How to drop dry-cleaning chemicals

Hi Sten Martin! Let’s just cut to the point. I heard you’re an expert in ruining expensive suits…!

If you refer to me doing my laundry at home – yes I do. I wash my suits in my washing machine and let them drip-dry afterwards. Never was a big fan of the dry-cleaner’s anyway. But ruin them? No. Absolutely not.

But we all know that suits can’t be washed, right? They immediately get ruined!

Well, that’s your point of view. Mine is quite different. And none of my suits have been ruined yet. Not by laundering, anyway.

How so?

It’s no secret that since I started my “Project 100” exactly 500 days ago, I don’t use much of my wardrobe capacity anymore. I only use the clothes I’ve made myself, and therefore use them quite heavily. That’s why it is important for me to be able to wash all of my clothes rather quickly and often, and that’s why they finally get torn – simply by wear and tear.

So all your jackets are ruined now…?

Actually no. None of them. A pair of my jeans got ripped. And a shirt…

Let’s say I would be persuaded into machine-wash my suits at home, should I do it with my cheaper ones only?

I would say the opposite – do it with the expensive ones! They are probably made in a better quality. But then again, who knows nowadays? Everything seems to be poorer and poorer made… I would try my least used suit first – to perfect my technique – then work my way through the whole wardrobe. The feeling of freshness afterwards, is quite pleasant.

Is there something I should avoid?

I would probably avoid silk satin lapels. If they are by poor and thin quality the crisp look they probably had, can be quite hard to reproduce. Would need some heavy pressing.

And what should I remember?

Four things: 1.The washing-program used should be programmed for wool – i.e. max. 86-90°F (about 30°C) with a lot of water in the container and very little movement. 2. Only use detergent especially made for wool and silk. 3. Do not exceed on spin-drying – max. 1.000 spins pr. min., but probably less. 4. Blow-dry up through the sleeves to shape the sleeves and dry the shoulder pads. Also blow-dry your pockets, if you like a quick result. Just use an ordinary hair-dryer.

Is there a tutorial?

I can make one for you. I like the idea of less people using heavy chemicals.

Thanks! But isn’t there chemicals in ordinary detergent?

Maybe some, but I think it’s mostly protein-based enzymes, and I use colour- and perfume-free wool detergent. And a small amount of it.

Any last words?

That the hair-dryer can be used as an iron while the jacket’s still damp on hanger. It’s quite effective! Use it somewhat tilted against the fabric, while holding the fabric taught with your other hand. Don’t burn your fingers though.

Ok. Thank you for taking your time!

My pleasure.


Interview with bespoke tailor Sten Martin Jonsson, 27.09.2011

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