Decoding the Fashion label

Last time I blogged about the ILGWU…this is a good indicator of finding a vintage clothing item because the ILGWU merged into the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union in 1995. Another indicator for discovering vintage clothing in Canada is looking for labels without French and English titling on them.

Canada is a bilingual nation. The need for French labeling was important so the many habitants in the nation who spoke French and used French as their first language could read the labels of clothing, food, ect. The official language Act was passed on 1974 and The Charter of the French language was passed in 1977.

The purpose of this language law was to re-affirm the desire of the great majority of Quebecois to make French the common language of work, instruction, communications, commerce and business. The Charter of the French Language established a series of rights and obligations, namely the right for consumers to be informed in French and the obligation for the retail industry to offer products and related literature in French on the Québec market. This results in:

Retailers’ responsibility to make sure that inscriptions on products and on their packaging and the documents that accompany them, are in compliance with the law;

Manufacturers’ and distributors’ responsibility to deliver to the retailers’ products and documents, which effectively comply with the law.

The labels:

Included in the information found on clothing labels are Company Name, Content, Care instructions, Registered identification numbers, manufacturing Country and size.

Where the garment has been manufactured, must be stated not where it was designed. It is common that the clothing company that designed the garment is not located in the same country where it is manufactured. So if the design house is in New York, but the garment was made in Vietnam, the label would state: “Made in Vietnam”.

These days symbols are used for the care instructions. What do they mean?

Symbol Description
Washing symbol: Wash in commercial machine in water not exceeding 95°C, at normal setting Wash in commercial machine in water not exceeding 95°C, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in commercial machine in water not exceeding 95°C, at permanent press setting Wash in commercial machine in water not exceeding 95°C, at permanent press setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 70°C, at normal setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 70°C, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 60°C, at normal setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 60°C, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 60°C, at permanent press setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 60°C, at permanent press setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 50°C, at normal setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 50°C, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 50°C, at permanent press setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 50°C, at permanent press setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 50°C, at delicate/gentle setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 50°C, at delicate/gentle setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 40°C, at normal setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 40°C, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 40°C, at permanent press setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 40°C, at permanent press setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 40°C, at delicate/gentle setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 40°C, at delicate/gentle setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 30°C, at normal setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 30°C, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 30°C, at permanent press setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 30°C, at permanent press setting.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 30°C, at delicate/gentle setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine in water not exceeding 30°C, at delicate/gentle setting.
Washing symbol: Wash gently by hand in water not exceeding 40°C Wash gently by hand in water not exceeding 40°C.
Washing symbol: Wash gently by hand in water not exceeding 30°C Wash gently by hand in water not exceeding 30°C.
Washing symbol: Wash in domestic or commercial machine at any temperature, at normal setting Wash in domestic or commercial machine at any temperature, at normal setting.
Washing symbol: Do not wash Do not wash.
Use of Dots For Defining Temperature of Water for Washing Symbol
Symbol Definition Description
6 dot symbol 95°C Near boil
5 dot symbol 70°C Extremely hot
4 dot symbol 60°C Very hot
3 dot symbol 50°C Hot
2 dot symbol 40°C Warm
1 dot symbol 30°C Cool
Bleaching Symbols
Symbol Description
Bleaching symbol: Use any bleach when needed Use any bleach when needed.
Bleaching symbol: Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed.
Bleaching symbol: Do not bleach Do not bleach.
Drying Symbols
Symbol Description
Drying symbol: Tumble dry at high heat (not exceeding 75°C) at normal setting Tumble dry at high heat (not exceeding 75°C) at normal setting.
Drying symbol: Tumble dry at medium heat (not exceeding 65°C) at normal setting Tumble dry at medium heat (not exceeding 65°C) at normal setting.
Drying symbol: Tumble dry at medium heat (not exceeding 65°C) at permanent press setting Tumble dry at medium heat (not exceeding 65°C) at permanent press setting.
Drying symbol: Tumble dry at low heat (not exceeding 55°C) at permanent press setting Tumble dry at low heat (not exceeding 55°C) at permanent press setting.
Drying symbol: Tumble dry at a low heat (not exceeding 55°C) at delicate cycle Tumble dry at a low heat (not exceeding 55°C) at delicate cycle.
Drying symbol: Tumble dry any heat Tumble dry any heat.
Drying symbol: Tumble dry no heat/air dry Tumble dry no heat/air dry.
Drying symbol: Do not tumble dry Do not tumble dry.
Drying symbol: After extraction of excess water, line dry/hang to dry After extraction of excess water, line dry/hang to dry.
Drying symbol: Hang up the soaking wet article to "drip" dry Hang up the soaking wet article to “drip” dry.
Drying symbol: After extraction of excess water, dry the article on a suitable flat surface After extraction of excess water, dry the article on a suitable flat surface.
Drying symbol: Dry in the shade Dry in the shade (symbol added to line dry, drip dry, or dry flat).
Drying symbol: Do not dry Do not dry. To be used with “Do not wash” symbol .
Symbol Description
Ironing/pressing symbol: Iron with or without steam by hand, or press on commercial equipment, at a high temperature (not exceeding 200°C) Iron with or without steam by hand, or press on commercial equipment, at a high temperature (not exceeding 200°C). Recommended temperature for cotton and linen textiles.
Ironing/pressing symbol: Iron with or without steam by hand, or press on commercial equipment, at a medium temperature (not exceeding 150°C) Iron with or without steam by hand, or press on commercial equipment, at a medium temperature (not exceeding 150°C). Recommended temperature for polyester, rayon, silk, triacetate and wool textiles.
Ironing/pressing symbol: Iron with or without steam by hand, or press on commercial equipment, at a low temperature (not exceeding 110°C) Iron with or without steam by hand, or press on commercial equipment, at a low temperature (not exceeding 110°C). Recommended temperature for acetate, acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, polypropylene and spandex textiles.
Ironing/pressing symbol: Do not steam Do not steam.
Ironing/pressing symbol: Do not iron or press Do not iron or press.

As of 1997, manufacturers could use either words, symbols or a combination of both.

For word labels, the instructions will usually be listed in English and another common language such as French or Spanish. Brands that have far international reach, or wish to market themselves as such, may have five or six languages on their labels.
What is the RN #?
A registered identification number or RN is a number issued by the Federal Trade Commission, upon request, to a business residing in the U.S. that is engaged in the manufacture, importing, distribution, or sale of textile, wool, or fur products. Such businesses are not required to have RNs. They may, however, use the RN in place of a name on the label or tag that is required to be affixed to these products.
The RN#, can be helpful in determining the age of a garment. You can also identify the maker or importer of the garment. RN#s may be printed on the care label, or on the maker name label.  CAUTION:  The RN# issue date does not give the manufacture date of the garment.

 

WPL numbers were issued from 1941 through 1959 under the Wool Products Labeling Act. WPL numbers begin at 00101 and end at 13669. All numbers issued subsequently are RN numbers.

RN numbers were issued under the Fur Products Labeling Act from 1952 through 1959. These numbers start at 00101 and continue to 04086. Beginning in 1959, all numbers issued are RN under the combined act and commence with 13670. The final number contained in this edition is 112208. Complete rules and regulations under the Wool Act,Fur Act, and the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act can be obtained by writing to Textile Section, Division of Enforcement, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue. NW,Washington, D.C. 20580.
Once you find the RN #, you can look it up on the RN database. The database started August 6, 1998, and that is the default issue date given to all existing RN #s at that time. If you look up the RN # and see an issue date of August 6, 1998, the number was actually issued earlier. Expired numbers were not entered into the database. This is a link to the database:

https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/TextileRN/wrnquery$.startup (I have tried to log in here and page failed to load…VN)

You can enter the RN #, or WPL #, and a search will bring up the company that has that number. This is very helpful if you have the RN # and no maker tag. If the company is in the database, you can find out who made or imported the garment. Some older numbers may not appear in the database if they were not current when the database was created.

If you have a maker tag, and you are trying to determine how old the garment is, but you don’t have the RN #, you can enter the company name into the database, and, if the company has a number, it will come up with the company name and address.

How to Estimate the RN # Issue Date
Since the database doesn’t have the actual issue dates for the numbers before August 6, 1998, how do we determine approximately when the number was issued?

A formula was worked out on the Vintage Clothing & Accessories Board by nouveauarts and me. This works only for the numbers issued since 1959. It was determined that an average of 2635 numbers have been issued per year. The earliest number in the series beginning in 1959 is 13670. The formula is:

Your RN #
-13670 (first RN # in series)
Total #s between the original and yours/2635(average #s issued per year) = # of years since issue date
1959 + # of years since issue date = estimated year of issue

What Does the Estimated Year of Issue Tell You?
This is NOT the date the garment was made.  It is the earliest date the garment could have been made. It is not the date the garment was made because companies may keep the same RN # as long as they are in business. It is helpful if you have something you think may have been made in either the 1960s or the 1980s. If the RN # was issued in the 80s, you can rule out the earlier dates. If it was issued in the 60s, you will need to use other means to determine a date for the garment.

NOTE: If something has an RN # of 13670 or higher, it cannot be older than 1959.

CA #s
The equivalent registration number in Canada is a CA #, and may be researched on the Canadian government site. CA Identification Number Search:

http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/app/cb/cnmbr/srchFrm.do;jsessionid=00015mL-_10V8S0ydjauWDe1R82:N08BLK1QO?lang=eng


Resources:

http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/english/infoguides/selling/selling.html

http://www.ehow.co.uk/list_6082830_laws-clothing-label-requirements.html

http://reviews.ebay.com/Clothing-Labels-RN-and-WPL-and-CA_W0QQugidZ10000000003229985

http://www.textileaffairs.com/lguide.htm

Next Time: I have started loading clothing into my store Shuushuu by LuLu and I will have some photos of models wearing the vintage clothing.

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Taking care of your Vintage Treasures- Silk


Well, There are times when I just want to throw out a silk scarf with a stain on it or give it away. The task of cleaning it seems time-consuming. But it really doesn’t take that long and it saves me money. Time and money saving are important to all of us. When I go on a treasure hunt, I have found some really wonderful ties; silk ties but they may have a stain on them. And it’s usually right where food landed while eating! So in this Sunday’s segment of Vintage North’s Blog, I will cover taking care of your silk, mostly ties and scarves. Because unless you know fabrics and their idiosyncrasies it may be better just to send the larger items such as Dresses, Suits and Shirts to the dry cleaner. Knowing how to take care of silk is part of being a conscientious caretaker and owner of fine garments. This will give the clothing longevity and a higher re-sale value when wanting to part with something, since the Condition of a vintage item plays a very important role to a collector.

First of all there are many different kinds of silk. For instance, there is Douppioni, Chiffon, Crepe de Chine, Jacquard, Shantung, Noil, Ect. They have different textures; variations in fineness, variations in thread count, which means the weave is loose or very tight. Silk threads many be satin looking and feel very soft. They have different qualities from fine to coarse to translucent.

Segment 1: Taking care of Silk Neckties and Scarves

Simple cleaning: Needed Woolite or Baby shampoo, Vinegar, Dry Towels, Drying Rack, Multi-Setting Iron, Color-fast Gauze, Zip Lock Bags

  • Fill your sink or bathtub with cool water and mild laundry detergent, such as Woolite or even try a baby shampoo in lukewarm water. Let your silk item soak for a few minutes. Do not rub or scrub the fabric.
  • Rinse the silk tie/scarf with 1/4 cup of vinegar diluted in 1 gallon of water. This will help to restore the shine of the silk. Rinse with plain water until vinegar odor is gone and detergent is completely rinsed out.
  • Place silk item between two clean dry towels and press down gently to remove excess water. You can use the floor if you do not have counter space. Do not wring out silk. Hang silk item on a padded hanger or drape over a mesh drying rack. Do not use a wood rack because wood varnish may transfer to the wet silk and ruin your clothing item.
  • Iron your silk clothing using an iron on the lowest setting, I like to use a cotton gauze or light cotton color fast (so dye doesn’t transfer and ruin silk fabric) piece of cloth between the iron and the silk clothing. Slubbed fabrics and crepes and most wild Silks should be pressed when dry and others when slightly (and evenly) damp. Finish off lightly on the right side. When pressing Silk with a rib or slub, use a pressing cloth, otherwise the Silk may become fluffy. Do not press with steam or re-damp the Silk locally, as water staining may occur. If the Silk water-stains, then dip the garment in warm water for 2-3 minutes, dry and re-iron.
  • Place items not used regularly in garment bags or in the case of a small item such as a scarf or tie, I used reseal-able zip lock bags, like the freezer bags or large sandwich bags.

Do and Don’t

  • Don’t wash Silk goods if the colours are not fast. .
  • Do Test Before washing for colourfastness. Wet a small piece of the fabric in cool water and then lay it on a piece of white material. Press it with a warm iron. If it leaves no colour or hardly any mark on the white fabric, then you can safely wash it.
  • Do keep silk out of strong sunlight
  • Don’t ever soak, boil, bleach or wring Silk or leave it crumpled in a towel.
  • Do not let Silk become too dirty before washing, as hard rubbing damages the fibers.
  • Do Wash items labeled “Washable Silk” such as silk underwear in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in a mesh bag. Hang dry on a padded hanger or on a mesh drying rack.
  • Do not wash or dry clean silk that has heavy beading on it. Many evening dresses fall into this category. Read the directions on the label. Most will tell you to spot clean with warm water and a mild soap mixture. Then, just air the dress out.
  • Never dry silk in the dryer. You will ruin the fabric.

Segment 2: Stain Removal- Repairing Small Snags and Holes

Removing stains: Treat stains immediately. Rub a little mild detergent on stain, let sit, then rinse in cool water. For lipstick stains, Use a denatured alcohol, dab with a soft white cloth, rub gently with a mild dishwashing detergent or the detergents listed above in Simple Cleaning, wash as indicated above.

Snags, Tears, And Holes: Gently tug the fabric on all sides of the snag. This will help make the loop smaller and will work it back into the silk. Flatten the loop against the fabric as you are tugging it to help move the loop into the fabric. This process will generally work very quickly if you just recently snagged the silk. Poke a snag repair needle or a fine sewing needle through the back of the fabric. Get as close to the snag as possible. And pull through to the back of the fabric to hide the snag.

Lightly rub the pinhole with your finger. Move with the grain of the fabric (either side to side or up and down) and gently move the fabric threads to cover the small pinhole. Place an iron as close to the fabric as possible without touching it. Press the steam button. Press your finger over the pinhole to set the fabric in place. Repeat three to five times. Spray the area with a small amount of water if the threads are not staying in place from the steam. Press the pinhole between two fingers until the water is dry. Repeat if neccessary.

Unfortunately, if there are large tag holes or tears these cannot be repaired and the fabric may ruined. Or you may use it for crafts!!!


Dry-Cleaning: Badly stained garments should be dry-cleaned. Do not try to remove stains with a stain remover at home; tell the dry-cleaner what caused them. Choose your dry-cleaner carefully. Make sure that he/she can clean Silk properly. Use a dry-cleaner, whom you have used for Silk or who has been recommended to you. Silk that should be dry-cleaned includes taffetas, chiffons, brocades, many multi-coloured prints, and dressing gown fabrics. Do not hand wash heavy brocade, taffeta, crepe or satin. It will shrink and never look as pressed and shiny again if you don’t dry-clean it. Some suits and formal dresses fall into this category

This article was produced with the help of:

http://www.silk.org.uk/silk_care.htm

http://www.ehow.com/how_5071950_care-silk-clothes.htm

Up Coming: Jan. 29th 2012: Marcel Boucher Jewelry