Animal hair fabrics

Textiles such as wool, camel hair and cashmere used in jackets, coats and overcoats have a short or medium length surface fibre knap, This often tangles and matts during cleaning, leaving the fabric with a very rough appearance rather than a smooth soft surface. In my experience, very few finishers know how to correct this satisfactorily.

The solution is, in fact, simple and straightforward. Lightly steam the fabric and vacuum, then, using a stiff brush, or a combination bristle and brass suede brush, brush the fabric in one direction from the top down to the hem. While soft fabrics require little effort, others may demand time and a lot of physical effort.

Lightweight silk fabrics

Sheer silks such as those used in some blouses and dresses are often hand washed or wetcleaned to remove water-based stains and it can then be difficult to achieve the high standard of finish expected by the customer. Dry ironing from damp without steam is the solution.

After rinsing, drain the excess water and lay the wet item flat on a terry towel and then roll the item into the towel and contra-rotate the ends of the rolled towel gently. This will absorb exactly the right amount of moisture. Dry iron very slowly from damp at 150C for a superb finish.


Multiple press pleats can be difficult to hold in position for ironing or pressing. So, try using a pleating band. Make one using a strip of lightweight fabric or paper tape aproximately 1.5cm wide and 60 cm length with weights secured at each end; when laid over the pleats it will hold them neatly in position for ironing/pressing.

If you are finding it difficult to avoid pleat impressions on box pleats insert a thin cardboard mask inside the box before ironing. This can also be used to prevent pocket flap impressions. To remove double creases in pleats; first set the iron temperature at the maximum for the fabric type, then iron with steam but without vacuum to bring the fabric temperature up to the set temperature, then apply vacuum and fully cool before moving.

Satin fabrics

Satin fabrics can be woven from a number of fibres including silk, acetate, nylon, and polyester. Satin is generally easy to finish but in view of the variation in fibre types make sure your iron temperature is set appropriately for the fibre type. Also, acetate satin can easily be de-lustred by condensate ejected from a faulty steam iron, formers or tensioning formers.

While many staff iron satin fabrics one of the easiest techniques is to finish using bottom/ironing surface steam and simultaneously smoothing the item with a paddle. make sure you steam the paddle before using to avoid condensation on the fabric covering.

Fur fabrics

Imitation for fabric garments and collars often look the worse for wear after cleaning. The appearance can be improved out of all recognition by combing out the fur with a metallic toothed dog brush. This is also a good technique for restoring sheepskin rugs.