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Basic Care Instructions #1

 

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BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS  #1

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This is the first in a series of newsletters on common care instructions for materials most often seen in antique and vintage textiles, including but not limited to housewares and clothing. I hope this care information is helpful to you.

This newsletter covers US Care Labels, Dry Cleaning, Hangers and Fabric Bolts. It's basic information relevant to all fiber. Future issues will cover cotton blankets and sheets, mattress pads,  down comforters, towels, and wool blankets, outerwear, knits, sweaters, shoes, fine leather goods, and lingerie.

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When buying antique and vintage textiles, and vintage clothing,  they'll rarely come with 'labels' containing care instructions. You may or may not realize that any time you proceed to care for a textile in a way not printed on the label, you're taking chances. Sorry, but that's the way it is. 

 

 

That said, if something does have a care label, follow the instructions on it. What if it doesn't have a label?  Read these newsletters as they explain how to cope. Remember, care is preservation is durability (in other words, getting your money's worth) and care is in the details. 
 

 

Why should you read and follow a US label's instructions?  Since January of 1984, the US Government has imposed certain rules and regulations on manufacturers' care label contents, and this information often obscures as much as it clarifies. Here are a few tips I hope will shed a little light, not so much on the meaning of what the care labels SAY but more on the meaning of what they don't say, what they OMIT. 
 

 

For example, WASHING.  A care label should tell you the correct method required (hand or machine), the safe water temperature, the safe drying temperature, the safe ironing temperature if needed, and, your label should warn against anything unsafe to use, such as  chlorine bleach or dry cleaning.  All well and good. But what does the OMISSION of information mean? What if something is just not mentioned?

Well, presumably...
1. If no washing temperature is listed, anything goes.
2. Bleach is safe, unless you are warned specifically against using it.
3. If there are no ironing instructions, assume no ironing is needed (how simple is that?).
4. When a label says "wash or dry clean, any normal method", it means the product can:
* Be machine washed in ANY temperature water.
* Be tumble dried at ANY temperature. 
* Take ironing, even HOT, if ironing is needed.
*Be bleached with ANY type of bleach.
* Be dry cleaned in ALL common solvents.

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DRY CLEANING TIPS

The US government has made the assumption that items that can be washed can also be dry cleaned. THIS IS NOT NECESSARILY SO! However, when an item can't be dry cleaned, then the label should warn you.

Again, any time you proceed in a way not printed on the label, you're taking chances. Sorry, but that's the way it is.  

One more thing. There is DRY CLEANING and then there is PROFESSIONAL DRY CLEANING. When you see "DRY CLEAN" on a US label, it  means a product should be dry cleaned in a coin operated machine or brought to a professional dry cleaner. 

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CLOTHING HANGERS & FABRIC BOLTS

Please don't stint on buying the correct, good quality hangers. Remember, you're protecting a valuable piece of fine fabric or clothing in which you've made a financial investment, and that takes some doing. If you think you don't really need to use good hangers for storing fine fabrics and clothing, and use cheap ones or the wrong ones instead, you might as well throw your invested money out the window. 

 

 Learn how to properly store and care for your investment property and they will serve you well for a long, long time. For example, hang pants on hangers made for pants, and hang them from their bottoms, not their waistbands. Hang jackets and coats on a contoured or "wishbone" hanger, with the buttons unbuttoned and the pockets empty.  Allowing at least 24 hours rest before wearing a jacket again will increase the life of a garment. The same goes for any pair of fine shoes. Fine fabrics, and anything made from natural fibers such as down or wood, needs to breath, just like you do. Lengths, or bolts of fabric longer than 48 inches should be stored rolled, around round cardboard tubes at least 4 inches in diameter. Roll the fabric onto the tube "inside out" with the facing side inwards, and start rolling with the seamed side in.

I sign these newsletters "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes, 
Debra Spencer

All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

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All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
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