Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rant of the day: Uncomfortable labels in clothing

Is it just me, or did clothing manufacturers make an astronomical mistake when they decided to replace the cloth tags with those horrible silkscreen, heat-transfer type labels in the necklines of our garments?  This is a slight change of direction from my usual posts but it is just another facet of survival: Dealing with everyday annoyances, especially those of us who have a reduced tolerance for irritation.

I know, I know, I despised those scratchy cloth tags with the sharp edges as much as anyone else.   I would cut off the edges and try to make them soft in order to preserve the pertinent information recorded there but in the end, many of them had to be permanently removed, ultimately leaving me to wonder what size that garment originally was or who was the manufacturer, not to mention any washing or ironing instructions.

Well, apparently the clothing companies disliked having them removed, as much as we detested feeling them scratching us.  Their solution was to install a flat ink or silkscreen label, flush with the surface of the material, using some type of glue or heat transfer process.  This is all well and good until the piece goes through the washer and dryer a few times.  At that point it becomes something far worse than a stiff cloth tag ever thought of being.  Crispy, crunchy, dried-out and crumbling logos frequently render garments unbearably uncomfortable and removal at that point is almost impossible.

My poor husband had fairly new t-shirts and undies with those flat labels that became so uncomfortable he began wearing the clothing inside out.

My solution to the crumbling logo is to dry all those garments on the permanent-pressed temperature cycle of the dryer using the wrinkle-prevent feature.  Drying time is a little longer but that intense heat is avoided, reducing the risk of crispy labels and ultimately extending the life cycle of the clothing.

I love those Gloria Vanderbilt, Amanda Jeans.  The manufacturers started gluing flat cloth tags to the inside of the waist-band a while back.  In the beginning the tags were fairly easily pulled off before washing and I would do just that as soon as I brought a new pair home from the store and most other people must have been doing the same thing.  Then the company became wise to the practice and began using some kind of indestructible glue found only on other planets and the tags suddenly became fused to the material at a molecular level making them impossible to remove.

My solution is to use the Dremel tool that I normally use to shape acrylic overlay for fingernails and effectively “sand” the label off before the first washing.  Care must be taken to avoid sanding a layer of the waistband material along with the label.

Please comment with your experiences and solutions to similar everyday dilemmas.