Summer School: Sanforized

If you’ve ever wandered into a vintage shop, chances are you’ve seen a garment with the word “sanforized” proudly stitched into the label. First trademarked in the USA in the 1930s, sanforization is actually a way to treat fabric so that it doesn’t shrink, even after repeated laundering. I always equate the word with vintage apparel, yet the Sanforized company is still around today.

The process itself is rather fascinating. Fabric is fed through a special machine that dampens the cloth, then a cylinder presses a rubber band around another heated cylinder, which shrinks the the band. The treated cloth is sandwiched between the rubber band and the cylinder, which allows the fabric to expand and contract. The result? Fabric that doesn’t shrink during the manufacturing process. Textile mills can use the Sanforized trademark only if they comply to strict testing requirements. If a garment is comprised primarily of Sanforized material than it may be labeled as such. 

If you’d like to learn more, there’s a wealth of knowledge on the Sanforized website.

Original 1963 Sanforized ad

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