Problem: Trousers made from 62% viscose, 34% wool and 4% elastomer showed significant shrinkage in drycleaning.

Cause: Examination under magnification revealed no matting or felting of the wool fibres so moisture in the cleaning process was correctly controlled. The shrinkage arose from tightening of the elastomer and relaxation of manufacturing strains set into the fabric. There are many bi-stretch garments on the market at the moment and their shrinkage performance in drycleaning varies considerably. It is difficult to relax this fabric totally while it is cloth on the roll to minimise shrinkage during normal drycleaning.

Responsibility: The garment maker.

Rectification: One cleaner tried to finish a garment like this using the trouser unit on a steam-air former with clamps attached to the bottom of both legs. The stretch produced by the weight of the clamps was more than sufficient to cause extensive stretching of the cloth as soon as the steam was applied so that both legs ended up longer than they should have been, with one leg six inches longer than the other. The best way of rectifying this fault is by skilled refinishing on the buck of a free-steam press or an ironing table equipped with steam to the bed so that they can be set to the precise size before vacuum is applied to cool, dry and set the cloth.