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How to Classify Garment Defects

Before starting a garment inspection, we have to know what is a defect and its level of relevance. This depends on the characteristics and location of the defects. So to do this, we need to have a Garment Defect Classification document. 

But, how do you determine what a defect is and its relevance? What criteria must the inspector follow?
The purchasing company defines the list of defects and their relevance. They can be specified in a document (“Garment Defect Classification”) or a Quality Manual.

 The “Garment Defects Classification” is a document that consists on:

  1. a defect list: a list with all the defects that are penalized and the degree of importance according to the area in which it is located
  2. illustrative photographs of the type of defect
  3. graphics to identify the different areas and their relevance


The defects list contains all the defects that may occur during garments production. Also, each defect is assigned its level of importance depending on the position in which it is located.

The relevance of a defect depends on how visible it is on the garment.
The level of importance is established in three categories: CRITICAL, MAJOR or MINOR.
Usually, the defects list is organized according to its type, correspondingly to:

  • Fabric
  • General appearance of the garment
  • Confection
  • Finishing, iron
  • Labeling
  • Packaging

For instance, this could be a sample of a fabric defect list:

Fabric defects
Sewing defects


To help to define the type of defect, the list is usually together with a picture of it.

Fabric defects

Sewing defects


In addition, this list must include a graphic explaining the affected areas.

These areas are divided into three categories: visible, less visible, and not visible. Depending on the type of defect and the location, it will be estimated important or not. Or it can even be considered as non-defective.

Areas of Visibility: General

Areas of Visibility: Type of Garment

The Garment Defects Classification is also a supporting document for inspection reports. It is the guide that the inspector uses to determine the defects, to quantify them. And, together with the AQL, it helps to determine if the inspection is approved or not.

Olga Fuenmayor

Olga Fuenmayor

Editor at Seampedia.
Fashion Technical Management / Consulting
Model development / Quality control / Production control.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Arif Siddiq

    Dear Olga ,
    My name is Arif Siddiq. I have been in the garment business since 1974.
    I am ex professor at FIU in Miami.
    I enjoyed your article on defects and justification where it’s position is.
    I want to share my experience and point of view on this subject.
    Please guide me how can i be part of this discussion.
    Regards, Arif Siddiq

    1. ABC Seams

      Dear Arif,
      thank you for your comment. We’d love to hear about your experience and your point of view.
      You’re welcome to share them here in the comments. You can also contact us at
      Nick, from ABC Seams Team

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