What is a shade variance? Same as
color variance. Essentially a variation or change in color that
effects fabric and fashion.
When printing or dyeing fabric, the production run
can have color shade issues on a single roll of fabric or from one bolt
of fabric to the next. Shade variances can occur due to a number
of issues. The amount of dye stuff, machinery, time, fabric
quality, employee error, etc., are a few of the many possible issues
that can contribute to color problems. Shade variation can take
place during a printing or dyeing processes. It is most common
when a new batch of dyes or inks are mixed when attempting to create or
re-create a desired color. Using good technology, high quality
inks & dyes and appropriate fiber content & fabric quality is beneficial
but does not guarantee 100% success.
Fabric shade variance is the variation of shade
(depth of color or hue) in one roll of fabric or separate pieces of
fabric that were intended to match. In dyed fabric, shade variation is
often found. Shade variation may occur selvage to selvage (side to
side) or from one end of the fabric roll to another end (or anywhere in
Shading or shade variation is considered to be a
critical problem in fabric. Most quality assurance managers would
have the topic of checking fabric color variances as an important step
in their inspection process.
If color is not adequate it will negatively affect
the consumption of fabric (learn about
fabric utilization). It has an effect on fabric
utilization because the poor color section may need to be cut out of the
fabric rolls to avoid being used during garment production. This
will reduce the number of finished garments the factory can get out of
the roll of fabric. Fashion brands that want to maintain top
quality should absolutely remove unsatisfactory color shade issues from
the fabric. If the incorrect fabric is not removed there is a
strong possibility of having defective garment in the finished
Garment manufacturing factories use a standard practice to help
monitor shade variances affecting garment production. The mill
often must submit shade bands (fabric swatch samples) for each fabric
lot produced. The buyer can review the shade ban reference between
fabric lots to make sure the variance is slight to non-existent.
If the variance between lots is too much, they can reject the fabric.
They carefully number and record the fabric lots to avoid possible mix
up of fabric lots.
What is a dye lot? A dye lot can be
done to yarn, fabric, or piece dyed garments.
The fabric lot is the “batch" of fabric. For
example, if fabric is being dyed in a vat (equipment to dye fabric) only
a particular amount of fabric will fit in the vat at a time. The
fabric is dyed at the same time and then is pulled out of the vat when
the dyeing is completed, is considered to be one batch.
A dye lot is a record taken during the dyeing of
yarn, fabric, or garments to identify which has received its coloration
in the same vat or other coloring process at the same time.
For example when dyeing yarn, yarn manufacturers assign each lot a
unique identification number and stamp it on the label before shipping.
Slight differences in temperature, dyeing time, and other factors can
result in different shades of the same color between different dye lots
of otherwise identical production. Although the component elements of a
dye lot number are of interest only for internal business recordkeeping,
retail yarn consumers have an interest in ensuring that they purchase a
given color of yarn from identical dye lots. Again, each dye lot
is basically one “batch". Think about it like you are cooking
cookies. You want to use the same recipe with the hopes that
second batch of cookies you make taste just as amazing as the first
batch (the goal is to make them the exact same). It is important to
use the exact same ingredients and cook at the exact same heat and for
the same exact length of time. As you know, it is easier said than
When printing, it can be called a “print lot"
rather than a dye lot.
Variations in garments:
Garment are made by stitching number of fabric
parts together. As mentioned above, garment making factory may receive
fabric with varied shades of the same color. If precaution is not taken
in cutting department and sewing floor, fabric lot can mixed easily and
as a result you will garment with varied shade in between garment
components. When shade variation is found in between garment
parts, is called shade variation in garments.
There are method to help make sure the clothing
factory sews fabric from the same lot into one garment. Numbered
stickers are attached to all “garment parts" (cut pieces) to ensure that
sewing operators stitch a garment from same fabric layer. It is
best to use the same fabric lot for the garment. For example, if
the body of a shirt is taken from a first lot of dyed fabric but the
sleeve portion is taken from a 3rd lot of dyed fabric there
is a greater chance that the body and sleeve will have a color variance.
It is better that both the sleeves and body for the same garment come
from the same dye lot of fabric.
Similar concept holds true for dyeing and printing.
When discussing fabric shade variance we should
consider the question, “Does
shade variance matter?". Possibly the more
important question is how much variance is acceptable.
apparel quality testing,
quality testing standards, and
fabric defects. Shade variance problems are definitely
considered to be fabric defects. The severity of the differences
determines if the color is acceptable or not. This is a decision
that a fabric or clothing buyer would need to determine. They can
also receive guidance from the fabric testing labs. You may want
to also learn
about crocking and color fastness.
If you are searching for textiles for producing
clothing, you can review our
fabric mill directory or visit the
Fabric Search site (FabricSearch.org)
Learn more about
fashion colors and
fashion color cues and why they are important to the apparel &