Fabric Quality Inspection: An Introduction to the 4-Point System

August 07, 2023
Table of Contents

What is a 4-point System?

The 4-point system for fabric inspections is a standardized method used in the apparel and textile industry to evaluate the quality of fabrics. It is the most commonly used fabric inspection system in the industry.  This system evaluates and grades fabrics, giving buyers and suppliers insight into the quality of their fabric.

In this article, we will explain what a 4-Point System for Fabric Inspections is, and how it works as a tool for quality control. Let’s dive in! 

Fabric Inspection

How Does 4-Point System Work?

The 4-Point System provides a means of defining defects according to their severity by assigning demerits or penalty points.

The system is under ASTM D5430-93, a standard test method for determining the tensile properties of fabrics. It is published by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and is commonly used in the textile industry.

4 point system for fabric inspection

In the 4-point system, defects in both the warp/weft or course/wale directions of a fabric will be assigned penalty points using the following criteria:

Size of Defects Penalty Points
Defects up to 3 inches 1
Defects > 3 inches < 6 inches 2
Defects > 6 inches < 9 inches 3
Defects > 9 inches 4

However, not all defects are equal. At Bureau Veritas, defects such as holes, dropped stitches, and torn selvage will be assigned 4 penalty points regardless of the size of the defects. No more than 4 points will be assigned to any one linear meter of yard of fabric.

Calculation of total points per yard

Using the 4-point system, fabric quality is determined by the number of points per 100 square yards.

Points per 100 square yards are calculated as follows: 
Penalty Points x 36 x 100 / Inspected yards x measured cuttable width in inches

A 132 yards long, 43 inches wide fabric roll is inspected, and the following defects were found:

Size of Defects No. of Defects Penalty Points
Defects up to 3 inches 6 6 defects x 1 points = 6 points
Defects > 3 inches < 6 inches 4 4 defects x 2 points = 8 points
Defects > 6 inches < 9 inches 4 2 defects x 3 points = 6 points
Defects > 9 inches 2 2 defects x 4 points = 8 points
  Total Penalty Points: 28

What is the calculation of total points per yards?

Answer: (28 x 36 x 100) / (132 x 43) = 17.8 defect points per 100 square yards. The defect is acceptable. 

Acceptable Level

The acceptable penalty points (unit: points per 100 sq. yards) are related to fabric construction, fabric type, yarn size, fabric weight, finishing, etc. 

However, in the apparel and textile industry, most mills, brands, and buyers often have their own standards for acceptable points. 

At BV, we have our own standards for different fabric groups. It means that the acceptable points for woven fabric and knit fabric can be different. For example, silk materials have a higher acceptable point compared to synthetic polyester materials. We also set different assigned standards for individual rolls (penalty points per 100 square yards) and shipment rolls (average number of points per square yard) to ensure the quality of final shipment of the fabric.

Our inspectors can conduct the 4-point system and prepare the inspection report according to these customized standards or follow BV’s standards.

The Grading of Fabric

Upon the completion of the inspection, the total penalty points are calculated per fabric roll and for the entire shipment. The grading will be included in the inspection report.

  1. “First quality”: An individual roll/piece is graded a “First” if the penalty points per 100 square yards do not exceed the acceptable points (the stated point depends on the requirement).
  2. “Second quality”: A roll/piece is graded a “Second” if the penalty points per 100 square yards exceed the acceptable points.
  3. If the average points per 100 square yards do not exceed the acceptable level, the result of the entire shipment will be considered as “PASSED”.   

fabric quality

Types of Defects 

At BV, our inspectors are trained to spot and identify different types of defects during the fabric inspection. The findings of the defects will be included in the inspection report. Here are some of the defects you will commonly find:

Defects Descriptions
Abrasion Mark Area damaged by friction.
Color Stain

The undesired pickup of color by fabric when

  1. immersed in water, dry-cleaning solvent, or similar liquid medium, that contains dyestuffs or coloring material not intended for coloring the fabric, or
  2. by direct contact with other dyed material from which color is transferred by bleeding or sublimation.
Crease Mark Visible streak in fabric caused by folding.
Cut Selvage Cuts or breaks in the selvage area only.
Dropped Stitch Knits: Unknitted stitch.
Dyestain An area of unintended discoloration due to uneven absorption of a colorant.
Hole In fabric An imperfection where one or more yarns are sufficiently damaged to create an aperture.
Out of Register In printed fabric, colors or patterns not correctly positioned.
Run Series of dropped stitches.
Selvage Mark Lengthwise crease near selvage caused by folding or doubling of fabric edge.
Snag Yarn or piece of yarn pulled from the surface of a fabric.
Spot Small discoloration on surface of a fabric. Can be caused by dying, foreign matter (dirt, oil, water) etc.
Stain Discoloration that penetrates the surface of a fabric.
Wrinkle A short and irregular crease

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Inspec by BV

InSpec by BV is the go-to third-party inspection digital solution for product inspection in Asia. The digital solution is trusted by top brands and retailers. You can easily book apparel product inspection online for your products and get world-class support from specialists from Bureau Veritas.

The benefits of using InSpec by BV:

  • Service coverage and customer support in Asia
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