True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Caring for sweaters and knit garments: the role of blocking

White sweaterSweaters and knits constitute a significant portion of our clients' investment in their wardrobe.

There's alpaca, angora, camelhair, cashmere, escorial, marino, mohair, vicuna and other fine wools. From the likes of Ballantyne, Belinda Robinson, Escada, Gucci, Hermes, Jean Muir, John Laing, Loro Piana, Missoni, N. Peal, Pringle, Ralph Lauren, TSE and St. John Knits.

At a true quality cleaner, every sweater and knit garment will be carefully measured prior to cleaning. Cleaned in a fabric gentle, non-dye stripping, dermatologically-friendly, odorless dry cleaning fluid. Depilled and delinted. Blocked to your pre-cleaning measurements after cleaning. And packaged to help maintain their shape.

So what, exactly, does blocking mean?

Measuring sweaterBlocking involves:

  • Measuring all dimensions of a garment prior to cleaning.
  • Maintaining a record of all those dimensions.
  • Shaping the garment to those pre-cleaning measurements, using hands and steam.
  • Applying a vacuum to "dry" the steam and "lock" the shape into place.

If you asked your cleaner whether they measured all their sweaters and knit garments prior to cleaning, and then blocked those sweaters and knit garments to their pre-cleaning measurements, they'll probably say "Yes." Don't believe it.

So what do you do?Measurement ticket

Insist on proof of blocking!

At a true quality cleaner, every sweater and knit garment is carefully measured (up to 12 separate dimensions) prior to cleaning. These dimensions are noted on one of four custom printed blocking tags -- for sweaters/blouses, slacks/trousers, dresses and skirts.

The blocking tag accompanies your garment through the entire cleaning, finishing, inspection and packaging process. At the packaging stage, they hang the blocking tag on your garment hanger or place it in your breathable sweater bag.

Blocking tableWhile an ordinary cleaner may claim that they block their sweaters and knits, a true quality cleaner puts the proof of blocking right in your hands. Because claims without proof are just hallucinations.

From an equipment point of view, blocking involves the use of specialized sweater steam/vacuum tables. This way the entire garment can be laid perfectly flat and blocked to shape using steam and vacuum.

If you asked your cleaner whether they finish your sweaters on a specialized sweater steam/vacuum table, they'll probably say "Yes". Don't believe it.

So what do you do?

Ask to see it!

For example, in the metro Phoenix area - the fifth largest metropolitan area in the USA - only one cleaner, RAVE FabriCARE, has sweater tables.

How can I help you?

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