cures

Textile defects can potentially cripple businesses, as your brand’s reputation takes a blow every time an unnoticed imperfection that makes it out of the factory doors.

By the time textiles with defects reach you, it’s already too late. Avoid costly mistakes and product recalls by implementing quality control measures on the factory floor to save yourself embarrassment and unnecessary expense.

Inspection Procedures

Hundreds of things can go wrong during production to cause a variety of defects in textiles. Spotted early on, they can be quickly fixed with minimum expense.

The industry standard for quality control in textile manufacturing is the Four Point System, recognized worldwide as ASTM D5430 – 07(2011) Standard Test Methods for Visually Inspecting and Grading Fabrics for Commercial Shipments.

Under this procedure, quality control inspectors pull random rolls of fabric and assign them grades on a scale of 1 to 4 points, according to the size, quality and significance of any defects found.

Four Point System ASTM D5430 – 07(2011)
Size of Defect (length / width) Points
Up to 3 inches Up to 75 mm 1
3.1 - 6 inches 75 - 150 mm 2
6.1 - 9 inches 150 - 230 mm 3
More than 9 inches More than 230 mm 4

Common Quality Defects in Textiles

Here are some of the most common defects in textiles that manufacturers should be on the lookout for.

Drop Stitches, Missed Stitches and Holes

These are random gaps and lumps commonly found in raw textiles which can be caused by the following:

  • Incorrect yarn feed tension
  • Slubs and knots
  • Yarn overfeeding or underfeeding
  • Loose stitching during production process
Prevention Measures

Set the correct tension and feed rate for yarn carriers and other machines so the yarn is neither too loose nor too tight during textile production.

Horizontal lines

Irregular lines that appear across the fabric that are not part of the pattern. The lines can be caused by wrongly adjusted bobbins and irregular thread tension.

Prevention Measures

Frequently check and replace the bobbin, and adjust thread tension and positioning appropriately.

Common Dye and Printing Defects

Shade variation

Inconsistency in the depth of color between rolls of raw textiles caused by one or more of the following:

  • Mixing of fabrics used in production
  • Time and speed variations in the production process
  • Improper cutting, bundling, and/or numbering
  • Uneven fabric stretching
Prevention Measures

Use the same base material and set of parameters for each production lot. Workers should only combine garments of the same color when cutting and bundling raw textiles.

Dye Marks

Dye marks are irregular patches on the surface of raw textiles. They are commonly caused by:

  • Low-quality base fabric
  • Improper leveling agents
  • An incorrect pH in the production process
  • Entanglement in the dye machine
Prevention Measures

Ensure the base fabric is top quality before stitching to prevent problems further down the production line. Maintain correct pH levels and use an appropriate dying agent. Having backup power will protect against machines shutting down during power cuts.


Stains, spots and patches can occur at any time during and after production. They are especially common among dyed textiles. Dirt and oil in the machinery are the biggest culprits, as well as errant dyes.

Prevention Measures

Carry out regular inspection and cleaning of the machinery, and wrap fabrics for storage in areas free of dirt, oil, grease and dyes.

How Can QIMA Help You?

In addition to the professional on-site inspections we offer, you can have your products tested at one of our international labs, where we provide a full range of professional chemical and physical tests for all types of textiles to help you meet international compliance requirements.

We operate three ISO accredited in-house laboratories located in the US, Hong Kong, and China. Tests can also be conducted at labs in our extensive worldwide network of vetted associates. See our lab locations here.

With QIMA lab tests, you receive transparent results and a rapid turnaround time, saving you time and money in the long run.

Contact us to find out more about our fixed-price options for your fabric and lab testing needs.