Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for your business, it’s important to learn how to quality check fabric. Ensuring the correct quality of fabric will aid you in making cost-effective decisions when buying or creating a product.
Consider the following 10 components when making your next textile purchase to ensure the best quality possible:
1. Fiber composition
Choosing the correct fiber composition for your garment can be the base for reaching the desired quality of your product. The look, feel, and durability of a fabric all vary depending on its overall composition. For example, silk, linen, and wool all have very different and distinct properties and price ranges. A high quality silk garment will feel different than a high quality linen. Get familiar with the basic look, feel, and properties of different fabrics. This can be done by examining composition tags on clothing or yards of fabric, and through a bit of research.
2. Natural versus synthetic fibers
There are two main categories of fibers: natural and synthetic. Natural fibers are derived from plants, animals, and minerals. Synthetic fibers were created as an alternative to natural fibers, as a means for mass producing clothing more economically. These fibers are made with synthetic materials, and are extracted through a chemical process. While natural fibers tend to be more sustainable, synthetic fibers offer properties such as wicking and breathability performance features. Outweigh the pros and cons of the different fibers, and decide accordingly when buying a garment or fabric.
3. Material construction
Quality materials are closely knitted and woven together in vertical and horizontal weaves. Any gaps between yarn can be an indication of a weaker fabric, while a well-balanced combination of vertical and horizontal weaves is a sign of a high quality fabric.
4. Thread count
Thread count is the number of threads per square inch of fabric. A fabric’s thread count can be a reflection of its durability and strength. A higher thread count means that fabric is tighter and offers more durability, while a lower count indicates the opposite. Higher doesn’t mean better in all cases; different materials have different thread counts which are representative of quality.
GSM stands for grams per square meter, the standard measurement used when calculating fabric weight. A fabric’s GSM measures its density. The higher the number, the more dense the fabric will be. For example, jeans have a much higher GSM than a standard t-shirt. While GSM alone doesn’t indicate fabric quality, it can help you make the right decision in purchasing a fabric needed to make your desired product. Read more about fabric weight in our previous blog post.
Pay attention to the fabric’s color, making sure that an even tone is evident throughout. No irregular streaks or spots will be evident on a quality fabric.
When fabric fibers become loose, it’s common for them to begin pilling. Pilling is when loose threads gather into small clumps of fiber. If you notice pilling on a garment or fabric before purchasing, it’s best to steer clear.
Quality checking the overall finish of the fabric is important, especially when it comes to buying a garment. Check to make sure that all of the fabric is absent of any stretching, tears, odor, and sewing errors.
How does the overall finish feel? Is it appealing to you, or a potential customer? Would it be considered comfortable? Ask yourself these questions prior to purchasing.
9. Fabric sourcing
If possible, check the supplier of the fabric or garment you are purchasing. It’s important to shop from a supplier that has certified experience and can keep up with your volume needs. Having a verified supplier is another step which ensures that the fabric you are looking to purchase has a reliable quality. It’s even better to source ethically, which you can learn more about at Dhakai.com.
While pricing is not always an indicator of quality, it is more than not. It’s rare for quality fabrics and garments to have a very low price point. There are plenty of cost-effective and quality options when it comes to fabric and garment shopping, you just have to find them!