16 March 2017

Stacey King at DTC looks at the tricky subject of garment interlining and how this invisible component needs to taken into account in the cleaning and finishing processes

Don’t blow the fusing process

The interlining is the layer of fabric found between two layers of fabric; typically, the front facing outer fabric and the lining material, such as that found in the front of suit jackets or within curtains. They are found in many different areas and types of garment, in cuffs, collars, waistbands and plackets.

There are several purposes of the interlining which can be both aesthetic and functional such as holding different components of a garment together in their desired shape; to provide additional warmth; to give added stiffness/structure and to help avoid any deformation; and to reinforce components of the item. As with outer fabrics, they can be composed of any material, such as cotton, polyester, wool or similar, and they are generally soft, thick, and flexible. 

The two common types of interlining are fused and sewn/non-fused.

Sewn interlinings are, as described, sewn between the outer and lining material without the use of adhesive, heat or pressure. Typically, the linings here are heavily starched to give a crisp structured feel. They are used in the manufacture of flame retardant apparel and safety wear, where high temperatures may be encountered when welding or firefighting, for example

Fused interlinings are typically seen within a suit jacket. The interlining adhesive melts when heated under pressure, creating a laminated effect; the split of adhesive should be 50:50 between the outer and the interlining material and provide a peel bond strength of at least 16N/50mm. How well this fusing is carried out has a significant effect on how well the garment will withstand cleaning, drying, finishing and wear. 

The temperatures required for successful fusing will differ depending on the composition of the interlining itself. However, temperatures used are typically 130C or above.

During fusing, too high a heat or too long a dwell time will result in the majority of the adhesive being transferred to the outer fabric, known as over-fusing; too low a temperature or too little time in the press will result in the majority of the adhesive remaining on the interlining, known as under-fusing.  Both of these will result in a poor bond strength and the likelihood of bubbling (delamination) during cleaning and/or finishing. Although fusing of the interlining is important, managing the relaxation potential between the fabrics is equally so.

A differential shrinkage of more than 2% between fused textiles is capable of shearing the bond between the fused interlining resulting in unsightly delamination. Only the textile manufacturer or designer can determine and/or control this shrinkage by either choosing fabrics with a similar relaxation potential or by pre-shrinking materials prior to garment design.


Relaxation shinkage

Fault: After cleaning, the owner complained that the lining was now poorly aligned. Despite the best effort of the cleaner to re-stitch the lining to hid the fault.

Cause: During cleaning differential relaxation shrinkage has occurred between the outer fabric, interlining and lining resulting in the misalignment now noted at the bottom hem where the interlining is stitched to the outer fabric. The shrinkage has resulted in distortion of the hem.

Responsibility: Should be taken by the manufacturer since they are considered responsible for ensuring that the relaxation potential of differing materials are within 2% of each other or that the fabrics are pre-relaxed to avoid this. The cleaner could not have foreseen or prevented this.

Rectification: Replacing the lining is the only option here.


Fabrics became fused together

Fault: After cleaning, the lining material had become adhered to the interlining.

Cause: The adhesive used here to attach the interlining to the outer material was not suitable for drycleaning using perchloroethylene solvent on a standard process. The adhesive has become molten, most likely during the drying stages and has leached through the interlining onto the lining of the jacket. Once cooled, the two fabrics are now fused together.

Responsibility: The adhesive used was not suitable for drycleaning, particularly on a standard process with no reduction in drying temperature.  The manufacturer is to blame here.

Rectification: None is possible.


Delamination results in bubbling

Fault: A bubbled/rippled effect was noted to the outer fabric of the jacket.

Cause: This is a typical example of delamination. Where the peel bond strength of the interlining is poor, or the relaxation potential of the interlining and outer fabric is not matched, resulting in shearing of the bond and the excess outer material creating the bubbling effect seen here.

Responsibility: This is the responsibility of the manufacturer any symptoms of cleaner pre-treatment or improper process/finishing are absent. The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring correct fusing is carried out and that relaxation potentials between materials are matched. Provided the cleaner has followed the care instructions, they are not to blame here.

Rectification: Repressing the fronts using extended heat and pressure may temporarily re-fuse the bond. However, the fault will almost certainly be revealed again during subsequent cleaning.


Interlining becomes unstuck

Fault: During examination of the interlining of this jacket the split is seen to be circa 90:10 with the majority of the adhesive remaining on the interlining substrate.

Cause: There could be two reasons for this poor split. Either the temperature during fusing has not been hot enough or it has not spent sufficient time in the press resulting in the majority of the adhesive remaining on the interlining. This resulted in a very poor bond strength and a large amount of delamination to the entire front of this jacket.

Responsibility: The manufacturer is responsible for ensuring correct fusing is carried out and that relaxation potentials between materials are matched.

Rectification: None is possible.


Shirt suffers excessive shrinkage

Fault: Misalignment of buttons with their corresponding buttonholes on this shirt.

Cause: An interlining was used in the placket of this shirt. The interlining has relaxed during cleaning and resulted in the misalignment of the buttons with their buttonholes. This has given the shirt a gaping appearance when fastened.

Responsibility: In the absence of any symptoms of excessive heat or cleaner negligence, which may have resulted in excessive shrinkage, the manufacture is to blame here.

Rectification: None is possible.


Getting hot under the collar

Fault: Both the collar and the lapels of this suit jacket had a rippled effect after pressing.

Cause: No excess of fabric was noted here suggesting that any differential shrinkage of the interlining had occurred. The heat used in pressing in this instance was too high and resulted in a glossy, glazed appearance and the adhesive used for the interlining leeching into the outer fabric. The rippled pattern is a reflection of the pattern of the adhesive used.

Responsibility: The cleaner is responsible here for using a temperature higher than that specified by the care label. Had the fault occurred within the limits of the care guidelines, this would be considered a manufacturing flaw.

Rectification: None is possible.





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