In March of 1998 a unique effort was begun to help an industry move forward. For 2 1/2 years, a hosiery consortium of hosiery manufacturers, suppliers, retailers, testing labs, North Carolina State University College of Textiles, the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP), the Carolina Hosiery Association (CHA), The Hosiery Association (THA), The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and The Hosiery Technology Center worked to establish standard methods for testing fit, abrasion and colorfastness of hosiery products. The premise of the group was not to just sign off on test methods but to actually test the validity of these methods to see if they work or not. These methods must be repeatable for both machine to machine and within each machine variation. Standard statistical methods are being used to evaluate the results of the tests.
By September 19, 2000, there were over 3500 different trials run on various testing devices on various sock types. This has been an industry venture with many contributors and has made significant progress. The goal is to standardize test methods for testing hosiery products so that everyone is speaking the same language. The areas that have been studied are Fit/Dimensional Stability, Abrasion and Wear Resistance and Colorfastness.
The Colorfastness tests are approved AATCC and ASTM methods and may be obtained by those organizations. The Fit and Abrasion methods were developed by research from the committee with statistical analysis by the NCSU College of Textiles. These methods are posted on the Internet with detailed instructions at www.legsource.com under the Sock Testing Consortium heading. New updates will be added online and the date the update was made will be posted.
Ongoing work by the committee will be to look at new devices to see if they are repeatable and to try to improve on the current methods.