A lab dip is a swatch of fabric test dyed to hit a colour standard. There are different matching systems followed in Labs such as Tube light matching, Sun light matching, Ultra Violet matching, Sodium light matching etc.

In this page

  1. What is a lab dip?
  2. Will the samples exactly match with the production?
  3. Lab Dip Matching Systems
  4. Merchandiser's responsibility with lab-dips

What is a lab dip?

Lab dye or "lab dips" is a small swatch of a fabric selected for a garment style, dyed to a specified shade. Fabric suppliers usually send lab dyes to buyers for approval before the fabric is dyed in bulk production.

A lab dip is a visual aid on how the color will look when dyed. The lab dip is typically done on a small swatch of fabric, about 6" by 6" in size. Lab dips need to get approved before running production. Please note that doing a lab dip on a beaker and running production are two completely different processes.

Will the samples exactly match with the production?

Attempts are made to match the final product as close as possible to the lab dips, but due to uncontrollable variables such as the following, the lab dips may not match 100% with the final products:

  • Dye stuff varies from lot to lot which in turn will make variations on dyed output.
  • Atmospheric conditions, such as humidity, vary in the lab room and the production area.
  • Cotton used to produce fabric absorb dye differently.
  • Fabric production from lot to lot vary. If dyeing
  • Sample fabric that is received to make lab dips and/or samples may be different from what is used in production.
  • Some colors are sensitive to heat. When drying, color can change slightly in the dryer.

Lab Dip Matching Systems

There are different matching systems followed in Labs. They are

  • Tube light matching.
  • Sun light matching.
  • Ultra Violet matching.
  • Sodium light matching (show room).

Each of the above matching will give different results. For example, if a lab dip matches to the original in tube light, will differ in sun light. So the lab dips are to be made according to the buyer’s matching system.

Different buyers follow different matching systems. Hence before proceeding lab dips, merchandiser should be aware of the buyer’s matching system. Thus the lab-dips should be made and tuned according the buyer's lab-dip matching system.

Merchandiser's responsibility with lab-dips

It is the merchandiser’s responsibility to get the Lab dips from the processing mill and to get approval from the buyer.

Also the merchandiser must be sure of making the lab dips in the actual production fabrics based on the specification provided by the buyer on number on shades and swatches.

Before sending the lab dips to the buyer, the merchandiser should verify whether they are closer to the required shade and should be arranged to redone if they wont strictly fall under the specification provided by the buyer. The lab-dips should be submitted to the buyer in careful packings.

The testing labs maintain a reference number of the test conducted by them and the same should be referenced on all preceding documents, in order to maintain the accuracy of the lab dip test and it will also help to redo the test with similar parameters on the same lab.