We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
yesterday's post, I discussed why you'd want a specialist to
care for your bespoke garments.
Specifically, I mentioned that RAVE FabriCARE offers two
services for bespoke garments:
Here are the process steps associated with each of these two
And here's a brief summary of each of these process steps:
Examining the garment
Every bespoke garment is carefully examined and photographed,
paying particular attention to the
Removing the dust and soil
Many bespoke garments have accumulated some dust and soil. Even
if they've been gently brushed after each wearing. This step is
designed to remove that dust and soil.
At RAVE FabriCARE, we lightly vacuum each bespoke garment with a
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter vacuum equipped with
a variable speed adaptor set on the lowest setting.
This vacuum is the very same model favored by museum
textile curators to remove dust and soil from garments and textiles
in their collection that cannot be drycleaned or wetcleaned due to
their construction, age, condition or fragility.
Removing the water-based stains
90% of all visible stains a drycleaner encounters are
water-based stains: perspiration, soda, juice, wine, beer, etc.
To remove water-based stains, we gently "flush" the affected
area with a light jet of steam and immediately dry the area with a
light jet of compressed air.
Even if you were to take your regular "dryclean only" garments
to a cleaner, all water-based stains need to be removed in this
manner. Before they ever see the inside of that cleaner's
Why? Because drycleaning solvents and fluids only emulsify
oil-based stains. They don't remove water-based stains. Fact is,
you can dryclean a garment with water-based stains as many times as
you wish. More often than not, the stain won't "move" with
drycleaning alone. Unless, of course, the drycleaner injects
moisture into their drycleaning solvent, a common practice amongst
ordinary cleaners. And, in my opinion, an absolutely reckless
undertaking, approaching drycleaning malpractice. Why reckless?
Because excessive moisture shrinks wools and bleeds water soluble
Removing the oil-based stains
Oil-based stains - such as butter, salad dressing, steak sauce,
body oils, creams and lotions - need to be emulsified by a
drycleaning solvent or fluid in order to be removed. One of the
most important functions of drycleaning fluid is to emulsify oils
An ordinary cleaner will typically load your garments into a
drycleaning machine, add a drycleaning solvent or fluid (such as
perchloroethylene aka perc, synthetic petroleum or siloxane), add
moisture, fragrance and sizing, tumble the garments for 10 to 20
minutes, extract and dry.
That's "drycleaning" at it's most basic.
At RAVE FabriCARE, your bespoke garments never see the
inside of our drycleaning machines. We hand-clean all oil based
stains using siloxane, our fabric gentle, non-dye stripping
Why siloxane? Because siloxane is. So gentle it's been used for
decades as a base product in shampoos, antiperspirants, deodorants
and moisturizing creams. This means you probably drip siloxane into
your eyes every time you shampoo your hair and you spray or roll it
onto the most sensitive parts of your skin every time you apply an
antiperspirant or deodorant. You even digest siloxane when you eat
McDonalds french fries (but that's a story for another day).
Hand pressing the garment
Ordinary cleaners love their presses.
Why? Because pressing is where cleaners can achieve the greatest
productivity. At ordinary cleaners, your garments are banged out on
a press at a furious rate. Typically, 30 to 40 pants per hour per
presser; 20 to 30 non-pant garments per hour per presser.
Here's the problem: poor pressing can damage a garment by
subjecting that garment to way too much pressure, with way too much
steam, for way too long, at way too high a temperature. Especially
when it comes to fine wools, silks and other non-cotton and
And the results? Shine; seam, flap and button impressions;
moire-like press pad impressions; double creases; puckered seams
(often called burst or blown seams), wrinkled linings; and other
"crimes of fashion".
At RAVE FabriCARE, we delicately finish all your bespoke
garments. The old fashioned way. By hand. Using a hand iron. Both
inside and out. No matter how long it might take. Paying particular
attention to the curvature of the shoulders, chest, sleeves and
collar, and to the roll of the lapels.
Pressing, as practiced by ordinary cleaners, is such a poor
descriptor of the art of finishing. Of course, a skilled finisher
must know how to apply pressure to achieve a smooth finish on a
linen or cotton. But a smooth, soft, hand-finish, that minimizes
the possibility of shine, seam, flap or button impressions, and
puckered seams, best defines the finest professional finishing.
If you're looking for validation of this point of view, just
broach the subject of "pressing" with any custom tailor and watch
their blood pressure rise.
Inspecting the garment
Ever get the feeling that your cleaner doesn't inspect your
I've got news for you. You're probably right. Very few cleaners
thoroughly inspect every garment. Inside and out.
You see, careful, thorough inspection takes a full-time
commitment. And, if the cleaner has any quality standards, an
uncompromising position on every aspect of the process. Including
stain removal, cleaning, finishing and repairs (buttons, clasps,
seams, hems, zippers, etc.).
The problem is that many ordinary cleaners claim that
they inspect each and every garment. They even use the term "hand
inspect", implying that their inspections are careful and thorough.
Yet, these same cleaners typically assign the inspection task to
the first available customer service representative with some free
time on their hands.
A bigger problem is that the "inspector" is very often also the
garment bagger. Whose primary focus is on getting your garments
into a bag and onto the conveyor or into the delivery truck, and
who simply doesn't have the time to carefully and thoroughly
inspect each and every garment. From top to bottom. From inside to
Packaging the garment
Quality craftsmanship can be quickly destroyed by poor
You can take it as a given that if your cleaner isn't focusing
on quality packaging, they're not focusing on quality cleaning,
quality finishing and quality inspecting either. After all, why
would they invest in extraordinary cleaning, finishing and
inspecting if they knew that all that investment will be quickly
destroyed by poor packaging?
And what should you look for? Packaging materials that's
technically aligned with and supportive of your fine garments:
Coat, sport coat, jacket and blazer hangers
Hangers that are molded plastic, contoured (supports the overall
drape of the coat, sport coat, jacket or blazer and the contour of
the neck), and broad in the shoulders (supports the drape of the
shoulder and the sleeve).
Hangers that are molded plastic, straight, with one inch wide
rubber backed plastic clips (half inch metal clips leave lasting
Tissue that is white, soft (provides gentler cushioning), acid
free (won't yellow your white and cream garments), and non-printed
(no possibility of the ink rubbing off or bleeding onto your
Poly that is crystal clear, at least 0.85 mil thick (improved
protection for the garment) and extra wide (no possibility of
crushing the sides of your garment).
Coat, sport coat, jacket, blazer, dress and gown storage
Storage bags that are made from non-woven fibers (allows the
garment to breathe) and chemically inert plastic (your garment
won't yellow from off-gassing acids in the plastic).
How can I help you?
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