Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Inaccurately labeled fabrics

I had two projects to do for my textiles class this semester. The first project was about labeling laws. I got an A, and I learned a lot about labeling, but I would not say that I had a lot of fun writing about labels. The second project was a lot more enjoyable, but as I applied what I learned from the first project to the second one I became quite angry. Everyone in class was assigned four fabrics for the second project. I got plissé, serge, georgette, and bengaline. I knew nothing about my four fabrics, so I had a lot of work to do.

I had to provide a detailed description and a photo of each fabric. I also needed ads for a products made with each fabric. Fabric swatches were not required, but I thought it would be nice to add them. I could only find plissé and georgette, but that was two more than most people in class included in their projects, so I thought it would be good. It wasn’t.

I had no problems with the photos and descriptions or with ads for serge, georgette, and bengaline products. Most of the “plissé” items I found online did not actually contain plissé. Plissé is made by treating cotton with caustic soda. Most of the “plissé” items I found were actually seersucker or embossed fabric.

My two swatches were from Hancock Fabrics. The fabric sold as plissé was actually embossed. Georgette is a lightweight sheer balanced plain weave with filament crepe yarns. My swatch is a lightweight sheer balanced plain weave with low twist filament yarns. I did not lose any points, but it was still damn embarrassing.

My mistake was thinking that fabrics would be labeled correctly. The labels I wrote about for my first project listed fiber content and care requirements. The FTC has extensive regulations for content and care labels, but there seems to be nothing regulating fabric names. The only thing preventing you from calling seersucker plissé is the potential negative reaction of your customers, and I do not think there are too many people who know the difference.

1 comment:

  1. Yesterday in Wal-Mart’s fabric section I found a twill weave fabric labeled as satin. It was made with find filament yarns, and it had a smooth, silky hand and lustrous appearance. It was a nice fabric. If I wanted to use a fabric with a satin-like appearance I would have no problem using it, but I would not call it satin and I am upset that it was so labeled. Satin is made with a satin weave. A twill weave fabric may look like satin, but it is not satin.