Q: Can jewelry damage garments during wear?
A: Undoubtedly, the answer is yes. Buttons, baubles, and timepieces can damage beautiful smooth satins, plush chenilles, or soft wools. The damage can usually be found along necklines or sleeve cuffs where a necklace or watch was worn. These accessories frequently have rough edges that rub and abrade the fabric. Damage may not become apparent until the item is cleaned.
Smooth satins are very susceptible to this type of abrasion. Many yarns float on the surface of the fabric, and the jewelry constantly rubs a local area. This weakens the yarn fibers, allowing them to shift or break during cleaning, resulting in a fuzzy or pilled and snagged surface.
Items made with soft, plush chenille yarn are easily snagged by jewelry or contact with any rough surface, including purse straps, bracelets, backpacks, and desks or chair arms. The chenille yarns snag and pull out from the weave. In very severe cases the short, fuzzy pile fibers fall out of the yarn, and only a sheer net of the base yarns remain.
Loosely-woven wool made from soft, low-twist yarns may show pilling along lower, front panels that may rub against a rough counter top. Pilling may also occur along the edge of the sleeve hem that has been abraded by a watchband.
Q: What causes button dye stains?
A: Button dye stains are caused when the dyes on a colored button bleed during cleaning or finishing, creating discolorations or stains on the adjacent fabric. Some dyes used on buttons are soluble in drycleaning solvents, due to being improperly set by the manufacturer. During cleaning, the dyes soften and stain the surrounding areas. In other cases, the dyes on the buttons hold up to drycleaning but bleed upon contact with moisture such as is found in steam finishing. Again, the fabric adjacent to the buttons becomes discolored or stained.