As our clothes spend the majority of their life in the wardrobe, storage plays a really big part in how long they last – hanging clothes that should be folded will cause them to stretch out or have weak spots in the fabric, and folding clothes that should be hung can lead to a lot of creases – which might seem like not that big a deal, but in the long run it can be a serious contribution to the death of a garment before its time.
Caring for your clothes is something that seems to have fallen by the wayside in recent years in our fast-fashion society, and people aren’t learning how to make the most of what’s in their wardrobe. Of course, when you’ve spent hours making something, you’re going to really want to look after it, – but there’s not really enough information around teaching you how to do that. Enter me, Harriet. I’ve come up (with your help, thanks to everyone who’s filled in my survey so far) with a massive list of posts to write on the topic of clothing care, trawling through the internet and libraries so that you don’t have to. I’m going to make sure that all of the information is as comprehensive as can be. Let’s get onto caring for your clothes! But first, here’s something to consider:
This post is organised by garment rather than by what should be hung and what should be folded, as there are always exceptions to the rule! I’ve tried my best to include all of the information that I think you’ll need, but if there are any questions that you’d like me to answer, feel free to leave a comment, send a message through contact form or on the Clothing Care Co Facebook page
- Linen – This bad boy is a priority. If linen is folded in the same place repeatedly, the crease will set and really weaken the fabric, to the point where the fabric will be susceptible to ripping where the fold has been made.
- Delicate materials that are prone to wrinkling / anything that’s super wrinkle-prone
- Anything with pleats to make sure that they’re held properly
- Knitwear, particularly chunky knits, is a folding priority – If jumpers are hung up, gravity will pull them down causing the shoulders to become weirdly distorted
- Slinky, stretchy materials should be folded to keep them from stretching out (which would probably cause them to look less slinky)
- ALL knitwear and knitted fabrics such as jersey – Jersey dresses can be hung if you don’t have the space to fold them, but should be hung by the loops – there’ll be a blog post on how to put these into your garments soon
- Gently give garments a little shimmy and a shake before folding them up to minimise wrinkles and help them to lay flat.
- Generally easier to store if they’re hung up – usually made of fabrics that crease easily, but won’t be damaged by folding.
- Make sure to keep the top button done up on button-down blouses or shirts, to prevent the collar from going all skewiff.
- Don’t insert the hanger from the top of blouses, because this could pull or stretch on the fabric and distort the shape of the garment. Insert the hanger from the bottom instead
JACKETS/ OVERCOATS/ BLAZERS
- Preferably hung – just because they’d take up so much space folded up!
- Should be hung in a space with enough clearance underneath – if the garment is resting on something, it could cause a crease to set in which would be very annoying and pretty tricky to get out
- Blazers and casual jackets can be hung on a regular grip hanger, as long as the garment isn’t too heavy for it, causing it to bend at all.
- Heavy coats will do best on a curved suit hanger which can handle their weight and therefore keep their shape
DRESS SKIRTS ( see what counts as a dress skirt below)
- Should be hung up, especially pleated skirts and skirts made of fabrics that crease easily.
- Pleated skirts, silk skirts, suede skirts and leather skirts
- Should be hung at the waist with clipped hangers
CASUAL SKIRTS (see what counts as a casual skirt below)
- Denim, thick knit skirts
- Denim skirts can be hung or folded – it’s up to you
- Thick knit skirts – would probably do better folded, but they can be hung depending on how thick the knit is – use your best judgement for this!
- Can be hung up or folded. If you’re hanging them, this is the best way:
- Hang these vertically either by the waist or hem using clip hangers, or fold them in half and drape them over a hanger with a bar
DRESSES AND JUMPSUITS
- Should be hung up
- Always hang dresses and jumpsuit from the shoulders on a hanger, unless heavily embellished
- If something’s heavily embellished, pop down to the last category in this post to see how to store it
- Slinky silk fabrics should be hung on a padded hanger to stop them slipping off
- Anything made of a delicate fabric should be kept on a padded hanger, as plastic ones could snag them
- Lightweight gowns should be hung up by loops (if they have them – if not, I’m going to be doing a post soon on how to add these into your makes)
- Should be folded – hanging any kind of jumper will cause it to become misshapen. Even with slimline hangers, wool, cashmere and angora will stretch when hung, so it’s definitely always best to fold them
- Sweaters can be folded without causing creases or wrinkles
- If you really don’t have the space to fold them (and folding them really is the best – this method will still stretch them out, just in a less noticeable way), then you can fold the jumper in half and drape it over a bar hanger
- Can get stretched out when hung so best to fold them, plus they don’t take up too much space if they’re stacked or rolled in a drawer
CASUAL BOTTOMS (see what counts as a casual bottom below)
- Can be folded or hung up
- Jeans, cords, leather, cargos
- These are thick and durable enough that folding won’t cause them to wrinkle
- Have a bit of stretch so will do better if folded, but usually the stretch is only a small amount, so they could be hung on a trousers hanger without being too affected.
- Denim will not crease when folded
ANYTHING WITH HEAVY EMBELLISHMENT
- Will definitely need to be folded, as the heaviness of embellishments will pull the garment and distort the shape, pulling the weight to certain spots when hung and therefore sagging and distorting the shape of the item, which can sometimes unravel the beading.
- Fold the item as few times as possible
- Loosely folding the garment keeps its shape better than hanging it if it has heavy embellishments
- If it’s something really super special, using tissue paper when you’re folding it, and then storing it in a box will keep it in the best condition possible. Using tissue paper will prevent folds from setting in, as well as giving the garment an extra layer of protection and keep the folded fabric from touching anything or getting dusty.