National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Dealing with surface texture issues
The surface texture of the fabric gives a fabric characteristics such as sheen, luster or a soft textured appearance.
A change in the surface texture can cause discolorations, dull or lusterless areas and a change in hand or feel. This can occur from heat, moisture and mechanical action.
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Some terms used to describe change in surface texture are:
Pilling. These are fabric surface problems caused by the balling up of loosened or broken fiber ends which are held to the surface of the fabric.
Chafing. This is the result of fabric abrasion producing a hairy or roughened texture.
Chafing often produces what appears as a color change, but it is really caused by a change in the light reflectance of the affected area of a fabric. Sometimes a chafed fabric will reveal an undyed portion of the yarn.
Matting and felting. This is interlocking and tangling of a soft nap fabric. This causes a change in the appearance and feel of the fabric.
Flat yarn abrasion. This discoloration is produced when the yarn is abraded and flattened, producing a change in light reflection. Usually, this is the result of excessive mechanical action and pressure.
Fabric and yarn construction
Fiber blends. Manufacturers often blend different fibers in the yarn. The stronger fibers abrade or break the weaker fibers, causing pilling.
This frequently occurs with blends of rayon and polyester, cotton and wool.
Short staple fibers. This is used in yarn construction. The short fibers in the yarn break away from the yarn, producing pilling.
Loosely twisted filament fibers. A high-twist yarn produces a stronger, more durable yarn. Loosely twisted filament yarns are subject to chafing and damage. This can occur on silk, rayon, polyester and acetate.
Satin weaves. A satin weave is lustrous because loosely twisted filament yarns travel over several yarns before being interlaced into other yarns. The floating yarns on the surface of the fabric are subject to yarn abrasion and chafing.
Soft textured fabrics. This includes a soft texture in both woven and knitted fabrics. These fabrics are subject to pilling and matting.
When accepting garments, examine the texture of the garment carefully for pilling, matting and chafing. Pay attention to the collar, cuffs, pockets, waistline and underarms. Hold the garment at an angle to detect any chafing of the fiber or change in texture. Inform customers of any fabric change that might be accentuated.
To avoid surface texture problems, garments should be classified according to type of fabric and color.
Fabrics that require shorter drycleaning runs are silks and silk-like fabrics, soft wools and wool- like fabrics.
Use a net bag for loose knits.
A satin weave fabric should be turned inside out and handled like a silk.
When spotting silk and silk-like fabrics, use a special padded silk brush or wrap a cheesecloth around a bristle brush.
When spotting soft textured fabrics, brush with a silk brush or angle a bristle brush using the outside of the bristles.
Avoid the use of spatulas with a silk-like appearance and satin weaves.
Keep the steam gun at least three to five inches from the fabric and also use the air for drying at the same safe distance.
Use an ample amount of dryside or wetside lubricants to reduce friction on these spotted areas. Apply leveling agents to a wet area and allow to dry. Do not dryclean fabrics in a wet or damp condition.  
Correction procedures
Pilling. There are many corrective tools that can be obtained from a supply distributor. These include special brushes and electric razors.
A pumice stone is effective in removing pilling and can be obtained from your distributor or a drug store.
Hang the garment from a sturdy hanger and hold taut when applying these aids.
Use the air from the spotting gun to blow away the loosened pills.
A localized pilled area can be corrected with a safety razor. Extreme caution must be observed.
Matting. Use a carding brush.
Chafing (light areas). On silk-like and satin fabrics, this can sometimes be corrected by using an oil pad or a dye pad with a matching color.
Dan Eisen is the former chief garment analyst for the Neighborh