Materials testing #17659/17801

Materials test sample #17659
The cost of textile failure accounts for more than 5 billion dollars in losses each year (2003). Accordingly, you need to process your textiles regardless of fiber labeling to ensure quality performance. Shown is a processed denim sample, the finished dimensions are 18.5″ x 19.25″ (full size form).


The purpose the testing was to ensure the trim (bungee cord) weathered the processing well. The form was designed by the company for their typical use which appears to be gauging the quality of different types of washes that can be applied to denim. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the weave itself was considered.


In the photo above, the grain torquing is evident and once constructed, the side seams of the pant legs will twist but no mention of the fabric defect is made on the form. One could hope a torque test had been done previously but if it had been, the fabric (and this sample) wouldn’t be in evidence. The best way to test for torquing is to sew the sample into a tube before it’s processed. No fewer than 5 people were involved in this test sample but everybody missed this detail. Similarly, the starting dimensions of the piece (pre-processing) does not appear but the lack of that information could mean the company has a conventional size they always cut; the size being a matter of in-house standardization. I’d recommend that DEs cut a piece 20″x20″ for fabric testing.

Materials Test Sample #17801
The sample below measures 19.25″ x 17.75″. This form is a bit different as it was generated during the product development phase (full size form).


The purpose was to test whether the button and ribbon trim will withstand the rigors of stonewashing and in this case, it appears that neither will be suitable. While this isn’t good news, it’s better to know before one has cut 10,000 units, sewed them and then processed them. This sample doesn’t appear to be torqued but this doesn’t mean the piece goods pass inspection. I’d be concerned about the seam failure shown below.


Most of the time, all you have to do to test your textiles is to wash and dry them. If the final product will be labeled “dry clean only”, then you need to dry clean a sample that has whatever buttons and trim you plan to use, attached to the piece. If your buttons melt into the piece goods during dry cleaning, don’t you think it’s better to know that before you cut/sew your product line? One can only hope so.

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  1. kathleen says:

    This is a compilation and crude importation of all the comments posted at the original site for this document. Feel free to add your comments.
    4/4/2005 07:47:11 AM Eric said:
    What’s the source for the $5 b loss in 2003? That’s an interesting stat. Also, the photo associated with the bungee cord doesn’t show it, and it is duplicated in one of the other links (i.e., I think you used the wrong photo).

    4/4/2005 03:01:01 PM Mike C said:
    Its a good idea to test color bleed as well. Both to find out whether the color of your fabric perform as expected over a number of washes, and to see how much dye is coming out into everything else in the wash.

    This is especially important if you tend to mix light and darks in the same garment.

    4/4/2005 08:19:00 PM Kathleen said:
    I see I put up the wrong photo. Hopefully I’ll fix that soon, thanks.

    Bleeding is an issue, absolutely. There’s actually all kinds of things to test for and formal ways to test them (there are labs that just test textiles).

    I know a horror story involving Mary Kay cosmetics way back when. Mary Kay had ordered 200 solid red blazers lined in white acetate. When those ladies worked in the hot Dallas sun, those jackets bled all over their blouses; it was a nightmare. Maybe that’s why they went to pink, who knows? lol

  2. La BellaDonna says:

    I’ve been wrestling with the Bleeding Denim From Hell. It’s been through numerous washes at the laundromat, and has been subjected to an industry excess-dye remover, and an industry dye setter, courtesy of Dharma Trading, supplier of dyes (not the one for this denim, BTW, which was a commercial piece of goods) and RAYONS, SILKS, AND COTTONS suitable for future contests. The finished garment hasn’t crocked on skin, but it did bleed through onto a white terry washcloth when a spot was scrubbed, so it will be a Wash Separate. It’s a nice piece of goods otherwise; if anyone has a great solution to staunch the bleeding, I would appreciate hearing it.

  3. Barb Taylorr says:

    I thought I’d offer an amusing fabric test experience that happened to me to see if anyone else has have ever encountered it. It still makes me laugh many years after the fact.
    I worked for a women’s sportwear company that purchased most of our fabric from mills that exhibited at the PV shows. Before making sale samples we always confirmed the wash care the mills provided was accurate by doing in house tests. Some mills were notorious for dragging thier feet on sending care info. Often times our protos were approved before we received any care info at all. The designer felt that was OK, because our customers were used to dry cleaning and if something turned out to be machine washable that was just an added bonus.
    Such was the case one season for a cute poly vest with heat set quilt design (a fabric that was made to look like an intricate quilt design but was made by melting the layers togethers with little pin pricks.) When they FINALLY answered our request for care info it read as follows: “Do not machine wash. Do not dry clean. Do not use hot or cold water. Do not dry.”
    What??? I figured it was a language barrier but they never gave us anything else after repeated inquiry. We tried hand washing, dry cleaning, spot cleaning.. etc. Turns out their care was very accurate. It should have just said “Do Not Wash, throw away when soiled”. Needless to say the adorable little vest got canceled from our line.

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