ELECTRONIC TEXTILES: Wearable Computers, Reactive Fashion and Soft computation

Electronic textiles, also referred to as smart fabrics, are quite fashionable right now. Their close relationship with the field of computer wearable‘s gives us many diverging research directions and possible definitions. On one end of the spectrum, there are pragmatic applications such as military research into interactive camouflage or textiles that can heal wounded soldiers. On the other end of the spectrum, work is being done by artists and designers in the area of reactive clothes: “second skins” that can adapt to the environment and to the individual. Fashion, health, and telecommunication industries are also pursuing the vision of clothing that can express aspects of people’s personalities,social dynamics through the use and display of aggregate social information.

In my current production-based research, I develop enabling technology for electronic textiles based upon my theoretical evaluation of the historical and cultural modalities of textiles as they relate to future computational forms. My work involves the use of conductive yarns and fibers for power delivery, communication, and networking, as well as new materials for display that use electronic ink, nitinol, and thermochromic pigments. The textiles are created using traditional textile manufacturing techniques: spinning conductive yarns, weaving, knitting, embroidering, sewing, and printing with inks.


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Fibre : Cotton, silk, wool, rayon, synthetics, and blends.
Weave : Plain, twill, or rib, background often has a small design either jacquard or dobby made with warp floats on surface giving a raised effect.
Characteristics : Design is often in two colours and raised. The name was derived from original fabric which was woven with a small interlaced design of chain armor and used for military equipment during the Crusades.
Uses : a rich looking dress fabric, draperies, or upholstery.
Fibre : Cotton, also rayon and wool.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Named after Jean Baptiste, a French linen weaver. Light weight, soft, semi-sheer fabric which resembles nainsook, but finer. It belongs to the lawn family; almost transparent. It is made of tightly twisted, combed yarns and mercerized finish. Sometimes it is printed or embroidered. In a heavier weight, it is used for foundation garments and linings in a plain, figured, striped, or flowered design. Considered similar to nainsook but finer and lighter in weight. Now usually made of 100% polyester distinguished by slubs in filling direction.

Fibre : In cotton and Linen or blend of rayon staple and cotton.
Weave : Usually dobby
Characteristics : Very soft, light weight, and absorbent. Woven with a loosely twisted filling to increase absorbency. Launders very well. No starch is applied because the absorption properties must be of the best. Material must be free from any foreign matter. It is also called “diaper cloth” and is used for that purpose as well as very good towelling. Also “novelty” birdseye effects used as summer dress fabrics.

Fibre : Cotton and silk, and rayon. Very different than wool broadcloth.
Weave : Plain weave and in most cotton broadcloths made with a very fine crosswise rib weave.
Characteristics : Originally indicated a cloth woven on a wide loom. Very closely woven and in cotton, made from either carded or combed yarns. The filling is heavier and has less twist. It is finer than poplin when made with a crosswise rib and it is lustrous and soft with a good texture. Thread count ranges from high quality 144 x 6 count down to 80 x 60. Has a smooth finish. May be bleached, dyed, or printed; also is often mercerized. Wears very well. If not of a high quality or treated it wrinkles very badly. Finest quality made from Egyptain or combed pima cotton – also sea island.
Uses : Shirts, dresses, particularly the tailored type in plain colours, blouses, summer wear of all kinds.

Fibre : Cotton brocade often has the ground of cotton and the pattern of rayon and silk. Pattern is in low relief.
Weave : Jacquard and dobby
Characteristics : Rich, heavy, elaborate design effect. Sometimes with coloured or metallic threads making the design usually against a satin weave background. This makes the figures stand out. The figures in brocade are rather loose, while in damask the figure threads are actually bound into the material. The pattern may be satin on a twill ground or twill on a satin ground. Often reversible. The motifs may be of flowers, foliage, Scrollwork, Pastoral scenes, or other designs. The price range is wide. Generally reputed to have been developed from the latin name “brocade” which means to figure.
Uses : All types of after 5 wear, church vestments, interior furnishings, and state robes.

Fibre : Cotton, some in linen, synthetics.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Cheap, low-textured, loose weave, very heavily sized and stiff. Also, 2 fabrics are glued together; one is open weave and the other much finer. Some is also made in linen in a single fabric. Also called crinoline book muslin or book binding. Name from Bokhara in Southern Russia, where it was first made.
Uses : Used for interlinings and all kinds of stiffening in clothes, book binding, and for millinery (because it can be moistened and shaped). Used to give stiffness to leather garments not as stiff and often coloured is called “tarlatan”. Softens with heat. Can be shaped while warm.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain – usually a low count.
Characteristics : Originated in Calcutta, India, and is one of the oldest cottons. Rather coarse and light in weight. Pattern is printed on one side by discharge or resist printing. It is not always fast in colours. Sized for crispness but washes out and requires starch each time. Designs are often geometric in shape, but originally elaborate designs of birds, trees, and flowers. Inexpensive. Similar to percale. Very little on the market today, but the designs are still in use on other fabrics and sold as “calico print.”
Uses : Housedresses, aprons, patchwork quilts.

Fibre : Cotton, also linen.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Soft, closely woven, light. Either bleached or piece dyed. Highly mercerized, lint free. Calendered on the right side with a slight gloss. Lower qualities have a smooth bright finish. Similar to batiste but is stiffer and fewer slubs. Launders very well. Has good body, sews and finishes well. Originally made in Cambria, France of linen and used for Church embroidery and table linens.
Uses : Handkerchiefs, underwear, slips, nightgowns, children’s dresses, aprons, shirts and blouses.

Candlewick Fabric
Fibre : Cotton – also wool.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : An unbleached muslin bed sheeting (also called Kraft muslin) used as a base fabric on which a chenille effect is formed by application of candlewick (heavy plied yarn) loops, which are then cut to give the fuzzy effect and cut yarn appearance of true chenille yarn. May be uncut also. (True chenille is a cotton, wool, silk, or rayon yarn which has a pile protruding all around at slight angles and stimulates a caterpillar. Chenille is the French word for caterpillar.)
Uses : Bedspreads, drapes, housecoats, beach wear.

Canton Flannel
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Four harness warp-faced twill weave.
Characteristics : The filling yarn is a very loosely twisted and soft and later brushed to produced a soft nap on the back, the warp is medium in size. The face is a twill. Heavy, warm, strong and absorbent. Named for Canton, China where it was first made. Comes bleached, unbleached, dyed, and some is printed.
Uses : Interlinings, sleeping garments, linings, coverings, work gloves.


Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain weave or dobby designs on a plain-weave ground.
Characteristics : Made with a dyed warp and a white or unbleached filling. Both carded and combed yarns used. Has a white selvedge. Some woven with alternating white and coloured warp. “Faded” look. Has very soft colouring. Some made with stripes, checks or embroidered. Smooth, strong, closely woven, soft and has a slight lustre. Wears very well, easy to sew, and launders well. If not crease resistant, it wrinkles easily. Originated in Cobrai, France it was first made for sunbonnets.
Uses : Children’s wear, dresses, shirts and blouses, aprons, all kinds of sportswear.

Chamois Cloth
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Fabric is napped, sheared, and dyed to simulate chamois leather. It is stiffer than kasha and thicker, softer and more durable than flannelette. Must be designated as “cotton chamoise-colour cloth”.
Uses : Dusters, interlining, storage bags for articles to prevent scratching.

Fibre : Cotton, also rayon and nylon.
Weave : Knitted, double knit construction.
Characteristics : A fine, firmly knit fabric. Has a vary short soft nap. Wears well. Nylon chamoisette is more often called “glove silk”.
Uses : Gloves.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Originally used as a wrapping material for pressing cheese. Loosely woven, thin, light in weight, open in construction, and soft. Carded yarns are always used. It is also called gauze weave. When woven in 36″ widths it is called tobacco cloth, When an applied finish is added, it is called buckram, crinoline, or bunting.
Uses : In the grey cloth, it is used for covering tobacco plants, tea bags and wiping cloths.
Finished cloth is used for curtains, bandages, dust cloths, cheap bunting, hat lining, surgical gauze, fly nets, food wrapping, e.g. meat and cheese, costumes and basket tops.

Chenille Fabric
Fibre : Cotton and any of the main textile fibres.
Weave : Mostly plain weave.
Characteristics : Warp yarn of any major textile fibre. Filling of chenille yarns (Has a pile protruding all around at right angles). The word is French for caterpillar and fabric looks hairy. Do not confuse with tufted effects obtained without the use of true Chenille filling.
Uses : Millinery, rugs, decorative fabrics, trimmings, upholstery.

Fibre : Cotton or wool, and some manmade and synthetics.
Weave : Sateen or twill construction with extra fillings for long floats.
Characteristics : Does not resemble true chinchillas fur. Has small nubs on the surface of the fabric which are made by the chincilla machine. It attacks the face and causes the long floats to be worked into nubs and balls. Cotton warp is often used because it cannot show from either side. Made in medium and heavy weights. Very warm and cozy fabrics. Takes its name from Chinchilla Spain where it was invented.
Uses : In cotton, used for baby’s blankets and bunting bags.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Twill (left hand)
Characteristics : Combined two-ply warp and filling. Has a sheen that remains. Fabric was purchased in China (thus the name) by the U.S. Army for uniforms. Originally used for army cloth in England many years before and dyed olive-drab. Fabric is mercerized and sanforized. Washs and wears extremely well with a minimum of care.
Uses : Army uniforms, summer suits and dresses, sportswear.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Has bright gay figures, large flower designs, birds and other designs. Also comes in plain colours. Several types of glaze. The wax and starch glaze produced by friction or glazing calendars will wash out. The resin glaze finish will not wash out and withstand drycleaning. Also comes semi-glazed. Unglazed chintz is called cretonne. Named from the Indian word “Chint” meaning ” broad, gaudily printed fabric”.
Uses : Draperies, slipcovers, dresses, sportwear.

Fibre : Cotton, rayon, and other textile fibres.
Weave : Filling Pile with both plain and twill back.
Characteristics : Made with an extra filling yarn. In the velvet family of fabrics. Has narrow medium and wide wales, also thick n’thin or checkerboard patterns. Wales have different widths and depths. Has to be cut all one way with pile running up. Most of it is washable and wears very well. Has a soft lustre.
Uses : Children’s clothes of all kinds, dresses, jackets, skirts, suits, slacks, sportswear, men’s trousers, jackets, bedspreads, draperies, and upholstery.

Fibre : Worsted cotton, wool, silk, man-made synthetics.
Weave : Mostly plain, but various weaves.
Characteristics : Has a crinkled, puckered surface or soft mossy finish. Comes in different weights and degrees of sheerness. Dull with a harch dry feel. Woolen crepes are softer than worsted. If it is fine, it drapes well. Has very good wearing qualities. Has a very slimming effect.
Uses : Depending on weight, it is used for dresses of all types, including long dinner dresses, suits, and coats.

Fibre : Cotton, linen, rayon
Weave : Plain or twill.
Characteristics : Finished in widths from 30 to 50 inches. Quality and price vary a great deal. The warp counts are finer than the filling counts which are spun rather loose. Strong substantial and gives good wear. Printed cretonne often has very bright colours and patterns. The fabric has no lustre (when glazed, it is called chintz). Some are warp printed and if they are, they are usually completely reversible. Designs run from the conservative to very wild and often completely cover the surface.
Uses : Bedspreads, chairs, draperies, pillows, slipcovers, coverings of all kinds, beach wear, sportwear.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Twill – right hand – may be L2/1 or L3/1.
Characteristics : Name derived from French “serge de Nimes”. Originally had dark blue, brown or dark grey warp with a white or gray filling giving a mottled look and used only for work clothes. Now woven in bright and pastel colours with stripes as well as plain. Long wearing, it resists snags and tears, Comes in heavy and lighter weights.
Uses : Work clothes, overalls, caps, uniforms, bedspreads, slipcovers, draperies, upholstery, sportswear, of all kinds, dresses and has even been used for evening wear.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain weave with a crosswise or lengthwise spaced rib or crossbar effect.
Characteristics : A thin sheer with corded spaced stripes that could be single, double or triple grouping. Made of combed yarn and is 36” wide. Has a crisp texture which remains fairly well after washing. Resembles lawn in the white state. It is easy to sew and manipulate and launders well. Creases unless creaseresistant. May be bleached, dyed, or printed and often printed with a small rosebud design. It is mercerized and has a soft lustre.
Uses : Children’s dresses, women’s dresses, and blouses, infant’s wear, collar and cuff sets, basinettes, bedspreads, curtains, underwear. Has a very young look.

Domett Flannel
Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Plain and twill
Characteristics : Also spelled domet. Generally made in white. Has a longer nap than on flannelette. Soft filling yarns of medium or light weight are used to obtain the nap. The term domett is interchangeable with “outing flannel” but it is only made in a plain weave. Both are soft and fleecy and won’t irritate the skin. Any sizing or starching must be removed before using. Outing flannel is also piece-dyed and some printed and produced in a spun rayon also.
Uses : Mostly used for infants wear, interlinings, polished cloths.

Fibre: Cotton, rayon, synthetics.
Weave: Lengthwise rib, English crosswise rib or cord weave.
Characteristics: Originally was a crosswise rib but now mostly a lenghtwise rib and the same as bedford cord. Ribs are often filled to give a more pronounced wale (cord weave). Comes in medium to heavy weights. It is generally made of combed face yarns and carded stuffer yarns. It is durable and launders well. Wrinkles badly unless given a wrinkle-free finish. Various prices. Also comes in different patterns besides wales. The small figured motifs are called cloque. Some of the patterns are birdseye (small diamond), waffle (small squares). honeycomb (like the design on honeycomb honey). When the fabric begins to wear out it wears at the corded areas first.
Uses : Trims, collars, cuffs, millinery, infants wear, particularly coats, and bonnets, women’s and children’s summer dresses, skirts and blouses, shirts, playclothes, and evening gowns.

Fibre : Cotton, rayon, and others.
Weave : Plain
Characteristics : Could be made from any fine material, e.g. organdy, lawn, etc. Treated with caustic soda solution which shrinks parts of the goods either all
over or in stripes giving a blistered effect. Similar to seersucker in appearance. This crinkle may or may not be removed after washing. This depends on the quality of the fabric. It does not need to be ironed, but if a double thickness, such as a hem needs a little, it should be done after the fabric is thoroughly dry.
Uses : Sleepwear, housecoats, dresses, blouses for women and children, curtains, bedspreads, and bassinettes. Often it is called wrinkle crepe and may be made with a wax/shrink process (the waxed parts remain free of shrinkage and cause the ripples).

Point d’esprit
Fibre : Cotton – some in silk.
Weave : Leno, gauze, knotted, or mesh.
Characteristics : First made in France in 1834. Dull surfaced net with various sized holes. Has white or coloured dots individually spaced or in groups.
Uses : Curtains, bassinettes, evening gowns

Fibre : Cotton, wool, and other textile fibres.
Weave : Crosswise rib. The filling is cylindrical. Two or three times as many warp as weft per inch.
Characteristics : Has a more pronounced filling effect than broadcloth. It is mercerized and has quite a high lustre. It may be bleached, or dyed (usually vat dyes are used) or printed. Heavy poplin is given a water-repellent finish for outdoor use. Originally made with silk warp and a heavier wool filling. Some also mildew-proof, fire-retardant, and some given a suede finish. American cotton broadcloth shirting is known as poplin in Great Britain.
Uses : Sportswear of all kinds, shirts, boy’s suits, uniforms, draperies, blouses, dresses.

Fibre : Cotton, linen, nylon.
Weave : Plain, some made with a crosswise rib.
Characteristics : A strong canvas or duck. The weights vary, but most often the count is around 148×60. Able to withstand the elements (rain, wind and snow). Sailcloth for clothing is sold frequently and is much lighter weight than used for sails.
Uses : Sails, awnings, and all kinds of sportswear for men, women, and children.

Fibre : Cotton, some also made in rayon.
Weave : Sateen, 5-harness, filling-face weave.
Characteristics : Lustrous and smooth with the sheen in a filling direction. Carded or combed yarns are used. Better qualities are mercerized to give a higher sheen. Some are only calendered to produce the sheen but this disappears with washing and is not considered genuine sateen. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Difficult to make good bound buttonholes on it as it has a tendency to slip at the seams.
Uses : Dresses, sportswear, blouses, robes, pyjamas, linings for draperies, bedspreads, slip covers.

Fibre : Cotton, rayon, synthetics.
Weave : Plain, slack tension weave.
Characteristics : Term derived from the Persian “shirushaker”, a kind of cloth, literally “milk and sugar”. Crepe-stripe effect. Coloured stripes are often used. Dull surface. Comes in medium to heavy weights. the woven crinkle is produced by alternating slack and tight yarns in the warp. This is permanent. Some may be produced by pressing or chemicals, which is not likely to be permanent – called plisse. Durable, gives good service and wear. May be laundered without ironing. Can be bleached, yarn dyed, or printed. Some comes in a check effect.
Uses : Summer suits for men, women, and children, coats, uniforms, trims, nightwear, all kinds of sportswear, dresses, blouses, children’s wear of all kinds, curtains, bedspreads, slipcovers.

Fibre : Cotton, silk, rayon, synthetics.
Weave : Plain.
Characteristics : It is a raw silk made from Tussah silk or silk waste, depending on the quality. It is quite similar to pongee, but has a more irregular surface, heavier, and rougher. Most of the slubs are in the filling direction. Wrinkles quite a bit. Underlining helps to prevent this as well as slipping at the seams. Do not fit too tightly, if long wear is expected. Comes in various weights, colours and also printed.
Uses : Dresses, suits, and coats.

Terry cloth
Fibre : Cotton and some linen.
Weave : Pile, also jacquard and dobby combined with pile.
Characteristics : Either all over loops on both sides of the fabric or patterned loops on both sides. Formed with an extra warp yarn. long wearing, easy to launder and requires no ironing. May be bleached, dyed, or printed. Better qualities have a close, firm, underweave, with very close loops. Very absorbent, and the longer the loop, the greater the absorbency. When the pile is only on one side, it is called “Turkish towelling.”
Uses : Towels, beachwear, bathrobes, all kinds of sportswear, children’s wear, slip covers, and draperies.

Fibre : Cotton
Weave : Usually twill (L2/1 or L3/1), some jacquard, satin, and dobby.
Characteristics : Very tightly woven with more warp than filling yarns. Very sturdy and strong, smooth and lustrous. Usually has white and coloured stripes, but some patterned (floral). Can be made water-repellent, germ resistant, and feather-proof.
Uses : Pillow covers, mattress coverings, upholstering and some sportswear. `Bohemian ticking” has a plain weave, a very high texture, and is featherproof. Lighter weight than regular ticking. Patterned with narrow coloured striped on a white background or may have a chambray effect by using a white or unbleached warp with a blue or red filling.

CO2 technology for water free dyeing………….

CO2 Technology

People are more familiar with the practical uses of carbon dioxide (CO2) than they realize. CO2 is the same stuff that puts the fizz in your soda at every restaurant, and dry ice is nothing more than the solid form of carbon dioxide.

CO2 can exist as a gas, solid, liquid or supercritical fluid, depending on pressure and temperature. We develop applications which use CO2 in its liquid or supercritical states.

As a solvent CO2 has gas-like viscosity and liquid-like density. It’s low surface tension and high diffusivity allow for exceptional penetration and material / particle transportation properties. It’s gentle processing is ideal for delicate or sensitive materials.

CO2 is becoming a key commercial and industrial solvent, largely due to its highly effective solvency powers and low environmental impact. Alternative solvents, such as hazardous chemicals or water, are rapidly being phased out. CO2 is the 21st century solvent.

No new CO2 is generated from our processes. We use CO2 that’s already there – it’s been recaptured from other industrial processes and recycled, so there is zero greenhouse gas effect. CO2 is non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-flammable, in-exhaustible and inexpensive. It leaves no residues or secondary wastes behind after processing and and has zero potential for soil or groundwater contamination. In most cases process costs are lower than comparable conventional processes.

Our solutions are implemented across the processing spectrum, including the food, pharmaceutical, flavors & fragrances, renewable energies and textiles sectors. Here’s a few of the most exciting successes:

Dyeing Textiles Without Water
The textile industry is believed to be one of the biggest consumers of water. In conventional textile dyeing large amounts of water are used, both in terms of intake of fresh water and disposal of waste water. On average an estimated 11 – 14 gallons of, otherwise drinkable, water is needed to process 1 lb of textile. FeyeCon, together with partners, developed a process to dye textiles with CO2. It’s a completely water-free dyeing process with considerably lower operational costs compared to conventional dyeing processes.
For more information visit www.dyecoo.com

Fast Diagnoses Without Toxic Solvents
In medicine certain diseases are detectable only through the sampling and testing of tissue. Conventional tissue processing techniques rely on the use of toxic chemicals and is an overnight process. FeyeCon developed a process that eliminates the need for hazardous chemicals and processes quick enough for same-day diagnosis. Laboratory staff are not exposed to toxic chemicals, no hazardous wastes are produced, laboratory efficiency is increased and patients get fast results – unprecedented improvements in histological processing.
For more information visit www.tispamedical.com

Clean Clothes, Clean Environment
Cleaning clothes, professional garments and other textile are traditionally water and/or chemical intense. “Eco friendly” and “organic” cleaning solutions have been marketed recently, none of them however are truly sustainable. Together with partners FeyeCon has developed the next generation of fabric and textile cleaning methods that use liquid CO2 as a cleaning solvent. Washing is gentle and requires no heat (to wash or dry), which translates into longer lasting garments. No water, no toxic chemicals – just clean clothes.
For more information visit www.co2nexus.com

Textile Waste Criteria

The EcoChic Design Award committee classifies ‘textile waste’ as: end-of-roll textiles; damaged textiles; textile scraps; textile swatches and sampling yardage; clothing samples; finished clothing waste or secondhand clothing waste.

Applicants are required to provide information and documentation of the type and source of their chosen textile waste in order for their application to be successful.

For a zero-waste design

Applicants are encouraged to use textile waste or other sustainable textiles but this is not a requirement.

For an up-cycling design

Applicants can use the following types of textile waste:

Damaged textiles: textiles that have been damaged, for example colour or print defects.

End-of-roll textiles: factory surplus textiles that have been leftover from garment manufacturing.

Textile scraps: cut-and-sew waste from garment manufacturing.

Textile swatches: leftover textile sample swatches.

Sampling Yardage: factory surplus sample textiles that have been leftover from sample manufacturing.

For a reconstruction design:

Applicants can use the following types of textile waste:

Clothing samples: samples from the design and production of clothing.

Finished clothing waste: unsold finished clothing waste that has not yet been worn.

Secondhand clothing: clothing that has been used and discarded by consumers.

Dyeable Polypropylene Fiber

The ability to dye polypropylene fibers using conventional disperse dyes makes the fibers more attractive for apparel end-uses.

TW Special Report

Polypropylene fibers possess a number of attractive properties when compared to other fibers (See Table 1). Despite desirable properties, polypropylene fibers traditionally have suffered from a major drawback that has limited their adoption in textile apparel applications: In contrast to other fibers, conventional polypropylene fibers cannot be dyed. Instead, the color has to be imparted at the fiber extrusion step through mass coloration or solution dyeing. The process involves adding a relatively thermally stable pigment color during the melt spinning of the fiber. The pigments used are not usually miscible with polypropylene. Thus, the pigments are present as discrete particles in the fiber, and the color imparted becomes permanent in the fiber. While this has the benefit of very good colorfastness, there are two significant disadvantages. The first is that introducing new colors involves a relatively complex color-matching step. The second is the absence of greige goods to be dyed. This means that relatively large lots of fiber are made for every new color, and the time required to go from a new color concept to the final fabric or garment can be long.

There has been a long-standing interest in commercializing a dyeable polypropylene fiber. Ideally, it should have a dyeing profile similar to or compatible with large-volume fibers such as polyester, nylon or cotton, so that it is compatible with the dyeing and related processes that are already well-established. Furthermore, it should not change the essential benefits of polypropylene fibers presented in Table 1, especially its low density and its low surface energy. There have been several attempts to make dyeable polypropylene fibers, but they have not been successful because the resulting product did not meet these criteria.
FiberVisions has developed a revolutionary new polypropylene fiber, CoolVisions™ dyeable polypropylene fiber, that meets the needs of facile dyeing and polypropylene fiber characteristics by incorporating an additive within the polypropylene fiber. The fiber can be dyed using conventional disperse dyes in a manner similar to that used for polyester fibers. The fibers feature a wide array of inherent benefits and properties including:

  • light weight and comfort;
  • cottony softness;
  • easy care, easy wear;
  • moisture management;durability;
  • breathability;
  • thermal insulation; and
  • stain resistance.


Lightweight And Comfortable

Polypropylene fibers are among the lightest in weight of all commercial fibers. The increased number of polypropylene fibers per kilogram of fabric offers added value compared to many other fibers, resulting in improved coverage for the same weight range or equal coverage in lighter-weight fabrics for comfortable garments. In addition, CoolVisions fibers are inherently softer than traditional polypropylene fibers, resulting in greater comfort, according to FiberVisions. This combination of attributes makes garments made from these new fibers inherently easy care, easy wear.

Moisture Management

According to FiberVisions, CoolVisions polypropylene fibers outperform all other dyeable fibers in low-moisture-absorption tests. In addition, garments made from polypropylene tend to have a high moisture-vapor-transmission rate. This is important in comfort, especially when one wants the skin to stay cool and dry. The mechanical properties of polypropylene fibers are not affected when the fabric is wet an inherent advantage compared to fibers like rayon, which can lose strength substantially.
As with traditional polypropylene, CoolVisions offers excellent chemical resistance and aqueous stain resistance. Bleach and other household cleaning chemicals do not affect the fibers, which also are not attacked by microbial organisms such as mold, mildew and bacteria.

Dyeable polypropylene fibers are suitable for apparel end-uses including sports applications.

Dyeing Characteristics

CoolVisions dyeable polypropylene fibers can be dyed using commonly available polyester high-energy disperse dyes and in standard high-pressure dyeing processes used for polyester fibers, but with lower dyeing temperatures possible. The color range and color-matching process are similar to those for polyester fibers.
The ability to dye fabrics results in many benefits over the use of fabrics made with traditional solution-dyed fibers, including value chain and styling benefits. Some of the value-chain benefits include the ability to store greige goods, match colors quickly, produce smaller lot volumes and serve niche or fashion-related color lines, respond rapidly to market demand, and offer a wider range of colors without greatly increasing inventory costs. There are added financial benefits from reduced working capital needs and shortened production times. Styling benefits include reduction in barré found in solution-dyed garments and the ability to print with dye inks rather than pigment inks. Dye-printed fabrics exhibit a softer hand and better colorfastness than pigment-printed fabrics. CoolVisions fibers also have been engineered to have an inherently soft hand and cotton touch not found in traditional polypropylene fibers.
As noted previously, CoolVisions fibers contain an additive that acts as a dye receptor. The additive is present in the fibers as small domains into which the disperse dyes dissolve during the dyeing process. At dyeing temperatures greater than the boiling point of water, the disperse dyes diffuse readily through the polypropylene fiber into the encapsulated domains of the additive. Under actual garment use conditions — which include much lower temperatures — the diffusion of the disperse dyes back out of the fiber is greatly diminished, resulting in good colorfastness. As with polyester fibers, high-energy disperse dyes should be used to obtain optimum colorfastness.
The approach of encapsulating the additive within the polypropylene fiber has many benefits. The surface of the fiber is essentially unchanged, resulting in excellent aqueous stain resistance and low water absorption. The polypropylene fiber also serves to protect the dyes from chemicals such as chlorine, resulting in excellent bleach fastness.
Since the ability to dye the polypropylene fiber is imparted by the incorporation of an additive, the level of the additive affects the depth of shade. This has a couple of benefits, according to FiberVisions: The additive level can be controlled quite well, resulting in reduced shade sensitivity to processing conditions. In addition, the level can be intentionally changed to produce fibers that dye to different depths, thereby offering an additional styling tool.
FiberVisions officially launched CoolVisions dyeable polypropylene fibers at the recent Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City. A number of partner companies are currently working with these fibers to develop new fabrics and apparel styles. Activities are underway to develop air-jet spun and filament-type products to broaden the range of styling tools.

September/October 2006


The Care Of Textiles

( Originally Published Early 1900’s )

Importance of proper care.-Not a small share of the dissatisfaction that arises among consumers of textiles regarding specific fabrics is due to lack of proper care of the cloth. Each textile has its own constitution and therefore needs its special attention. Linen must be treated differently from cotton, and both in turn must receive a care quite different from that needed by wool. Silk calls for still different care. A textile fabric cannot be expected to give its fullest service unless cared for according to its specific qualities.


Certain general observations concerning the care of textiles are applicable to all alike; these we shall first note. Such little attentions as keeping garments and fabrics free from dust by frequent brushings are matters of everyday knowledge by all, but are by no means always observed. Nor is the danger from dust clearly understood. If dust were simply dead, inert matter as it seems to the eye, there would be little danger of loss from letting garments and cloths go undusted for some time. But dust, unfortunately, usually contains great numbers of little germs, living organisms, that fly about with currents of air, seeking food and resting places. It so happens that the textile fibers are excellent foods for some of these germs. Leaving the dust on a garment may mean leaving some of these hungry and industrious little germs which attach themselves upon a fabric and multiply at a very rapid rate, soon covering entire spots if not whole garments. When this has occurred, no amount of brushing can dislodge them all. They eat their way into the very heart of the fiber, leaving it weakened, discolored, and dust stained.

Protection from mildew.-One of the commonest forms of cloth destruction is that called mildew. Mildew is caused by the penetration of large numbers of microscopic plants into the cloth fiber. When the work of these tiny forms of life has gone far enough, the color of the fabric changes and in time the cloth actually falls to pieces; nothing remains but the mildew plants themselves and their waste matter. Knowing these facts concerning the dangers of dust, we can see the value of the injunction to brush clothing after every using and to store it or hang it away only after it is perfectly dry. Moisture helps these little organisms materially.

Unused garments should be hung away carefully so that wrinkles may not form. Sleeves of valuable garments should be pressed out flat or filled with tissue paper. All spots should be removed as soon as possible for fresh spots or stains are always more easily eradicated than old ones. Light injures some colors, especially on fabrics that were never intended for daytime use. Such fabrics should be kept in dark, cool closets, or should be so wrapped as to keep out sharp light.

Storing textiles.-Storing goods is a science in itself. Providing the right temperature and the right amount of moisture, regulating the light-such things are matters which need to be carefully studied by anyone who has anything to do with textiles. Cloths and garments to be stored should, as a rule, be wrapped in blue, brown, or other dark-colored paper, first, for the sake of protection from light which penetrates lighter papers more easily, and, second, because light papers-whites and yellowstend to spot light-colored fabrics with yellow, as the bleaching process used in whitening paper is cheap and somewhat imperfect.

Goods to be packed should be perfectly dry, clean., brushed, and in order, that is, properly folded. All steel pins should be carefully removed or rust spots will form. Cloth should be rolled into bolts, ribbons into rolls, embroidery and laces should be wound on cards. This is, to be sure, the way in which these goods come to the retail store; but the point needs to be emphasized that in this same fashion these goods should be kept, even at home, and in small quantities. Consumers should carefully heed this caution.

Protection from insects.-All textiles are subject to attacks by insect or other living organisms, commonly called pests, the particular variety depending upon the given textile. As we have already seen, mildew attacks cotton and linen. Mildew is similar in nature to molds, several of which attack not only vegetable fibers but also wool and silk. Housewives of the past kept insects out of their linen chests by using aromatic oils or essences, such as cloves, tobacco leaves, camphor, cedar sprigs, wintergreen, and so on. This practice had some value but these aromatic substances simply acted as deterrents. They by no means prevented all depredations. There is only one certain preventive and that is to keep the textile goods where insects cannot get at them. Above all, textile goods should be frequently looked over, aired, and dusted, so as to prevent anything that does attack them from getting a very long start.

Prevention of destruction of textiles by moths.-Recently the Bureau of Entomology of the United States Department of Agriculture concluded some practical investigations on the best methods of preventing the destruction of textile goods by moths and published a circular on the subject entitled, “The True Clothes Moths.” The following description and recommendations as to remedies are taken therefrom:

“The destructive work of the larvae of the small moths commonly known as clothes moths, and also as carpet moths, fur moths, etc., in woolen fabrics, fur and similar material during the warm months of summer in the North, and in the South at any season, is an altogether too common experience. The preference they so often show for woolen or fur garments gives these insects a much more general interest than is perhaps true of any other household pest.

“The little yellowish or buff-colored moths sometimes seen flitting about rooms, attracted to lamps at night, or dislodged from infested garments or portieres, are themselves harmless enough, and in fact their mouth-parts are rudimentary, and no food whatever is taken in the winged state. The destruction occasioned by these pests is, therefore, limited entirely to the feeding or larval stage. The killing of the moths by the aggrieved housekeeper, while usually based on the wrong inference that they are actually engaged in eating her woolens, is nevertheless a most valuable proceeding, because it checks in so much the multiplication of the species which is the sole duty of the adult insect.

“The clothes moths all belong to the group of minute Lepidoptera known as Tineina, the old Latin name for cloth worms of all sorts, and are characterized by very narrow wings fringed with long hairs. The common species of clothes moths have been associated with man from the earliest times and are thoroughly cosmopolitan. They are all probably of Old World origin, none of them being indigenous to the United States. That they were well known to the ancients is shown by job’s reference to a “garment that is moth eaten,” and Pliny has given such an accurate description of one of them as to lead to the easy identification of the species. That they were early introduced into the United States is shown by Pehr Kalm, a Swedish scientist, who took a keen interest in house pests. He reported these tineids to be abundant in 1748 in Philadelphia, then a straggling village, and says that clothes, worsted gloves, and other woolen stuffs hung up all summer were often eaten through and through by the worms, and furs were so ruined that the hair would come off in handfuls.

“What first led to the association of these and other household pests with man is an interesting problem. In the case of the clothes moths, the larvae of all of which can, in case of necessity, still subsist on almost any dry animal matter, their early association with man was probably in the role of scavengers, and in prehistoric times they probably fed on waste animal material about human habitations and on fur garments. The fondness they exhibit nowadays for tailor-made suits and other expensive products of the loom is simply an illustration of their ability to keep pace with man in his development in the matter of clothing from the skin garments of savagery to the artistic products of the modern tailor and dressmaker.

“Three common destructive species of clothes moths occur in this country. Much confusion, however, exists in all the early writings on these insects, all three species being inextricably mixed in the description and accounts of habits.

“The common injurious clothes moths are the case-making species (Tinea pellionella L.), the webbing species or Southern clothes moth (Tineola biselliella Hummel), and the gallery species or tapestry moth (Trichophaga tapetzella L. ) . “A few other species, which normally infest animal products, may occasionally also injure woolens, but are not of sufficient importance to be here noted.

“The case-making clothes moth.-The case-making clothes moth (Tinea pellionella L.) is the only species which constructs for its protection a true transportable case. It was characterized by Linnaeus, and carefully studied by Reaumur, early in the last century. Its more interesting habits have caused it to be often a subject of investigation, and its life history will serve to illustrate the habits of all the clothes moths.

“The moth expands about half an inch. Its head and forewings are grayish yellow, with indistinct fuscous spots on the middle of the wings. The hind wings are white or grayish and silky. It is the common species in the North, being widely distributed and very destructive. Its larvoe feed on woolens, carpets, etc., and are especially destructive to furs and feathers. In the North it has but one annual generation, the moths appearing from June to August, and, on the authority of Professor Fernald, even in rooms kept uniformly heated night and day, it never occurs in the larval state in winter. In the South, however, it appears from January to October, and has two or even more broods annually.

“The larva is a dull white caterpillar, with the head and the upper part of the next segment light brown, and is never seen free from its movable case or jacket, the construction of which is its first task. If it be necessary for it to change its position, the head and first segment are thrust out of the case, leaving the thoracic legs free, with which it crawls, dragging its case after it, to any suitable situation. With the growth of the larva it becomes necessary from time to time to enlarge the case both in length and circumference, and this is accomplished in a very interesting way. Without leaving its case the larva makes a slit halfway down one side and inserts a triangular gore of new material. A similar insertion is made on the opposite side, and the larva reverses itself without leaving the case and makes corresponding slits and additions in the other half. The case is lengthened by successive additions to either end. Exteriorly the case appears to be a matted mass of small particles of wool; interiorly it is lined with soft, whitish silk. By transferring the larva from time to time to fabrics of different colors the case may be made to assume as varied a pattern as the experimenter desires, and will illustrate, in its coloring, the peculiar method of making the enlargements and additions described.

“On reaching full growth the larva attaches its case by silken threads to the garment or other material upon which it has been feeding, or sometimes carries it long distances. In one instance numbers of them were noticed to have scaled a fifteen-foot wall to attach their cases in an angle of the cornice of the ceiling. It undergoes its tranformations to the chrysalis within the larval case, and under normal conditions the moth emerges three weeks later, the chrysalis having previously worked partly out of the larval case to facilitate the escape of the moth. The latter has an irregu lar flight and can also run rapidly. It has a distinct aversion to light, and usually conceals itself promptly in garments or crevices whenever it is frightened from its resting place. The moths are comparatively short-lived, not long surviving the deposition of their eggs for a new generation of destructive larvae. The eggs are minute, not easily visible to the naked eye, and are commonly placed directly on the material which is to furnish the larva: with food. In some cases they may be deposited in the crevices of trunks or boxes, the newly hatched larvae entering through these crevices.

“The webbing, or southern clothes moth.-The webbing, or southern clothes moth (Tineola biselliella, Hummel) is the more abundant and injurious species in the latitude o£ Washington and southward. It occurs also farther north, though in somewhat less numbers than the preceding species. It presents two annual broods even in the northern states, the first appearing in June from eggs deposited in May, and the second in August and September. It is about the size of pellionella. The forewings are, however, uni formly pale ocherous, without markings or spots. Its larva feeds on a large variety of animal substances-woolens, hair, feathers, furs, and in England it has even been observed to feed on cobwebs in the corners of rooms, and in, confinement has been successfully reared on this rather dainty food substance. The report that it feeds on dried plants in herbaria is rather open to question, as its other recorded food materials are all of animal origin.

“The larva of this moth constructs no case, but spins a silky, or more properly cobwebby, path wherever it goes. When full grown, it builds a cocoon of silk, intermixed with bits of wool, resembling somewhat the case of pellionella, but more irregular in outline. Within this it undergoes its transformation to the chrysalis, and the moth in emerging leaves its pupal shell projecting out of the cocoon as with the preceding species.

“The tapestry moth.-The tapestry moth (Trichophage tapetzella, L.) is rare in the United States. It is much larger than either of the other two species, measuring three-fourths inch in expansion of wings, and is more striking in coloration. The head is white, the basal third of the forewings black, with the exterior two-thirds of a creamy white, more or less obscured on the middle with gray; the hind wings are pale gray.

“This moth normally affects rather coarser and heavier cloths than the small species and is more apt to occur in carpets, horse blankets, and tapestries than in the finer and thinner woolen fabrics. It also affects felting, furs, and skins, and is a common source of damage to the woolen upholstering of carriages, being rather more likely to occur in carriage houses and barns than in dwelling houses. Its larva enters directly into the material which it infests, constructing burrows or galleries, which it lines more or less completely with silk. Within these galleries it is protected and concealed during its larval life, and later undergoes its transformation without other protection than that afforded by the gallery. The damage is due as much or more to its burrowing than to the actual amount of the material consumed for food.

“REMEDIES.-There is no easy method of preventing the damage done by clothes moths, and to maintain the integrity of woolens or other materials which they are likely to attack demands constant vigilance, with frequent inspection and treatment. In general, they are likely to affect injuriously only articles which are put away and left undisturbed for some little time. Articles in daily or weekly use, and apartments frequently aired and swept, or used as living rooms, are not apt to be seriously affected. Carpets under these conditions are rarely attacked, except sometimes around the borders, where the insects are not so much disturbed by walking and sweeping. Agitation, such as beating, shaking, or brushing, and exposure to air and sunlight, are old remedies and still among the best at command. Various repellents, such as tobacco, camphor, naphthaline cones or balls, and cedar chips or sprigs, have a certain value if the garments are not already stocked with eggs or larvae. The odors of these repellents are so disagreeable to the parent moths that they are not likely to come to deposit their eggs as long as the odor is strong. As the odor weakens the protection decreases, and if the eggs or larvae are already present, these odors have no effect on their development; while if the moths are inclosed with the stored material to be protected by these repellents, so that they cannot escape, they will of necessity deposit their eggs, and the destructive work of the larvae will be little, if at all, restricted. After woolens have been given a vigorous and thorough treatment and aired and exposed to sunlight, however, it is of some advantage in packing them away to inclose with them any of the repellents mentioned. Cedar chests and wardrobes are of value in proportion to the freedom of the material from infestation when stored away, but, as the odor of the wood is largely lost with age, in the course of a few years the protection greatly decreases. Fur and such garments may also be stored in boxes or trunks which have been lined with heavy tar paper used in buildings. New papering should be given to such receptacles every year or two. Similarly, the tarred paper moth bags obtainable at dry-goods houses are of some value; always, however, the materials should first be subjected to the treatment outlined above.

“To protect carpets, clothes, and cloth-covered furniture, furs, etc., these should be thoroughly beaten, shaken, brushed, and exposed as long as practicable to the sunlight in early spring, either in April, May, or June, depending on the latitude. The brushing of garments is a very important. consideration, to remove the eggs or young larvae which might escape notice. Such materials can then be hung away in clothes closets which have been thoroughly cleaned, and, if necessary, sprayed with benzine about the cracks of the floor and the baseboards. If no other protection be given, the garments should be examined at least once a month; during summer, brushed, and, if necessary, exposed to sunlight.

“It would be more convenient, however, so to inclose or wrap up such material as to prevent the access of the moths to it, after it has once been thoroughly treated and aired. This can be easily effected in the case of clothing and furs by wrapping tightly in stout paper or inclosing in well-made bags of cotton or linen cloth or strong paper. Doctor Howard has adopted a plan which is inexpensive, and which he has found eminently satisfactory. For a small sum he secures a number of the large pasteboard boxes, such as tailors use, and in these packs away all winter clothing, gumming a strip of wrapping paper around the edge, so as to seal up the box completely and leave no cracks. These boxes with care will last many years. With thorough preliminary treatment it will not be necessary to use the tar-impregnated paper sacks sold as moth protectors, which may be objectionable on account of the odor.

“In the case of cloth-covered furniture and cloth-lined carriages, which are stored or left unused for considerable periods in summer, it will probably be necessary to spray them twice or three times, viz., in April, June, and August, with benzine or naphtha, to protect them from moths. These substances can be applied very readily with any small spraying device, and will not harm the material, but caution must be exercised on account of their inflammability. Another means of protecting such articles is to sponge them very carefully with a dilute solution of corrosive sublimate in alcohol, made just strong enough not to leave a white stain.

“The method of protection adopted by one of the leading furriers of Washington, who also has a large business and experience in storing costly furs, etc., is practically the course already outlined. Furs when received are first most thoroughly and vigorously beaten with small sticks, to dislodge all loosened hair and the larvae or moths. They are then gone over carefully with a steel comb and packed away in large boxes lined with heavy tar roofing paper, or in closets similarly lined with this paper. An examination is made every two to four weeks, and, if necessary, at any time, any garment requiring it is rebeaten and combed. During many years of experience in this climate, which is especially favorable to moth damage, this merchant has prevented any serious injury from moths.

“Cold storage.-The best method of protection, and the one now commonly adopted by dealers in carpets, furs, etc., is cold storage. The most economical degree of cold to be used as a protection from clothes moths and allied insects destructive to woolens and furs has been definitely determined by the careful experiments carried out at the instance of Dr. Howard by Dr. Albert M. Read, manager of a large storage warehouse company in Washington, D. C. These experiments demonstrated that a temperature maintained at 4o degrees Fahrenheit renders the larval or other stages of these insects dormant and is thoroughly effective: The larvae, however, are able to stand a steady temperature as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit without apparently experiencing any ill results. Dr. Read’s experiments have extended over two years, and his later results as reported by Dr. Howard are very interesting. They have demonstrated that while a temperature kept uniformly at 18 degrees Fahrenheit will not destroy the larvae of Tineola bisellinella or of the black carpet beetle (Attagenus piceus), an alternation of a low temperature with a comparatively high one invariably results in the death of the larvae of these two insects. For example, if larvae of either which have been kept at a temperature of 18 degrees Fahrenheit are removed to a temperature of 4o degrees to 5o degrees Fahrenheit, they will become slightly active and, when returned to the lower temperature and kept there for a little time, will not revive upon a retransfer to the warmer temperature.

“It is recommended, therefore, that storage companies submit goods to two or three changes of temperature as noted before placing them permanently in an apartment kept at a temperature of from 4o degrees to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The maintenance of a temperature lower than the last indicated is needless and a wasteful expense. Where the cost of cold storage is not an item to be seriously considered, the adoption of this method for protection of goods during the hot months is strongly recommended.”

Care in laundering.-Care of textiles in laundering is highly important. Many a valuable fabric has been ruined by improper washing. Beautiful colors are sometimes spoiled, while soft, smooth, finely finished goods come out of the laundry rough, hard, and ugly in appearance. How goods shall be cleaned is a matter of great importance and one upon which the salesman needs to inform his customers so that they may get the greatest service out of their purchases.

There are four things to be considered before laundering or cleaning any textile fabric:

1. The kind of weave and the probable effect of washing and rubbing upon it.

2. The kinds of textile fibers used in the fabric.

3. The weight and strength of the fabric.

4. The degree of fastness of the colors.

Kind of weave.-The kind of weave is important to this extent, that if the weave is loose and sleazy, the fabric will not stand rubbing. Certain brocades and satins or sateens, for example, are not to be rubbed because the Jacquard figures would be damaged by so doing. The plain weaves show dirt the most easily, but likewise wash the most easily. Closely woven goods in twills do not soil easily, but hold dirt very tenaciously; such fabrics need most careful washing. Any weave that helps the cloth to absorb is in its nature more difficult to clean than an open weave fabric.

Kind of fiber.-The kind of textile fibers used in the fabric should be determined in advance, for each textile fiber demands methods of laundering different from the others. For example, cotton can stand more rubbing and more soaping than any of the other fabrics in proportion to its weight and strength. But cotton is quite susceptible to damage when brought in contact with acids. The chief difficulties in laundering cotton goods are in retaining brightness of dye or printing and in ironing with irons of proper temperature. Cotton can stand a great deal of what would be abuse to other textiles.

Linen is similar to cotton in most respects. Bleached linens show tendencies to yellow with time; they then require special treatment such as exposing to sunlight and laying out on the snow or grass.

Wool, on the other hand, presents a number of entirely different problems. Wool is in danger of shrinking, hardening, and scorching, as well as of losing its colors. Washing in too hot or too cold water, the use of alkalies or strong soaps, or rubbing and running through tight wringer rolls shrinks and hardens wool fabrics. Alkali may even destroy wool fiber. For these reasons wool needs special care in laundering.

Silk, like wool, an animal fiber, requires no less careful handling in laundering.

Weight and strength of fabric.-The weight and strength of the fabrics to be cleaned should be considered in order to determine what laundering processes the fabric will stand.

Colors of fabrics.-Finally, the fastness of the colors should be considered. Dyes that are fast under one method of washing may fade under another. Hence in preparing to launder an article, a colored woolen fabric, for example, precautions should be taken to prevent injury either to the wool or to the coloring matters.

Mixed goods.-Mixed or union goods present a special problem that is sometimes difficult to solve. The usual method is to launder the material as if it were entirely composed of the weakest kind of fiber in its composition. Wool and cotton should be laundered as if it were all wool. Cotton and silk should be laundered like silk.

Cleaning wool.-Wool fabrics or garments should be washed in soft water. Before placing the fabrics in the water, the water should be heated to a temperature of 85 degrees to 100 Fahrenheit, little more than lukewarm. Into the water should be placed enough soap of good quality, as free as possible from any uncombined alkali, to make suds. The addition of a little ammonia will help take the dirt out of the fabrics. Next, the garments, blankets, or fabrics, should be brushed and shaken to remove any loose lint, dust, or other particles. They are then to be placed in the water and allowed to soak for an hour, after which they should be kneaded and drawn backwards and forwards, up and down in the suds. They should never be rubbed or wrung. Soap should not be rubbed directly upon the fabric. Soap and rubbing cause the wool to felt; the better the grade of wool, the greater and more rapid the felting. The wool fabrics may now be removed to another tub of water of the same temperature but with less soap and ammonia; here they are stirred about in the same careful manner, rinsed, and removed for a final rinsing to a third tub with pure wafer of the same lukewarm tempera ture. After the last rinsing, the water is pressed out gently and the fabrics are dried. Sunshine and the open air are the best driers, though out of the question in a laundry. The drying temperature should never be more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Napped goods should be freshened after drying by rubbing with a piece of flannel. Soft woolens, delaines, cashmeres, and serges should be soaked for only a short time. If the fabrics need stretching, this should be done just before drying. Most woolens do not need ironing. Those fabrics that must be ironed should be covered with damp muslin and pressed with a heavy iron just warm, not hot. A hot iron will shrink flannel. and turn it yellow. Cashmere should be dampened before ironing.

Laundering silks.-Silks need about the same treatment as that given to wool, although silks do not mat or felt as do wools under conditions of heat, alkali, and rubbing. The water to be used in washing silks should be soft, of an even warm, not hot temperature, and only a neutral soap free from alkali should be used. Silks should not be rubbed but simply drawn backwards and forwards and poked up and down in the water. Nor should silks be crushed, squeezed, or wrung out with a wringer unless placed between folds of linen cloth. Silk goods should be ironed slightly damp, except pongee, which should be ironed dry. The face of a silk fabric should not be touched with a hot iron. The proper method is to protect the silk fabric by covering it with linen when ironing.

Cleaning colored goods.-Colored goods of any kind need special precautions that depend upon the nature of the dyes in the cloth. A complete set of directions for laundering colored goods would take up more space than can be given here. It will be sufficient for present purposes to enumerate the conditions that are especially likely to cause fading.

1. Long soaking in water.

2. Boiling or overheating.

3. Cold water or freezing.

4. Alkalies-washing sodas, washing fluids, washing powders, and poor soaps.

5. Washing two different colors in the same tub at the same time. There may be an affinity between these that may cause either or both to run.

6. Exposing to direct sunlight.

7. Ironing with too hot irons.

Setting the colors.-Colors may sometimes be set so that they will not come out in washing under ordinary circumstances. This desirable object is accomplished by using salt, alum, borax, vinegar, or ox gall in the wash water. The occasions for such agents vary greatly, and no general direction can or should be given. What will set some colors is likely to cause others to fade.

Methods of cleansing fabrics.-The purpose of laundering is both to remove dirt and impurities and to whiten or brighten the cloth. In the ordinary washing this is done both by mechanical and chemical means. The rubbing, boiling, rinsing, and so on, are mechanical means; ammonia, borax, washing powder, and several other substances commonly applied to loosen dirt or dissolve it, are chemical means. Coarse, heavy fabrics that can stand it may have both mechanical and chemical methods applied, but the finer the goods, the more careful the decision must be as to which method is advisable. In general, it may be said that, whenever possible, chemical help should be used, provided it is of such nature as not to injure the fabric; for chemical cleansing saves labor, while mechanical means all require labor or power.

Bluing.-Bluing, commonly a preparation made of Prussian blue, is used in laundering to whiten clothes. Most textiles are somewhat yellowish in tone, and if the bleaching and washing have been imperfectly done, the yellow is very decided. Bluing mixes with the yellow, and the result is a whiter appearing fabric. The use of too much bluing is damaging to both cotton and linen fabrics; it causes stains which are removed with difficulty.

Starching.-Laundered goods are frequently starched. The purpose of starch is the same here as in the manufacture and finishing of textiles. It increases the weight, stiffness, and body of the fabric. But starch serves another important purpose. Starched fabrics are not soiled so easily as soft fabrics, and they wash out very easily. Starch in fabrics makes it easier to remove stains, the starch being an absorbent and therefore drawing much of the stain to itself. Simply washing the starch out removes much of the stain. Starch neutralizes some staining substances such as tannin from tea and coffee. Where the starch is heavy, however, it makes the fabric brittle and breaks it to pieces prematurely.

Yellow discoloration.-Yellow discoloration in fabrics fresh from the laundry is practically inexcusable. It is caused by definitely known practices that can readily be obviated by study, care, and by purchasing necessary equipment. The causes which most commonly produce this yellow discoloration are:

1. The use of hard water. All laundering should be done in soft water. Where soft water is not available, hard water can usualy be made soft by chemical means that will not injure fabrics.

2. The use of too much carbonate of soda or washing soda. Washing soda has little or no cleansing effect in itself. It is an active chemical that seeks to combine with some other substance. In laundering, its chief use is to soften hard water. It can easily be used in too large quantities, making the clothes yellow rather than white.

3. Insufficient rinsing.

4. The use of too little water in the wash tubs. Better results are always obtained by using more water than is necessary rather than less.

5. Washing too hurriedly, and using strong soaps and ammonia to hasten the process.

6. Too quick drying in overheated air.

Theory of removing stains.-The removal of stains is a subject that may properly be considered here. Here, as in laundering, the character of the textile must be most carefully considered. But not only that; the character of the stain should also be known if it is to be removed without damaging the goods. The aim in stain removal is, of course, to find some substance that will attack, draw out, or loosen the staining material, yet leave the goods unharmed. Various substances may thus be used. Some stains can best be removed by covering them with an absorbent material that will draw out the staining substances. Others can be eradicated best by covering them or moistening them with some liquid that will dissolve them but will not attack the dyes or injure the cloth fiber. Sometimes the stain should be treated with a chemical that will combine with the staining material and form a new substance that can be washed out with water. Finally, where all other methods fail, the stain may be removed by bleaching. The removal of stain may, therefore, be accomplished usually by some one of the following methods:

1. Absorbents.

2. Solvents.

3. Acids or alkalies, or other chemicals.

4. Bleaching agents.

ABSORBENTS.-The common absorbents that may be used for stain removal purposes include blotting paper, common brown paper, powdered chalk, whiting, pipe clay, fuller’s earth, magnesia, gypsum, starch, melted tallow, corn meal, bran, and so on. Absorbents can be used to best advantage on fresh stains still moist. Hot grease, fresh ink stains, coffee or tea stains can be treated in this way, not to remove them entirely but rather to remove a large part of the staining substance and prevent it from spreading further. Absorbents are especially valuable for use preliminary to treatment by some other method.

SOLVENTS.-Solvents actually attack and dissolve the staining substance so that it may be flooded out by the dissolving liquid. Some of the common solvents are water, hot or cold, alcohol, gasoline, benzine, kerosene, turpentine, and chloroform. The removal of ordinary soil by means of washing in water is the most frequent example of this method. Cold water will remove milk and cream stains, stains from sugar, candies, and cocoa. Hot water may be used to remove fresh coffee stains. The mineral oils, benzine, gasoline, and kerosene, are useful solvents of grease, oil, wax, and paint. Gasoline is probably the best for use with woolen and silk fabrics but not with cotton. Gasoline, however, is very volatile, and passes off rapidly in the form of inflammable gas. It should, therefore, be used out of doors in the daylight; and never in a room where there is a fire or a gas flame or kerosene light, otherwise disaster is likely to occur. Vaseline, itself a mineral grease from the same source as kerosene or gasoline, may be softened and loosened by soaking the stained fabric in one of these mineral oils. When sufficiently liquid, the whole may in turn be dissolved in ammonia and water or washing soda and water, whereupon the mineral oil combines with the alkali in the form of an emulsion which can be washed out. Alcohol is a solvent for grass stains, for varnish and paint, and for several other substances. Its great value is enhanced by the fact that it will not harm delicate fabrics. Frequently, too, it is an excellent solvent for medicine stains. Turpentine is the universal solvent for paint, varnish, resins, oils, rubber, and the like. It is also a chemical solvent for iodine, sulphur, and phosphorus. Chloroform is the best of the solvents, and likewise the most expensive. It acts powerfully on grease, wax, camphor, rubber, iodine, and many other sorts of stains. No other solvent is so satisfactory for use on delicately colored textiles. When colors seem faded, chloroform is the best known substance for reviving them. Grease, itself the most frequent staining agent, must be used in some instances as a solvent for other substances. Tar and pitch may be removed by the use of lard, as may grass stains too if they are fresh. After obliterating the original stain, the grease is removed by some regular grease solvent, such as benzine, hot water and soap, or gasoline.

CHEMICAL ACTION.-Stains made by acids, such as fruit juices, wine, or lemon juice, or even by stronger acids, are best eradicated by means of some solvent; unhappily it is not always possible to find at hand a solvent other than water, and this is not effective after the acids have dried. In the failure of solvents, the best plan is to apply an alkali which combines chemically with the acid, forming thus a new substance which ordinarily will be easily dissolved by water. Ammonia is one of the best alkalies for this purpose, not being likely to injure even delicate fabrics.

“For the removal of stains and spots from colored goods and carpets, ammonia takes first place. It is one of the first chemicals to be used. It can be applied to cottons, wools, and silks, and leaves no trace of its use. Grease flies before its application, and when diluted with water, spots caused by orange or lemon juice or vinegar are removed by it from the most delicate materials. From carpets, curtains, and suits of clothing, it will remove almost every stain.”-The Modern Laundry, Vol. IL, page 82.

Washing soda (carbonate of soda) and cooking soda (bicarbonate of soda) are also valuable alkalies for use on uncolored cottons and linens. Furthermore, acid stains may be dissolved and removed by the use of certain weak acids, such as oxalic, citric, and tartaric acids, sour milk, and very weak muriatic acid. The theory seems to be the same as for the using of kerosene on vaseline. The acid liquids combine with the staining material and dissolve it, making it easy to wash out with water.

Acivs.-Acids must be used carefully because of their destructive effects on cotton and linen and on many dye substances. The acids named above, except sour milk and muriatic acid, are all vegetable acids and quite weak: Oxalic acid is made from the sorrel plant. Citric acid is made from lemons or other citrus fruits; tartaric acid, from grape juice. Each of these is valuable in removing fruit stains, iron rust, and old-fashioned, iron-gall, ink stains. When salt is added to any of them, a bleaching process sets in. Tartaric acid is a highly useful and safe acid for stain removal; no textile is injured by it. Since it is, however, a weak acid, its action is neither rapid nor strong enough to remove certain very deep stains.

BLEACHING.-If no other means succeeds a stain must be removed by bleaching. There are several bleaching methods and substances, differing greatly in effectiveness. Practically none of them can be used on colored goods without endangering the colors in the fabric. Some are destructive to the fabrics themselves and must be used with care and judgment. A few of the most common may be named here.

Oxygen.-Sunlight and air together form a gentle but effective bleaching agent provided that haste is not imperative. All discolored white goods may be improved by exposure to sunlight. Sulphur fumes are used most frequently for wool and silk goods. The method of application is very simple. The spot to be bleached is dampened in water and then held over burning sulphur so that the fumes penetrate the spot directly. After the stain has whitened, the fabric needs washing in soapsuds, and rinsing in clean water.

Bleaching powder.-Bleaching powder or chloride of lime is the most frequently used bleach for cotton and linen goods. It is valuable in removing refractory stains such as ink spots, mildew, old blood stains, and iron rust. The spot is covered with chloride of lime and moistened with some acid such as vinegar, oxalic acid, tartaric acid, or sour milk. The bleaching is rapid and should be stopped by rinsing thoroughly in water just as soon as the stain disappears. A bleach weaker than chloride of lime but working on the same principle is known as Javelle water. Javelle water is made as follows for household use:

1 pound sal soda or pearl ash,

1/4 pound chloride of lime,

2 quarts cold water.

After this mixture is allowed to stand for several hours, the clear liquor is poured off for use. It must be kept in a dark, cool place if it is to retain its strength. Javelle water may be used for the same purposes as bleaching powder, and, being less active, it does not require such cautious handling. Many housekeepers use Javelle water for practically all sorts of colored stains. This doubtless saves time, but is hardly economical, for Javelle water does destroy textile fiber.

Peroxide of hydrogen.-Peroxide of hydrogen is an excellent bleach, and should be used much more frequently than at present, for it seems to have no destructive effect on textile fiber. Its only disadvantage as compared with Javelle water is its higher cost.

Borax may at times be used as a mild bleaching agent in laundering clothes that show yellowish tints or streaks. Lemon juice and salt make a bleach that works much like chloride of lime, though it is not quite so strong. Any acid added to salt starts chemical bleaching.

PRINCIPLES OF REMOVING STAINS.-In concluding our study of the principle of removing stains, we may enumerate certain points of practice:

1. The sooner the stain is attended to, the better. Fresh stains are always easier to remove than old ones.

2. Use stain removers in the following order until something is found that is strong enough to remove the stain: absorbents, solvents, chemical combinations, bleaching agents. Never use a stronger means of removing a stain than is necessary.

3. Determine first, if possible, what caused the stain and work directly upon that information.

4. Do not rub a chemical into a stain. Dab it in, using a cloth, sponge, or the fingers.

5. Use pure chemicals in removing stains. Impure ones are likely to leave other stains fully as difficult to remove as the original stain.

6. Strong chemicals, such as acids, should be applied drop by drop to the stained fabric moistened with water or steam. The use of a medicine dropper for this purpose is most convenient. Using this, one can readily watch the progress of the remedy and control it.

7. To keep stains from spreading under the influence of solvents, it is best first to apply the solvent in a ring around the stain and then gradually to work in towards the center of the stain.

STAINS AND HOW THEY MAY BE ERADICATED.-The following list of stains arranged in alphabetical order gives the more ordinary ones together with the best means for treating each. Some stains are quite indelible, such as certain ink stains and brown stains from scorching. In such cases, the only remedy is to cover the spot by dyeing; even then the stain may show through the dye.

Acid.-To stop the corrosive action of acids spilled on fabric, the fabric should be dipped at once, if possible, into ammonia. If the stain becomes dry, ammonia will not be strong enough. Tie up a little washing soda or cooking soda in the stained part, make a lather of soap and cold soft water, immerse the fabric, and boil until the spot disappears. This treatment frequently causes colored goods to fade, but moistening with chloroform will often restore the original color. If chloroform fails a solution of nitrate of silver will often be of service. If this does not succeed there is no hope of recovering the fabric without redyeing. When yellow stains on brown or black woolen or worsted goods are caused by very strong acids, such as nitric acid, they should be padded repeatedly with a woolen pad soaked in a concentrated solution of permanganate of potash.

Aniline and aniline inks.-Wet the stained spot in acetic acid, and then apply diluted chloride of lime, and wash out carefully.

Apple and pear.-Soak in paraffin for a few hours and then wash. The paraffin, when melted, is a strong absorbent for such fruit colors.

Blood.-If fresh, soak for twelve hours in cold water; then wash in tepid water. If the mark still remains, cover it with a paste of cold water and starch, and expose to the sun for a day or two. Old stains require bleaching with Javelle water, or an application of iodide of potassium diluted with four times its weight of cold water.

Brass.-Brass stains on fabrics may be removed by dabbing with rancid lard or rancid butter.

Burns.-These are caused perhaps by overheated irons. If bad, they are hopeless, and must be hidden by dyeing. Slight burns yield to treatment with soap and water.

Changed colors.-Stains are often caused by local fading of dye. They can, in most cases, be removed by reviving the dye. The manner of doing this depends upon the kind of dye. If the nature of the dye is unknown, dilute ammonia should be tried, or dilute acid, or chloroform. It does not matter which is tried first, but the effect must be carefully watched, and the first chemical washed out at once when it is clear that it wil’ not be successful. The solutions of acid or ammonia should be very dilute, at least at first.

Coffee.-Pour boiling soft water through the stain, and while it is still wet hold in the fumes of burning sulphur. Washing with soap and water is, however, usually sufficient without using the sulphur. Glycerin also removes coffee stains; it should be diluted by the addition of four times as much water and a little ammonia.

Chocolate and cocoa.-Cocoa stains can be removed by using cold water. Otherwise the treatment should be the same as for coffee stains.

Fruit.-Fruit stains can be treated like coffee stains if fresh; if old, rub on both sides with yellow soap, cover thickly with cold water, starch, and bleach by exposing to the sun and air for three or four days. Fruit stains are acid stains and may also be removed by treating with alkalies. One method is to apply ammonia and alcohol mixed in equal proportions.

Grass.-Dab with spirits of wine or alcohol. Application of tartaric acid or cream of tartar is sometimes effective if used in boiling water, the stained fabric being dipped in several times. A grass stain may sometimes be removed by rubbing lard over the spot and then washing. Grass stains differ greatly in ease of removal. Sometimes ammonia will take out such stains, especially if it is found that an acid treatment has no effect. Intractable spots need bleaching.

Grease.-Grease stains if still fresh should be treated at first with absorbents such as fuller’s earth, chalk, talcum powder, or flour. Ironing small grease spots over brown paper is sometimes helpful. The use of absorbents should be supplemented by some solvent such as benzine, gasoline, turpentine, or chloroform. To keep the grease from spreading, the solvent should first be applied in a ring around the outside of the spot, after which the spot may be covered. In using the grease solvents any proximity to fire must be carefully avoided.

Ink.-The great difficulty in removing ink stains is due to the fact that ink is made from so many different chemical substances. The best way to treat an ink stain is to apply some solvent that will not harm the fabric no matter what sort of chemical caused the stain. Fresh ink stains may frequently be washed or rubbed out in milk. If the stains do not begin to fade at once, the fabric should be allowed to stand in the milk for at least twelve hours. In the meantime, the milk beginning to sour, the weak acid will make itself felt on the stain. If this does not remove the stain, it should next be treated as for aniline ink. Most of the directions given in household guides for treating ink stains are valueless because they apply to inks that are now no longer made and used. If the methods suggested above do not succeed, then the stain should be covered with melted tallow for a few hours. This should be removed by washing in hot soapsuds. If this fails, then the spot should be bleached out with Javelle water.

Iodine.-Soak the stain in ammonia. Rub with dry bicarbonate of soda (cooking soda) until stain comes out. Iron rust.-Apply citric acid, oxalic acid, or tartaric acid. If this acid treatment does not remove the spot, bleach it by covering it with lemon juice and salt and exposing it to sunlight.

Medicine.-Medicine stains may usually be dissolved and removed by means of alcohol.

Mildew.-Treat as for iron stains. Boiling in strong borax water is recommended. Mildew is usually very refractory. The bad color can be removed by bleaching if the remedies proposed above do not seem sufficient, but it is more than likely that the fabric will be very tender after the bleaching process.

Milk and Cream.-Milk stains can be removed with cold water or with cold water and soap. Hot water sets the milk stain and makes it difficult to remove.

Mud.-Dip in gasoline or benzine. Small spots may be concealed by using chalk or white watercolor when it is not convenient to have the cloth cleaned with a solvent at once.

Paint.-Dab with turpentine. A mixture of turpentine and chloroform is often very effective in removing old paint stains from even delicate fabrics. Naphtha soap should be used in washing out paint oil stains.

Perspiration.-Use strong soap solutions and expose to sunshine. Perspiration under the arm is of a different chemical composition from that of other parts of the body, and is neutralized by dilute hydrochloric acid. The acid should be very dilute, about one part acid to seventy-five or a hundred parts water.

Tar.-Cover with lard, let stand a while, and then wash in hot soapsuds.

Tea.-Treat as for coffee stains. Tea contains tannic acid, and may therefore be treated by using ammonia or some other alkali.

Varnish.-Treat like paint stains.

Vaseline.-Vaseline is not soluble in acids or alkalies, but can be dissolved in kerosene or benzine, and then washed out with hot soapsuds.

Wine.-Treat like fruit stains. Fresh wine can be very largely neutralized by spreading salt over the spot while wet.

Technologies for the clothing industry

Synergies among makers of machinery, as well as systems and plants and the clothing industry aim both to the optimisation of the garment and to its suitability to be used according the customer’s demand.

As a consequence organisation of the production on one side, methods applied, machines, and component materials (from the fabric to the accessories) play a synergetic role which determines the product quality.

Organisation and information management, logistics, as well as specific hardware and software packages for CAD and CAM systems are representative of the high technological level offered by the Italian manufacturers

Receipt of goods

At their reception, all pieces must be immediately provided with a bar code with the following information: fabric variant, colour variant, real fabric width, total length, net length after detection of flaw lengths, entry date into the warehouse.

Today also the clothing manufacturing companies need to have a range of equipment for printing labels and bar codes. These printers through a serial or parallel port can be connected to any system.

Fabric inspection and detection of faults

Fabric quality control involves the control of a series of characteristics, such as dimensional stability, shade uniformity, colour stability at fusing and ironing temperatures, light and stain removal fastness, weft squareness, consistent tensile strength, wear resistance, resistance to seam sliding pressure. Finishing products must not hinder fusing, and must not cause fabric stripiness and creases; selvedge must be regular, not too loose, not too tight or too large.

To make these controls easier Italian inspection machine makers offer a series of options, suitable both for woven and knitted/elasticised fabrics. Programmable automatic winding machines are also offered for cutting optimisation.

An interesting development is a final control for measuring and controlling colour directly on any type of inspection table for any type of textile product. Thanks to an advanced system of colorimetric quality control an exact interpretation and evaluation of the readings is provided. Advantages include automatic calculation of tolerances, instrumental control of colour differences (center/selvedges, header/end), no need of tests for sample sets, and speeding up of the control process.

Piece transport from storehouse to spreading department

A keen problem is “what to do” with the flaw lengths appearing during spreading. A solution is the CAD marking system, which is able to study and calculate the various possibilities for fault cutting-out, and the number of superimposed fabric layers needed after flaw removing. This information, together those concerning length of marking, number of layers for each single step, size, fabric/colour variant, is to be stored in the central computer for subsequent use not only by the spreader but also the robotised truck (which has to draw pieces from the warehouse), and the carousel for feeding individual piece to the spreader.

Many options of spreading equipment provide flexibility in fabric handling, and are available from Italian manufacturers, either with cradle or programmed loading of the rolls without the help of the chuck.

Special solutions are offered for tubular fabrics, big rolls up to 400 kg, home linen. A high tech solution is a two-roll spreader, which may be used to obtain the multilayer stack for laser cutting the car safety air bags. This technology can be also applied for simultaneous spreading of the three layers composing the tie material or to couple already during preading filling and fabric of windcheaters.

New fabric spreading technologies are becoming popular: these technologies are the natural answer to a more and more pressing market request, that is tailor made clothing. Customers who are no more satisfied of already made-up suits are increasing more and more; they require tailor made clothing with fabrics and sizes chosen by them. To satisfy these requirements, new completely automated lines are being planned for the motion of fabric rolls, spreading and cutting of predetermined length fabrics which will feed the systems for shape cutting. These lines, inserted in CIM systems, allow the making up of “tailor made” suits at low costs and in short time.

Pattern grading and marking

For these two operations, in the sector of CAD for the clothing industry, a wide range of the most recent and known software packages has been developed enabling high operating speed thanks to personal computers of the latest generation. The system is composed of a workstation with digitizer table, where the identification of the pattern design is performed. The subsequent step is carried out on a workstation for the construction of the basic model and the marking. After completing these operations, the system is arranged for interfacing with automatic cutting.

Cutting systems and cutting machines

For the cutting room various systems are offered so to meet the most diverse requirements not only of the medium and big clothing manufacturers, but also for small sized companies. The wide range of machines offered can handle the cutting of single-layer fabrics up to 15.5 cm stocked piles.

Sewing machines

The sector of sewing machines shows continuous updating and improvement. The trend is towards the use of more and more flexible and automatic sewing units able to perform some sequential sewing operations. On the other hand there is still the need to manufacture low cost sewing machines for the developing countries. Since present day fashion needs lead more and more to continuous model changes, clothing manufacturers very often have to increase the number of machines, with consequent high investment. This problem finds a solution in adopting a flexible modular system putting together three basic units: a cylinder bed sewing machine, a cuttingsewing machine and a flat a flat bed unit that can be completed by a series of universal kit for loop stitch goods (used for underwear, corsetry and knitwear). Advantages claimed for this system consist in: a complete production system that carries out sewing operations with very high performance, possibility of modifying the initial configuration, adapting it to new production needs, possibility of technological updating without having to replace the machine, justifiable investment also in case of fashion changes. A machine with shortened cylinder bed on the left of the needles and differential feed is offered for top stitching of pre-existent seams. A new subclass unit for top stitching the seams on medium-heavy knitwear has been prepared for smoothly sew crossed seams with high thickness. It equipped with thread cutting device. Also launched a brand new unit for flat topstitched assembly seams with bartacking on light and medium outerwear in a single operation.

The automatic units adopting a multistitch method allow to reduce operation times by about 50/60%, reduce the operation steps and hence the dwelling time of the semifinished garment in the cutting room. A series of units carries out the flat and topstitched assembly seams in one single phase without interruption. They are equipped with two heads, the first one with horizontal needle bar for the assembly seams, the second one with vertical needle bar for topstitching. The sewing system adopts a new method for the introduction of the fabric into the automatic unit. In fact the two fabric edges to be assembled are presenting themselves in open state, with the right side turned towards the operator, making easier the coupling of striped and chequered fabrics. For attaching pockets on shirts, working clothes and pyjamas etc., machinery with flexible systems controlled by microchips that can fold pockets, sewing them, and pile the garments in an automatic cycle. These machines offer high productivity, constant quality and the possibility to programme various sewing patterns that can be adapted to the different pocket models. The wide range of models offered include high frequency “sewing” systems for synthetic fabrics, which fuse by means of an 800 W ultrasound generator and a vibrating ultrasound group. The fusion speed can programmed up to 50 m/min and is driven by means of a treadle.


Quilts are a popular home decoration element. Electronics broadens potential of quilting machines making them more versatile. An Italian company is engaged in the production of a series of models which mount a serious challenge to machine embroidery. The newest models of quilters, can operate at around 1,000 stitches/minute and are built with a quilting width up to 114 ins (290 cm). With three needle bars the patterning potential is immense. Giant rotating hooks with 700-mm bobbins are used in this machine which has
tack and jump mode. This is a means of still further creating more interesting surface effects.

Developments on these machines is aimed to a system of automatically cutting embroidery threads, and this will serve to conserve thread when a needles produces a discrete pattern and then needs to travel to a different position to perform its next task.


The Schiffli embroidery machines are now offered with computer control. The design preparation for multihead embroidery machines is today a normal practice. Besides punching of patterns on graphic screens and advanced systems for data processing of machine programs, one can use laser discs containing 20,000 patterns each, and affording to  immediately write the embroidery design on the machine disc, so that production can start at once.

Knitwear linking

The knitwear linking is carried out exclusively to sew full-fashioned knitted goods which are loaded onto pins so that the ribs of both webs perfectly match thus avoiding the risk of sliding.

Linking machines can be quipped with one or two needles and hook- or straight-shaped needles (different stitch formation obtained). Linking machines can have internal needle (the stitch is loaded from the plain side) or external needle (the stitch is loaded on the reverse side). The working speed can reach 1,500 stitches per minute; the quantity of needles per inch ranges from seven to sixteen; in special machines it can range from 2 to max 24 needles per inch. It’s also worth mentioning that some knitwear linking machines are equipped with microcomputer to synchronise all the speed values: adjusting sewing speed, prefeeding of rib borders, and positive drive pullers, which are controlled individually by conventional motors, in order to allow accurate alignment of the ribs.

Ironing and pressing

This sector includes a great number of units that are used for different purposes, and sees the leadership of Italian makers.

There are automatic, pneumatic and rotary ironing presses for all pieces of clothing; ironing systems for intermediate and final ironing include pneumatic toppers for trousers ironing, steaming dummies, finishing cabinets, heated vacuum boards, and the blowironing units.

All ironing machines and systems are now equipped with electronic systems so that crucial parameters such as speed, temperature and pressure may be set. The safety systems installed have been further improved for a better safeguard of the staff operating on the machines.


The importance of finishing is becoming more and more crucial in the textile/clothing sector thanks also to the new “informal comfort” standard suggested by the fashion dictations in the last few years which started in the past with a new kind of treatment for jeans. Now the finished garment needs to be a “high-profile” piece of clothing not only from a purely technical point of view but also in terms of esthetical content, which must be in line with the visual, hand, and colour trends.

A wide and continuously evolving range of washers and tumblers especially studied for garment washing, dyeing and drying have been developed to allow many kinds of treatments such as bleaching and stone washing, and to obtain delavé and used look. Also worth remembering is the continuous evolution of drum type washing machines and the driers, available in a vast range of models specifically designed for washing, dyeing and drying operations on garments.

Folding and packaging

At the end of the production line, garments are arranged with reference tags, put into a bag and packed according to the forwarding specifications. These operations are carried out by means of folding and packing machines (for shirts, home linen, and underwear the complete process of folding and packing is carried out automatically in only one operation). A series of other systems are used to pile-up, pack, wrap-up and tie-up the garments.

Quality Control Aspects of Garment Exports


For every industry or business, to get increased sales and better name amongst consumers and fellow companies it is important to maintain a level of quality. Especially for the businesses engaged in export business has to sustain a high level of quality to ensure better business globally. Generally quality control standards for export are set strictly, as this business is also holds the prestige of the country, whose company is doing the export. Export houses earn foreign exchange for the country, so it becomes mandatory to have good quality control of their products. In the garment industry quality control is practiced right from the initial stage of sourcing raw materials to the stage of final finished garment. For textile and apparel industry product quality is calculated in terms of quality and standard of fibres, yarns, fabric construction, colour fastness, surface designs and the final finished garment products. However quality  expectations for export are related to the type of customer segments and the retail outlets. There are a number of factors on which quality fitness of garment industry is based such as – performance, reliability, durability, visual and perceived quality of the garment. Quality needs to be defined in terms of a particular framework of cost. The national regulatory quality certification and international quality programmes like ISO 9000 series lay down the broad quality parameters based on which companies maintain the export quality in the garment and apparel industry. Here some of main fabric properties that are taken into consideration for garment manufacturing for export basis:
• Overall look of the garment.
• Right formation of the garment.
• Feel and fall of the garment.
Physical properties.
Colour fastness of the garment.
• Finishing properties
• Presentation of the final produced garment.

Sourcing of Fabrics

There are certain problems that could be faced by garment manufacturers when sourcing for certain fabrics, so precautions should be taken for it beforehand to minimize the problems. The garment exporters source cotton fabrics mainly from handloom sectors, powerlooms and mills. Each of these sectors presents their own unique set of problems to the garment exporters. Sourcing cotton from handloom sectors might present some set of problems like colour variation, missing ends and picks, irregular weaves and unreliable supplies. However, the handloom sector is significant source of heavier cotton. Common problems faced in powerloom cotton sourcing are broken ends and reed marks, thick and thin places, difference in width and massive variation in costing. The major problem in mill-made fabric sourcing is to meet huge demands from the mills. Fabrics have to be ordered well in advance in mills and the long time taken for producing the fabric is a matter of concern for garment exporters. Mills generally hesitate to take small orders which pose a problem for small scale exporters.

It is not that sourcing problems which only confined to cotton fabrics, but also to other fabrics as well. In silk garment industry there are some sorts of problems faced by silk garment exporters. Some of the problems that could be faced by silk garment exporters are as follows:

• Shortage of imported silk yarns in the quantities required, as a result delivery is delayed.
Silk material is very vulnerable to stains during manufacturing process as well as stocking, staining results in rejection so a lot of care has to taken during these procedures.
• Roll length of the silk yarn is often insufficient.
• Colour fastness of dyed silk material is sometimes not satisfactory.
• There are also chances of warp breakage.

Basic Thumb Rules for Garment Exporters

For a garment exporter there are many strategies and rules that are required to be followed to achieve good business. The fabric quality, product quality, delivery, price, packaging and presentation are some of the many aspects that need to be taken care of in garment export business. Some rules that are advisable for garment exporters are listed below:

• Quality has to be taken care by the exporter, excuses are not entertained in international market for negligence for low quality garments, new or existing exporters for both it is mandatory to use design, technology and quality as major upgradation tools.
• Apart from superior quality of the garment, its pricing, packaging, delivery, etc has to be also taken care of.
• The garment shown in the catalogue should match with the final garment delivered.
• It is important to perform according to the promises given to the buyer, or else it creates very bad impression and results in loss of business and reputation.
• In international market, quality reassurance is required at every point.
• Proper documentation and high standard labels on the garment are also important aspects as these things also create good impression.
• Timely delivery of garments is as important as its quality.
• If your competitor has the better quality of garment in same pricing, it is better to also enhance your garment quality.
• Before entering into international market, garment exporters have to carefully frame out the quality standards, or else if anything goes wrong it could harm the organization. And after that strictly follow it.
• The garment quality should match the samples shown during taking the orders.
• The garment exporters should know to negotiate a premium price after quality assurance is done.

Quality is a multi-dimensional aspect. There are many aspects of quality based on which the garment exporters are supposed to work.

• Quality of the production.
• Quality of the design of the garment.
• Purchasing functions’ quality should also be maintained.
• Quality of final inspection should be superior.
• Quality of the sales has to be also maintained.
• Quality of marketing of the final product is also important as the quality of the garment itself.

See to it that………..

There are certain quality related problems in garment manufacturing that should not be overlooked: Sewing defects – Like open seams, wrong stitching techniques used, same colour garment, but usage of different colour threads on the garment, miss out of stitches in between, creasing of the garment, erroneous thread tension and raw edges are some sewing defects that could occur so should be taken care of. Colour effects – Colour defects that could occur are – difference of the colour of final produced garment to the sample shown, accessories used are of wrong colour combination and mismatching of dye amongst the pieces.

Sizing defects – Wrong gradation of sizes, difference in measurement of a garment part from other, for example- sleeves of ‘XL’ size but body of ‘L’ size. Such defects do not occur has to be seen too. Garment defects – During manufacturing process defects could occur like – faulty zippers, irregular hemming, loose buttons, raw edges, improper button holes, uneven parts, inappropriate trimming, and difference in fabric colours.


Quality is ultimately a question of customer satisfaction. Good Quality increases the value of a product or service, establishes brand name, and builds up good reputation for the garment exporter, which in turn results into consumer satisfaction, high sales and foreign exchange for the country. The perceived quality of a garment is the result of a number of aspects, which together help achieve the desired level of satisfaction for the customer. Therefore quality control in terms of garme

Fabric and garment finishing : Basic washes in denim fabric

By : Noopur Shalini

NIFT, Hyderabad


A popular conception of the etymology of the word denim is that it is a contraction or derivative of the French term, serge de Nmes. Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue “jeans,” though “jean” then denoted a different, lighter cotton textile; the contemporary use of jean comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gnes), from which the first denim trousers were made.

A similarly woven traditional American cotton textile is the diagonal warp-striped hickory cloth that was once associated with railroad mens overalls, in which blue or black contrasting with undyed white threads form the woven pattern. Hickory cloth was characterized as being as rugged as hickory woodnot to mention the fact that it was deemed to be worn mainly by “hicks”although neither may be the origin of that term [from a nickname for “Richard”]. Records of a group of New Yorkers headed for the California gold fields in 1849 show that they took along four “hickory shirts” apiece. Hickory cloth would later furnish the material for some “fatigue” pantaloons and shirts in the American Civil War.


Denim is a rugged cotton twill textile, in which the weft passes under two (twi- “double”) or more warp fibers, producing the familiar diagonal ribbing identifiable on the reverse of the fabric.


Denim washing is the aesthetic finish given to the denim fabric to enhance the appeal and to provide strength.

Dry denim, as opposed to washed denim, is a denim fabric that is not washed after being dyed during its production.

Much of the appeal of dry denim lies in the fact that with time the fabric will fade in a manner similar to that which artificially distressed denim attempts to replicate. With dry denim, however, such fading is affected by the body of the person who wears the jeans and the activities of their daily life. This creates what many feel to be a more natural, unique look than pre-distressed denim.



clip_image0031. Mechanical washes

  • Stone wash
  • Microsanding

2. Chemical washes


Denim bleach

In this process a strong oxidative bleaching agent such as sodium hypochlorite or KMnO4 is added during the washing with or without stone addition.

Discoloration produced is usually more apparent depending on strength of the bleach liquor quantity, temperature and treatment time.

It is preferable to have strong bleach with short treatment time.

Care should be taken for the bleached goods so that they should be adequately antichlored or after washed with peroxide to minimize yellowing. Materials should be carefully sorted before processing for color uniformity.


Process cycle:



– Process is difficult to control i.e. difficult to reach the same level of bleaching in repeated runs.

  • When desired level of bleaching reached the time span available to stop the bleaching is very narrow. Due to harshness of chemical, it may cause damage to cellulose resulting in severe strength losses and/or breaks or pinholes at the seam, pocket, etc.
  • Harmful to human health and causes corrosion to stainless steel.
  • Required antichlor treatment.

Problem of yellowing is very frequent due to residual chlorine.

Chlorinated organic substances occur as abundant products in bleaching, and pass into the effluent where they cause severe environmental pollution.

Enzyme Wash

It is environmentally friendly wash. It involves the Application of organic enzymes that eat away at the fabric, i.e. the cellulose.

When the desired color is achieved, the enzymes can be stopped by changing the alkalinity of the bath or its temperature. Post treatment includes final rinsing and softening cycle. The effects produced by the cellulose enzyme are—

  1. Use of cellulase making the seams, hems, and pockets more noticeable
  2. Salt pepper effect is color contrast effect.
  3. Faded garment with acid cellulase enzyme provides less color contrast in proportion to garment washed with neutral cellulase enzymes.

Garment load size of the machine is 35-40 jeans per machine and it cannot be overloaded.


Acid wash

It is done by tumbling the garments with pumice stones presoaked in a solution of sodium hypochlorite or potassium permanganate for localized bleaching resulting in a non uniform sharp blue/white contrast.

In this wash the color contrast of the denim fabric can be enhanced by optical brightening. The advantage of this process is that it saves water as addition of water is not required.

Process cycle



Limitations of acid wash:

– Acid washed, indigo dyed denim has a tendency to yellow after wet processing.

– The major cause is residual manganese due to incomplete neutralization, washing or rinsing.


  • Manganese is effectively removed during laundering with addition of ethelene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid as chelating agent.
  • Acid washing jeans avoided some of problems of stone wash, but came with added dangers, expenses, and pollution.


Stone wash:

In the process of stone washing, freshly dyed jeans are loaded into large washing machines and tumbled with pumice stones to achieve a soft hand and desirable look.

Variations in composition, hardness, size shape and porosity make these stones multifunctional. The process is quite expensive and requires high capital investment.

Pumice stones give the additional effect of a faded or worn look as it abrades the surface of the jeans like sandpaper, removing some dye particles from the surfaces of the yarn.


Process cycle:


Selection of stone

Stone should be selected of the proper hardness, shape, and size for the particular end product. It should be noted that large, hard stones last longer and may be suited for heavy weight fabrics only.

Smaller, softer stones would be used for light weight fabrics and more delicate items.

Stone wt. /fabric wt. = 0.5 to 3 /1

It depends on the degree of abrasion needed to achieve the desired result. Stones can be reused until they completely disintegrate or washed down the drain.


Problems caused by stones:

  • Damage to wash machineries and garment due to stone to machine and machine to stone abrasion
  • Increase in labor to remove dust from finished garments.
  • Water pollution during disposal of used liquor.
  • Back staining and re deposition.

Back staining or Re-deposition:

The dye removed from denim material after the treatment with cellulose or by a conventional washing process may cause “back staining or “redeposition. Re-coloration of blue threads and blue coloration of white threads, resulting in less contrast between blue and white threads.

Remedy of back staining —

  • Adding dispersion/suspension agent to wash cycle.
  • Intermediate replacement of wash liquor.
  • Using alkaline detergent like sodium per borate with optical brightener as after wash.

Limitations of stone washing:

  • Quality of the abrasion process is difficult to control Outcome of a load of jeans is never uniform, little percentage always getting ruined by too much abrasion.
  • The process is non-selective.
  • Metal buttons and rivets on the jeans in the washing machines get abraded.
  • This reduces quality of the products and life of equipment, and increases production costs.
  • Stones may turn into powder during the process of making the garment grayish in color and rough too
  • Provides rougher feel than enzyme wash
  • Stone may lead the harm to the machine parts


There are 3 ways for this technique:

  1. Sandblasting
  2. Machine sanding
  3. Hand sanding or hand brushing


Used in various ways:

  • Flat surfaces (tables, ironing boards)
  • On the dummy (inflatable dummies, sometimes standing, sometimes flat, sometimes ‘seated’)
  • Various templates can be used to create a 3D effect.


Sand blasting technique is based on blasting an abrasive material in granular, powdered or other form through a nozzle at very high speed and pressure onto specific areas of the garment surface to be treated to give the desired distressed/ abraded/used look.

  • It is purely mechanical process, not using any chemicals.
  • It is a water free process therefore no drying required.
  • Variety of distressed or abraded looks possible.
  • Any number of designs could be created by special techniques.



  • Also known as Cat’s Whiskers
  •  Crease lines around the crotch.
  • Industrially done with laser, sandblasting, machine sanding, hand sanding and abrasive rods.
  • Also used for ‘knee whiskers’ (whiskers on the sides of knees) and ‘honeycombs’ (crease marks on the back of the knee)

Other chemical washes:

  • Rinse wash
  • Cellulase wash
  • Ozone fading
  • Snow wash
  • Salt water denim
  • Flat finish
  • Over dye
  • Sun washing
  • Super dark stone


– Chemically bleaching jeans so that the color fades away

  • Breaks down the fibers of jeans and creates white streaks or spots on denim
  • Gives a unique rugged look, also called snow wash
  • Earlier involved the use of pumice stone
  • Presently process involves spraying chemical and removing it immediately
  • Come in colors like blue, black, green, brown, grey etc.


  • This is done to achieve a wash down appearance without the use of stones or with reduced quantities of stones.
  • Cellulase enzymes are selective only to the cellulose and will not degrade starch.
  • Under certain conditions, their ability to react with cellulose (cotton) will result in surface fiber removal (weight loss).
  • This will give the garments a washed appearance and soft hand.

Factors influencing cellulase performance

  • pH
  • Temperature
  • Time
  • Dose
  • Mechanical action


  • By using this technique, the garment can be bleached.
  • Bleaching of denim garment is done in washing machine with ozone dissolved in water.
  • Denim garments can also be bleached or faded by using ozone gas in closed chamber.
  • In the presence of UV light, there is an interaction between the hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and oxygen that causes release of ozone.
  • Indigo dyestuff tends to fade or turn yellow due to ozone reaction.

The advantages associated with this process are:

  • Color removal is possible without losing strength.
  • This method is very simple and environmentally friendly because after laundering, ozonized water can easily be deozonized by UV radiation.


It is a special process done to impart fabric with an even wash down effect and very clean surface. Originally liquid ammonia was used, but now use mercerization plus calendering processes to achieve the flat surface.

Mercerization swells up the cotton fibers and allows the calendering to press flat the surface.

They consider this as an imitation process to the use of ammonia, which is toxic and not allowed in commercial use in most countries


  • Dyeing over the fabric or jeans to add another tone of color
  • Most often used is a ‘yellowy’ overdye to create a ‘dirty’ look
  • Also can be applied with spray gun or paintbrush for local coloring


  • A very light shade by bleaching and stoning
  • Looks as if the sun faded the fabric


  • Commercial term for an extra dark indigo color
  • Results from a double-dyeing technique


Denim treated with a variation of acid wash that imparts bright white highlights.


  • Aims at minimizing wash cycle time
  • Results in more economical washes and solving many other washing problems faced by launderes during fashion wash cycles
  • The yarns are ring dyed using indigo giving 25 to 30% less fixed dye to obtain a given shade
  • During wash cycle,indigo dye can be removed quickly,giving washed look

clip_image014Advantages of quick wash denim

1. Streaks develop in garments after washing process due to differences in dye concentration of denim fabrics are avoided using a modified alkali-ph controlled system giving uniformity of shade.

2. Amount of indigo dye required is less thus making it an economical process

3. Time required for washing is 20-30% less than that required for conventional denim.

4. Lesser enzymes and oxidising agent used

5. Environment friendly process

6. Back staining is minimised due to less concentration of of indigo dye in the wash liqour.


Other Mechanical washing

  • Whiskering
  • Shot gun denim
  • Water jet fading
  • Super stone wash
  • Ice wash
  • Thermo denim
  • Laser technology finish


  • Hydrojet treatment is used for enhancing the surface finish, texture, durability of denim garment.
  • Hydroject treatment involves exposing one or both surfaces of the garment through hydrojet nozzles.
  • The degree of colour washout, clarity of patterns, and softness of the resulting fabric are related to the type of dye in the fabric and the amount and manner of fluid impact energy applied to the fabric.
  • As this process is not involved with any chemical, it is pollution free.


  • It is a computer controlled process for denim fading.
  • This technique enables patterns to be created such as lines and/or dots, images, text or even pictures.
  • It is water free fading of denim.
  • Being an automatic system, chances of human error are slim.
  • Also called spray painting in denims.
  • This technique has relatively high cost.


  • Prolonged stonewashing, up to six hours or more.


  • Ice washing in denim fabrics is done to remove more than half the dye during washing


  • Also called double denim. A lightweight fabric (either plain, fancy or colored) is glued to the denim. The glue comes off after washing and the trousers look like they’ve been lined


  • Applies heavy stonewashing or a cellulose enzyme wash, with or without bleach
  • Gives an old and worn look


1. Bleach fast Indigo

  • Value addition to denim
  • Retains indigo on certain parts
  • Kind of resist effect
  • Chemical applied by brush, cured at 150C
  • Ex. Indigofix AXN

2. Anti-depositing agent

  • Prevents back staining of fabric by loose indigo during washing
  • Improves contrast in denim
  • Used in stone wash step

3. Dye stuffs with softener

  • – To carry dyeing and softening in one step
  • – Soft and supple hand
  • – Saves time, money and energy as added to final rinse
  • – Gives used and worn out effect

4. Anti creasing agent

  • Provides fabric to fabric lubrication
  • Prevents formation of crack marks and streaks
  • Minimizes abrasion and gives strength

5. Wrinkle formation

  • Creating smooth and permanent wrinkle
  • Cross linking concept
  • Ex. DMDHEU
  • White pigment
  • Can be applied by brush, spray or screen
  • Then cured at 150C
  • Washed and treated with softener

6. White pigment

  • Can be applied by brush, spray or screen
  • Then cured at 150C
  • Washed and treated with softener



Denim is unique in its singular connection with one colour. The warp yarn is traditionally dyed with the blue pigment obtained from indigo dye. Until the introduction of synthetic dyes, at the end of the 19th century, indigo was the most significant natural dye known to mankind, linked with practical fabrics and work clothing. The durability of indigo as a color and it’s darkness of tone made it a good choice, when frequent washing was not possible.

The old mass market has segmented, fragmented, shattered into a multitude of mini, micro and niche markets. The last generation has a vast quantity of brands to choose from, a different perception of the cult value of owning small insider labels and a fanatical loyalty only to what’s hot on a daily basis.

Freed of all social and creative restrictions, denim is assuming any number of disguises and contexts to be worn in and has broken through almost any limitation on price. It can also be found in home collections, appearing in cushions, bed spreads and furniture-coverings.

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