Weaving trouble

Problem: Unsightly bulges appeared in the grey viscose fabric of an evening gown after drycleaning on a normal cycle. These would not lie flat and parts became almost seethrough when held up to the light.

Cause: The dress incorporated elastomeric fibres to make it bi-stretch. The tumbling action in liquid solvent has caused slippage and movement to these so that even when the garment is placed under tension and the tension released, it is not possible to get the fabric to lie flat or to restore uniformity in the weave.

Responsibility: The garment maker. Had the garment been labelled for sensitive drycleaning, then the cleaner would have processed it in a net bag with reduced mechanical action and avoided the problem.

Rectification: None is possible.

A wearing problem

Problem: White areas appeared at the wear edges of dyed cotton fabrics used for outerwear following drycleaning.

Cause: Often abrasion damage to cotton fabrics only becomes fully visible after weakened dyes and fibres have been flushed away in drycleaning. It affects the elasticated welts of cotton jackets, bottoms of the legs of denim jeans and the sleeve fold to cotton raincoats.

Responsibility: The garment maker is responsible for checking for this.

Leather under the collar

Fault: The leatherette coating to the collar of a sage green cotton coat broke up following normal drycleaning.

Cause: Leatherette is usually made from plastic coated cotton. Once the coating starts to break up during wear, it is easily stripped off in perchloroethylene, whatever the care label may say.

Responsibility: The garment maker who should have ensured that no problem would arise in drycleaning after a period of wear.

Rectification: None is possible. All the leatherette components will need to be replaced.

Red spots before the eyes

Problem: Red stipple marking appeared on a beige grain leather jacket following drycleaning.

Cause: Examination of the reverse panels revealed matching red ink that had been used to mark the panels, presumably during manufacture.

Responsibility: The garment maker who should have taken aftercare into account when marking up.

Rectification: None possible.

Don’t leave flock to chance

Problem: Removal of large areas of velvet surface on a long-sleeved jacket when drycleaned in perchloroethylene.

Cause: The outer fabric was created by coating base cotton with an adhesive into which short black fibres were electrostatically flocked. Many textile flocking adhesives are not designed to resist perchloroethylene. The cleaner here had been very cautious and reduced mechanical action appropriately but even so the fault still occurred.

Responsibility: The garment maker because the jacket was labelled for normal drycleaning.

Rectification: None possible.

Seeing stars

Problem: When washed in a normal process, one of two gold floral stars on an embroidered pillowslip changed in colour from gold to pale pink.

Cause: Fibre analysis indicated that the unaffected star was made from colourfast polyester whereas the damaged one was made from viscose.

Responsibility: The embroiderer who should have specified colourfast thread capable of repeated cleansing.

Rectification: Unpick the faded embroidery and re-do using a more appropriate thread.

More disintegrating beading

Problem: Attractive laced beading between the shoulders of an evening gown disintegrated when the garment was perc drycleaned in accordance with the care label. A butterfly motif also came away.

Cause: Not all of the plastic beads in this design have been designed to resist drycleaning in perchloroethylene and neither has the adhesive used to secure the butterfly motif at the hip Responsibility: This is a classic example of failure on the part of the dressmaker to consider aftercare when specifying beading and adhesive.

Rectification: The butterfly motif could be re-secured but the delicate and intricately laced beading requires total replacement.

Evening gown clings too tightly

Problem: After perc drycleaning a polyester evening gown, the garment clung to the wearer’s legs and its shear net overskirt clung to the outer fabric instead of floating freely.

Cause: It is very easy to over dry polyester at the end of the drycleaning cycle. No matter how good the detergent, a static charge eventually builds up on the fabric making it cling to anything near it.

Responsibility: The cleaner is responsible for minimising static on a garment.

Rectification: Re-clean with an appropriate detergent charge taking great care not to over dry.