Fabrics and Garment Care
KEEEPING THE BEAUTY IN
Fabrics and Yarns
Cashmere: Gathered on the high plains of Asia, from China, Tibet and Mongolia the hair from the cashmere goat is soft, light and extremely warm. Only 150 – 200 grams can be combed from the soft undercoat of each goat, making this an expensive and precious yarn to use.
Camel hair: Is an excellent alternative to cashmere, the very best camel hair is combed from the throat of the camel, but can also be collected as clumps by hand during the moulting season. Unlike cashmere, it is difficult to dye and so its use is mainly limited to its natural colours.
Merino Wool: Merino wool has superb whiteness and softness; it is widely recognised as a premier quality of wool. Its neutral quality means that the yarn can be dyed to create true colours, and when we blend it with cashmere it adds an extra layer of luxury.
Silk: At Volpe we use silk in many ways. The majority is woven to produce squares for ties. Where colour is fundamental to complete an outfit, silk offers richness and texture. It can also add strength to fine yarns, such as merino wool or cashmere in jackets, knitwear or socks.
Super Rated Wool: Super-rated fabric results from the
weaving of fibres with a micron count of fewer than 20 (a micron is one millionth of a metre). We offer a range of cloths from Super 130’s to Super 200’s. The higher the number, sadly the higher the price.
High Twist: Also known as High Performance, Travel or Cool Wool, it is a cloth in which the yarn has been lightly twisted before being woven. This produces a springy, crisp, crease-resistance that has a dry handle. It drapes well and has become more popular for the sorts of lightweight suits needed today. As an alternative we also use a mohair blend which has a rich lustre.
Cottons: Made from the finest Egyptian and Sea Island cottons, the long staple fibres are spun to into an extremely fine yarn. When woven it produces a high yarn count creating drape, sheen and softness. Mercerisation helps in colour retention in the fabric, whilst improving its strength and manageability.
Leather: Fine box calf, deerskin and buffalo are used for our business belts. More exotic skins including peccary and deerskin are used to make gloves. The skins are tanned to create suppleness and durability and dyed to offer rich colours and tones. Hand burnishing adds a final touch of depth and tone.
The better care you take of your clothes the longer they will last. Please follow the care instructions inside the garment to ensure the best performance.
CARING FOR YOUR KNITWEAR
When I take the pullover off at the end of the day, I normally lay it over the back of a chair or similar, to allow the yarn to relax, regain its shape and any moisture to evaporate.
The next morning, I use a knitwear comb to remove any bobbles that may have appeared whilst wearing it. I supply one free of charge with every piece of knitwear that I sell, and I am always happy to show you how to use one.
This misconception is that only poor quality knitwear has this issue. Sadly, this isn’t entirely the case, it can happen on any piece where friction points occur, and with manufacturers wanting to supply knitwear with a softer and soft feel, the yarns are milled to create this luxurious handle.
The milling process raises the fibres in the yarn, movement means that the fibres migrate, and in areas where they touch other surfaces the bobbles can occur, irrespective of quality.
Once I have done this, I carefully fold the sweater and store it in polythene bag. I use a moth repellent product wherever the knitwear is stored. I have always found that cedar products don’t really work.
However, the biggest repellent to moths is regularly wearing the garment, washing it, moving it, or just refolding it. The moth larvae do not like being disturbed.
The moths themselves live in the trees in garden squares or in the street, a warm open window with a light on, is an open invitation!
WASHING YOUR KNITWEAR
I much prefer washing my knitwear to dry cleaning it.
It helps to retain the softness, and if I am honest, I like the smell of the detergents. I also personally think it gets the garments cleaner.
The two factors most likely to cause a pullover to shrink are water temperature, and the time it remains wet for.
So, I follow these steps whether the sweater is cashmere or cotton.
I check the garment over for any stains, and if I feel they are water soluble I wet the area and dab on a little liquid detergent, even a little Fairy Liquid, and very gently rub it into the mark.
If it is an oil-based stain, you are better to dry clean it.
A tip is to wash more than one pullover at a time, of a similar colour!
Modern washing machines are very sensitive, and if the weight isn’t evenly distributed, it can become unbalanced, which stalls them. The knitwear can sit in the water until you reset it, this means the pullover is very likely to shrink.
Choose a short, delicate cycle, of no more than 30 minutes, and no more than 30C. This is more than enough to get the pullover clean and refresh it.
I use a liquid detergent, and not knitwear specific. Powders don’t dissolve completely at low temperatures and can leave a residue in the sweater. I also use a fabric softener. It does make the pullover softer, and I like the smell.
What follows, you may feel is more radical, but I don’t subscribe to the laying it flat on a towel school of drying, it takes forever and again the pullover is more likely to shrink!
Once the washing is complete, I then spin the garments again at the fastest spin cycle (around 1200-1400rpm) for around 10-15 minutes without rinsing again.
This will remove any excess water and render it nearly dry. The drier the pullover is, the less likely it is to shrink.
So, I put the knitwear (even cashmere) in the tumble dryer for 2-3 minutes on a low heat. This initiates the drying process, removes creases, then I gently shake them out and lay the pullover, inside-out over a clothes stand.
Once dry, I iron the sweater again inside-out using lots of steam on a medium to high setting, I keep the iron constantly moving to avoid marking.
- Make sure you hang your clothes up and allow them to air before returning them to the wardrobe.
- Use shoetrees to maintain the shape of your shoes. Polish them frequently and always use a shoehorn.
- Do not dry clean your suits too often because this is an abrasive process that will reduce their life.
- Always use a damp pressing cloth when ironing a suit. This will minimise the build-up of shine on the fabric.
- When ironing a shirt use a water spray to improve the crispness and reduce creasing.
- It is possible to dry clean knitwear but the softness is much improved with an occasional hand wash.
- When washing any garment, use the recommended temperature. Never be tempted to wash too hot.
- Items such as socks are best hand washed in cool water and dried gently.
- It is important to dry clean any clothing with a synthetic or silk lining.
- To remove a stain, act as quickly as possible to avoid it drying and try to absorb as much as possible by pressing down on the mark with a clean dry cloth.
Stains and Removal:
- Ballpoint pen: Treat the area with alcohol and wash or dry clean.
- Beer: Use a little detergent, work gently in and rinse with water.
- Blood: Wash as soon as possible with a little detergent and lukewarm water.
- Chewing Gum: Rub with an ice cube and once hardened peel it off.
- Grease and Oil: Try dabbing with paper, or applying a little talcum powder to absorb it. Then dry clean as soon as possible.
- Ink: With a cloth soaked in alcohol, treat the area around the mark, and then dab with vinegar before washing.
- Lipstick: Lightly rub the area with alcohol and wash using a detergent.
- Paint: Immediately clean using a solvent on a fresh cloth on an absorbent surface and then cover with talcum powder to soak up the stain. Once paint has dried it is almost impossible to remove.
- Red Wine: Quickly rinse with plenty of water. On the area of the spillage, use salt to draw out the colour, then wash.
- Shoe Polish: Brush with a cloth soaked in white spirit to remove the mark and wash as normal.
- Tar: Use a solvent-based stain remover and then dry clean.
- Tomato: Rinse thoroughly as soon as possible with lukewarm water, and soak for up to 3 hours in a mixture of water and mild soap, then wash as normal.