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Garments, Fashion & Retail
  Costing technique in clothing industry

In order to achieve perfect garment costing, one must know about all the activities including purchase of fabrics, sewing, packing, transport, overheads, etc and also about their costs, procedures, advantages and risk factors, advocates C Vigneswaran.

The Indian textile and apparel industry is very large and diverse, employing 35 million people and accounting for 27 per cent of the country's exports. The apparel industry plays a pivotal role as a key driver of the national economy and has grown to be the most significant contributor to the country's economy over nearly three decades of its existence. However, during last 10 years, the industry's actions, government policies as well as market events have begun to converge, providing several growth opportunities for the sector domestically as well as in the global market.

As the MFA quota-regime ended, India presented many opportunities for buyers, suppliers and investors to collaborate with its textile industry, and to profit from the partnership. While the industry recorded a remarkable growth in a protected market environment, it faces a series of challenges that have come to the fore in the post-quota situation, notably in areas such as:

  • Price competitiveness.
  • Faster lead times.
  • High raw material base.
  • Full service offering.
  • Access to market. "A Cost is the value of economic resources used as a result of producing or doing the things costed".

Garments costing

There are two types of garments, namely woven and knitted garments. Shirt, trouser, sarees, bed spreads, blankets, towels and made ups are woven. T-shirts, sweaters, undergarments, pyjamas and socks are knits.

Costing is the deciding factor for fixing of prices and the important thing to follow in all stages like purchase, production, marketing, sales, etc. Also update knowledge about everything related to garments, is essential to make perfect costing.

Costing includes all the activities like purchase of fabrics and accessories, processing and finishing of fabrics, sewing and packing of garments, transport and conveyance, shipping, over heads, banking charges and commissions, etc.

We must be aware that there are always fluctuations in the costs of raw materials and accessories, charges of knitting, processing, finishing, sewing and packing, charges of transport and conveyance. The method of making costing will vary from style to style. As there are many different styles in garments. Hence let us take men's basic T-shirt style as example which is in regular in use.

To find out the costing of a garment, the following things should things be calcuated:

  • Fabric consumption.
  • Gross weight of other components of garment.
  • Fabric cost per kg.
  • Fabric cost per garment.
  • Other charges (print, embroidery, etc).
  • Cost of trims (labels, tags, badges, twill tapes, buttons, bows, etc).
  • CMT charges.
  • Cost of accessories (hangers, inner boards, polybags, cartons, etc).
  • Cost of a garment.
  • Price of a garment.

Fabric consumption

The garments manufactured in many sizes to fit for everybody. Generally they are in sizes Small (S), Medium (M), Large (L), Extra large (XL) and Double Extra Large (XXL). The quantity ratio or assortment can be any one of the following approximate ratio.

S: M: L: XL: XXL - 1:2:2:2:1

S: M: L: XL: XXL - 1:2:1:2:1

S: M: L: XL: XXL - 1:2:3:2:2

As the price is the same for all these sizes of garments, the author have taken the centre size large(L) for average calculation. Generally, the quantity of L size will be higher or equal to the quantity of each of other sizes.

Men's Basic T-shirt

Description: Men's Basic T-shirt-short sleeves- 100% Cotton 140 GSM Single jersey - 1 x 1 ribs at neck - solid dyed - light, medium and dark colours in equal ratio.

Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL Ratio: 1: 2: 2: 2: 1

Export carton: 7 ply -120 GSM virgin corrugated - sea worthy. Cartons are to be strapped with 2 nylon straps.

Measurements in cm: (Finished garment)

Size: L

Chest - 60 cm

Length - 78 cm

Sleeve length - 24 cm

Neck rib width - 3 cm Hem - 3 cm

Patterns are generally made with the seam allowance and cutting allowance. Generally, 12 cm is added with the total of body length and sleeve length.

That is,

Fabric consumption =(Body length + Sleeve length + allowance) * (Chest + allowance) * 2 * GSM

 = (70 + 24 + 12) * (60 + 3) * 2 * 140

= 187 grams

Body & Sleeves : 187 grams

Neck rib : 10 grams (approximately)

Gross weight : 197 grams Therefore, the fabric consumption per garment is 197 grams.

Gross weight & net weight

The above weight is the gross weight of fabric. It means the weight of the fabric bits cut in tubular form without taking shapes is called gross weight. This is the consumed fabric for the particular garment. Hence costing is to be made as per this gross weight. The weight of the cut pieces after taking the shape according to the pattern is called net weight of fabric.

Fabric cost per kg (in Rs) (all charges approximately)

Cost of fabric per kg is calculated and given in
Particulars Light colours Medium colours Dark colours
34's combed yarn Rs.135.00 Rs.135.00 Rs.135.00
Knitting charge Rs.8.00 Rs.8.00 Rs.8.00
Dyeing charge Rs.35.00 Rs.45.00 Rs.55.00
Compacting charge Rs.6.00 Rs.6.00 Rs.6.00
Fabric wastage @ 5% Rs.9.20 Rs.9.70 Rs.10.70
Fabric cost per kg Rs.193.20 Rs.203.70 Rs.224.70
Fabric consumption per garment 197 gms 197 gms 197 gms
Fabric cost per garment Rs.38.06 Rs.40.13 Rs.44.27

Cost of trims

The accessories which are attached to the garments are called Trims.

Now the author have taken Men's Basic T-shirts, as example. Let us see what are the trims required for this style.

Labels: Woven main label (2.5 cm width x 7 cm length): Rs 0.35

Polyester printed wash care label: Single colour print: Rs 0.10

Hang tag: Rs 0.40

So the total cost of trims is Rs 0.85 per garment.

Cost of accessories:

Polybags: Normal - Rs 0.30 per garment

Master Polybag: Rs 2 per master polybags to contain 8 garments - Rs 0.25 per garment.

Export carton: Normal: Rs 40 per carton to contain 48 garments - Rs 0.80 per garment.

So the total cost of accessories is Rs 1.35 per garment.

Garment costing

Now we at last have to take the step to find out the freight charges for the Men's Basic T-shirt. Price of garment estimation is given in Table 2.

Table 2: The freight charges for the Men's Basic T-shirt. Price of garment estimation is given
Particulars Light colours Medium colours Dark colours
34's combed yarn Rs.135.00 Rs.135.00 Rs.135.00
Fabric cost per garment Rs.38.06 Rs.40.13 Rs.44.27
Cost of Trims Rs.0.85 Rs.0.85 Rs.0.85
CMT Charges Rs.11.00 Rs.11.00 Rs.11.00
Cost of accessories Rs.1.35 Rs.1.35 Rs.1.35
Rejection of garments (commonly 3%) Rs.1.50 Rs.1.50 Rs.1.50
Cost of Garment Rs.52.76 Rs.54.83 Rs.58.97
Local Transport Rs.1.00  Rs.1.00 Rs.1.00
Profit@15% appro. Rs.7.90 Rs.8.20 Rs.8.90
Commission/ pc  Rs.2.00 Rs.2.00 Rs.2.00
Price of Garment Rs.63.66 Rs.66.03 Rs.70.87

Shipping charges

For men's basic T-shirt, the delivery terms in the buyer enquiry as 'FOB'. So sea freight charges is not added. But the local transport with the cost of garment has to be added. Finally, we have to convert the Indian rupee value to USD or Euro.


The author expresses his thanks to Dr R Rudramoorthy, Principal and Dr K Ramachandralu, Professor & Head-Fashion Technology, PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore for their continuous encouragement. He also extends his thanks to Mr M Ravi, Costing Manager, Stallion Garment, Tirupur and Mr Jagadeesh, Production Manager, Apple Clothing Limited, Coimbatore for their help towards the practical approach in bringing out this paper.

Note: For detailed version of this article please refer the print version of The Indian Textile Journal May 2009 issue.

C Vigneswaran.
Lecturer, Daprtment of Textile of Fashion Technology,
PSG College of Technology,
Coimbatore 641 004.
Email : vignes_waran@rediffmail.com.


published May , 2009
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