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Several finishes may be added to improve the fabric’s hand and appearance. These finishes will be quickly removed with normal wear and care. Some substances may temporarily alter the character of a fabric in such a way that poor quality is disguised.
SIZING or dressing, provides body, weight, and luster. Fabrics can be stiffened with glue, clay or wax. These finishes, that are not permanent, will be removed by laundering. Starch may restore the finish, but generally these fabrics are of poor quality and will wear out quickly.
SOFTENERS give a lighter, fluffier, softer hand to fabrics and can be re-applied during the laundering process.
WEIGHTING is a process most often applied to silk to restore the weight that is lost when the natural gum is removed. Metallic salts are absorbed, which allows heavier fabrics to be produced but weakens the fiber. Weighted silk water-spots easily. Cottons and wools can also be weighed.
Manufacturers have been increasingly conscious of the consumer demand for fabrics with improved and specialized characteristics. Finishes can counteract the inherent disadvantages of certain untreated fibers, and give them texture and aesthetic appeal as well as safety, durability, and adaptability to special purposes.
Keep in mind the fact that “permanent,” as used in the textile industry, is only a relative term. So-called “permanent” finishes would more accurately be called durable, since they are only designed to withstand normal wear, and must be treated and laundered as the Manufacturer recommends. Here is a list of terms that you will find on hangtags, bolt ends, and labels.
ANTI-BACTERIAL -- Finish that checks growth or effect of bacteria and perspiration.
ANTI-STATIC or CLING FREE -- A finish to help dissipate static electricity and thus reduce clinging.
COLORFAST -- Color in fabrics so labeled will not fade with normal use if laundered as recommended.
FLAME-RESISTANT -- Fabrics that have been treated to prevent the spread of flame once its source has been removed.
MERCERIZED -- A term for cotton and linen fabrics that have been immersed under tension in a solution of caustic soda to swell the fibers for increased strength, luster, and affinity for dyes.
MILDEW-RESISTANT -- Fabrics that have been treated to resist the growth of mildew and other molds.
MOTH REPELLANT -- Fabrics that have been treated to repel moths.
PERMANENT PRESS or DURABLE PRESS -- Indicates fabric will wash and dry by machine, shed wrinkles, and retain shape without ironing.
PRESHRUNK -- Fabrics that have undergone a preliminary shrinking process. Residual shrinkage, or the percentage of possible shrinkage remaining in a fabric, must be declared.
SANFORIZED® -- Ensures that fabric will not shrink more than one percent despite repeated washing. It is applied to mostly cotton and blends.
SHRINKAGE CONTROLLED -- Fabrics that have undergone compressive shrinkage in manufacturing; increases durability by compacting the weave.
SOIL RELEASE -- Treatment that makes possible the removal of stains from fabrics faster. Color brightness and soil release properties are maintained after laundering.
STAIN- AND SPOT-RESISTANT -- Fabric finished to repel water- and oil-based stains, WASH-AND-WEAR: Fabrics that can be washed and re-worn with little or no ironing. This property may be produced by heat-setting or resin treatment and varies in permanence. Also termed easy care and minimum care.
WICKING -- Fabrics that are treated with a finish that lets body moisture absorb through to the outside of the fabric, keeping moisture away from the body.
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This page was last modified on: Wednesday, 2020-03-04 8:48 PST