We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
There are two maintenance issues that can
negatively impact the look and life of a bespoke garment: poor
pressing and poor cleaning and pressing. And it's a service
available at over 26,000 cleaners in the USA.
Will Boehlke commented as follows:
"My own inadequate attempts at tailored clothing
maintenance have over time reduced themselves to the trouser press
and my Jiffy steamer. That is because I have received too many dry
cleaned suits that went away as a three roll top and returned as a
three roll two, or, just as often, the reverse."
Simon Crompton was even more blunt:
"A high-street dry cleaner will stick your suit in a large
drum, soak it with chemicals that spread the dirt around more than
they get rid of it, and then put it on a big industrial press which
will stamp it flat, ruining any curve in the shoulders, chest
canvas or lapels. The chemicals wear away the cloth, shortening its
life. The press forces a three-dimensional object to become
Ask Andy recently featured a discussion
thread on drycleaning titled "America Versus The Dry Cleaners" and
Style Forum echoed that critique with a
discussion thread on shirt laundry titled "Laundering Charvet
The negative press keeps growing in number and intensity.
I understand why many owners of bespoke garments are conflicted
when it comes to turning over their bespoke garments to an ordinary
On the one hand, they're familiar with the quality of
the materials that went into their garments. Cloth from
weavers and cloth merchants such as Barbera, Bill, Dormeuil,
Dugdale, Harrisons, Holland & Sherry, Lear Browne &
Dunsford (LB&D), Lesser, Loro Piana, Minnis, Scabal, Vitale
Barberis Canonico (VBC), Wain Shiell, Zegna and others. Bemberg and
silk linings that range from muted pastels to outrageous graphic
prints and florals. Distinctive buttons that are natural
horn, natural shell and metal, with or without identifying
engravings or logos.
And they understand the collaborative process
that went into the construction of their bespoke garments: taking
measurements that account for their physique and the idiosyncracies
of their posture; selecting the style details (two or three piece,
single or double breasted, style and width of lapels, number of
jacket buttons, jacket length, sleeve length, number of rear vents,
style and number of pockets, pleated or flat fronts, cuffs or no
cuffs, belt loops or no belt loops, suspender buttons or no
suspender buttons, etc.); drafting and cutting a paper pattern by
hand; cutting the cloth and lining by hand; creating (either
completely or substantially by hand) a basted garment that will be
ripped apart, recut and remade until the shape and drape are
perfect; attaching the sleeves, pockets, lapels and collar; and
hand stitching the buttonholes.
The entire process could involve 6 to 10 weeks of time, 60 to 80
hours of skilled labor, 40,000 to 60,000 hand stitches, and 5 to 10
visits to your tailor. It's time and labor intensive. So it's
On the other hand, owners of bespoke garments have
personal knowledge of the damage that can be
inflicted on their garments by ordinary cleaners. And they know
that these cleaners often say one thing and then do something
Given these facts, why would anyone entrust their bespoke
garments to a cleaner? Even if it's only for an occasional "sponge
and press" during the season? Or for a "clean and press" at the end
of the season or as needed?
The answer is that most don't. They're petrified. And when they
do, they approach the entire experience with the trepidation of a
teenager on his first date.
Unfortunately, not everyone is fortunate to live near their
tailor, particularly one who offers a lifetime sponge and press
service. And there's only so much that can be achieved with a
hand-held steamer or a hot iron, or by hanging garments in a steam
filled bathroom - problematic endeavors at best.
But there is an alternative available.
RAVE FabriCARE offers two services for bespoke garments:
During the course of a season, your bespoke garments may need
nothing more than an occasional sponge and press. At the end of the
season (or in the event of a major mishap), you may elect to both
clean and press your bespoke garments.
Here's the key point: we sponge and press bespoke garments and
clean and press bespoke garments ENTIRELY BY HAND.
There's no cleaning in fabric aggressive, dye stripping drycleaning
solvents such as perchloroethylene and synthetic petroleum. There's
no tumbling in a drycleaning machine or dryer. And there's no
pressing by machine.
tomorrow's blog, I'll address - in more detail - the steps
associated with each of these two processes.
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