The Fine Art Of Efficient Pressing And Finishing – Part II

European Tensioning And Finishing

European finishing consists of an up air/vacuum board, a tensioning multiform and a tensioning pant topper. The garments are placed on the respective device for finishing. The tensioning units will thoroughly remove wrinkles and even creases from garments leaving them 95% finished. The topper and multiform accomplish much of the finishing by forcing steam and hot air through the fabric rather than just blowing steam at the fabric. The removal of any remaining wrinkles can be done on an up air/vacuum board by placing the garment on the table and reversing the vacuum in order to fill the area of the garment with heated air. The hand iron is then gently brushed across the fabric while steaming and the air immediately dries the garment. The parts of the garment that need creasing is done with a strong vacuum, which is built into the board. Pleats and creases can easily be put in trouser legs while pleated skirts are much easier to get right than on a conventional press with each pleat hand pinned then pressed in. That is about as difficult as it gets. The European style equipment takes up less floor space, is cooler to operate, is easier on the operator, uses reduced utilities and takes about one hour to train a new operator. By only pressing creases into a pair of trousers the side seam wrinkles can be eliminated as they are removed during topping and only the creases are ironed in. To put in perfect and sharp creases takes one slide of the iron up the crease with steam and then one slide down the same crease without steam to thoroughly dry the crease. Repeat with the other leg and the trousers are perfectly pressed with no seam impressions. This method can produce more pieces per hour than a conventional topper and legger, with much better results.

Finishing With Tensioning Equipment

The tensioning multiform may be used to properly precondition a jacket by forming the collar, finishing the lining, pressing the bottom of the sleeves and the cuff lining so it doesn’t feel “blousy” when wearing. There may be need for removing the old folds that form due to previous pressing. The lapels may also need to be steamed and re-ironed to make the entire lapel smooth with no wrinkles at the outside edges. Virtually any top, half garment can be placed on the multiform. Instead of using a conventional sleever, which allows all steam to escape from the bottom, front and sleeves of a garment. There are sleeve forms available that look like small, plastic bowling pins that have been cut from top to bottom. These keep the steam inside the garment being prefinished therefore forcing steam through the fabric to remove wrinkles especially in the elbow area. The bottom of the multiform makes a fairly tight seal to keep the steam inside the rest of the jacket, shirt, blouse or dress and forcing it through the fabric.

To finish a tie without distorting it is very simple by first putting the tie, upside down on the ironing surface of the up air/vacuum board with no vacuum and waving the iron above the tie to relax the fibers. Next is to stop all steaming and simply press the vacuum pedal down while gently patting the tie with your hands.

For time consuming small blouses or shirts there is a tensioning unit that will finish them beautifully with very little touch-up. In the summer time they are very important to handle the number of small, regular or large shirts or blouses that come into the plant. They produce a like hand finished shirt or blouse effortlessly and in about two minutes from start to finish.

Little Things That Mean A Lot

The entire plant should be kept “Hospital Clean,” and not have fuzz balls three inches in diameter and hanging on everything. The floors should be immaculate and things should not spew, leak, drip or ooze.

Lighting should be twice to three times better than what I normally see. If your production people cannot see what they are working on, they cannot do it properly. Too frequently the lighting is horrible with too few fixtures that are placed too high above the operator’s head and in a position that creates shadows on the pressing surface. With plenty of fluorescent tubes that produce natural light and properly placed, the improvement in pressing and finishing will bee seen immediately.

Equipment should be maintained and adjusted periodically to promote easy operation. Press pads should be installed correctly and kept clean. They should be changed when they no longer provide adequate steam and vacuum rapidly. Airflow in the plant should help to make the employees comfortable and be adjusted so it does not blow garments around at the finishing stations and not directly being blown on the operator.

The most important thing in the entire operation is the production and sales staff you have on the payroll. Without them there would be no incoming orders or production… and worst of all…no customers, pressures or deadlines.