• Clothing Defects and How to Choose Well

    The puckering of this collar indicates a poor quality and defective garment. Some defects can be repaired by our Professional Seamstress at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham Alabama, but some are so embedded in the garment, they are impossible to fix.

    Just because clothing carries a high price tag doesn’t mean it’s well made or even safe. Poorly made or unsafe clothing is flooding the market these days. Whether the defect is in manufacture, materials, or design, clothing contributes to a large number of injuries each year. Less severe defects can cause embarrassment, agitation, and money loss in replacements. Regardless of the severity, nothing good comes from defective clothing.

    The most common dangerous clothing defects are:

    • Clothing that easily catches fire and sticks to the skin causing burns
    • Children’s clothing that can lead to strangulation
    • Choking hazards on children’s clothing from poorly attached buttons or decorations
    • Poisoning hazards from clothing made of… yes Poisonous materials

    To attempt to keep people safe, the U.S. government founded the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC is responsible for protecting the public from risks of injury or death associated with the use of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.

    Despite the agency, thousands of products still get onto store shelves. Most are caught and recalled, but few are not.

    Other than dangerous defects, there are less serious defects that cause no injuries but do cause a problem. Sometimes a defect in the weave of fabric can cause a hole, or a loose button can fall off and be lost. Since price is not an indication of well-made clothing, here are a few tips.

    • Take a section of fabric and crush it in your hand. Let it go and check for wrinkles. If the wrinkles stay, the fabric isn’t the best quality. If the wrinkles fall out, it’s a good indication that the garment was made with strong durable fabric. When wrinkles stay, it may mean that harsher processes may be used in upkeep. Stiffer fibers also wear out faster than fibers with “give”.
    • Check any inside linings. Poor quality clothing can give itself away by having poorly constructed linings. Corners get cut and the lining, since it’s most unseen, is thrown together. Check that stitching is straight and uniform, that no stitches are missing and the lining looks in good shape. A good indication of well-constructed garments is the quality of construction in the parts you don’t normally see. Pride was taken in ensuring that ALL parts are made well.
    • Line up seams and patterns. If the pattern was matched up perfectly where two different pieces were sewn together, that means they took the time to do it right. It’s not a definitive sign of quality but is a good one.
    • Check the security of all buttons, trims, pockets, etc If on nice and tight with proper stitching, it’s a good indication of well-made clothing. Buttons should be in a straight row and well-made jeans will have reinforcement triangles sewn into the corners of the pockets.
    • Take a look at seams, stitching, and hems. Everything should be uniform and smooth. Ensure smoothness of stitches on lapels and collars. Any curling, broken stitching, or obviously sloppy stitching should be avoided.
    Infant Bodysuits Recalled Due to Choking Hazard; Made by Alstyle recall image
    Onesies recalled due to a button that easily came off.

    These onesies were recalled due to a button that easily came off. If swallowed, the button was the perfect size to completely close off a toddlers windpipe.

    Defective clothing may not clean properly. Even with the care label followed exactly, defects are tricky. Some defects may show immediately while others may take time. A shirt with a poorly sewn on the pocket, for example, may stand to be washed several times before the threads unravel enough to appear as a torn pocket. As a Professional Dry Cleaners, we see clothing defects from time to time and often are charged with either fixing or replacing the defective garment. This is why it is important to us that our customers know how to pick out high-quality clothing.

    Dress shirts often have defects. They are mostly mass-produced and so have fewer quality controls. Here are some common dress shirt defects.

    These are two of the most common dress shirt defects we encounter.

    Poor dying methods lead to discoloration as shown on the left and the right shows how the inner fabric shrunk and left the outer fabric loose. When pressed, wrinkles appear. This image also shows a common defect. The corners of this collar were sealed with glue, a common way shirt makers cut corners. Proper stitching can secure corners, but glue melts and discolors fabric Under the heat of the shirt presses.

    Follow the above tips when purchasing new clothes and bring them to a Professional Dry Cleaners to ensure you get the very most out of your investment.