Caring for Knitwear with Danielle Sanders

Danielle's 10 Tips & Tricks when caring for knitwear.

We spoke to Danielle Sanders, designer of our exclusive Ella Sanders premium knitwear collection and a master in all thing’s knitwear.

Caring for your knitwear can be an overwhelming process, especially when knitwear is made from a variety of fibres ranging from wools,cashmeres, cottons, synthetics & stretch fibres.  

Danielle Sanders

1. Check care instructions

Washing your knitwear incorrectly can cause great problems, so it’s important to check the garment care instructions before you start. Never hand wash garment in warm or hot water as this can cause major shrinkage in most knitted garments regardless of fibre content. Pure woollen garments can felt if not washed in cool water also. Make sure your knitted garment is washed only in approved delicate wash detergent or wool wash detergent and wash gently – avoid hard scrubbing and rubbing and rinse with clean water before drying. If you are in doubt, you can always take to your trusted dry cleaner to keep your knits stay in tip top shape! Remember, if you take care of your knitwear, they will keep you warm and cosy through many seasons to come.

2. Wash less frequently

Washing your knitwear less frequently than you would other garments is best practice and luckily if the knit is made from a natural fibre such as wool or cashmere then the fibres are moisture wicking which reduces the absorption of sweat and soil.

3. Turn garments inside out in wash

Irrespective of which method you use for washing knitted garments, turning knitted garments inside out before washing is best practice to protect the outside of the garment and prolong its appearance and texture.

Danielle Sanders knits from the Ella Sanders CollectionDanielle Sanders knits from the Ella Sanders collection

4. Securely fasten trims

Before laundering any garments, including knitted items, it's essential to ensure that all buttons, zippers, hooks, or any other closures are securely fastened.

5. Never tumble dry knitwear

Never tumble try knitwear as this causes damage and possible shrinkage. When subjected to high temperatures, knitwear can may shrink and pill and they may lose their shape.

6. Drying knitwear flat in shade

To dry knitwear, gently squeeze out the excess water before laying your garment flat on top of a towel. Then, roll up the towel and garment together and gently squeeze again to help speed up the drying process. Once excess water has been removed, it is best to lay garment flat on a rack ensuring that the garment is not twisted or pulled in any way. Because the yarn is a loose knit compared to a fabric garment, hanging a knit will cause stretch given its weight with water. Avoid drying knitwear in direct sunlight as exposure to high heat can cause shrinkage.

7. Avoid ironing knitwear

Ironing your knitwear is only if you must. To do so, set on a low temperature and use a clean cloth as protection between the knit and the iron to avoid damaging the weave and potentially distorting the fibres. Sometimes finer fabrics may look better if pressed or streamed. Another option is to hang garment on a suitable padded hanger in a streamy bathroom, the moisture from the stream will also remove wrinkles and refresh the garment.

8. Store folded and flat

Never hang, rub or twist knitwear, as this can ruin the fabric and shape of the garment. Knitted garments should always be folded and stored flat in drawers or on a shelf. Never hang knitted garments on a hanger as they can stretch and distort the original shape. It’s a good idea to pack winter garments away at the end of the season. When you do, make sure items are freshly washed and when dry, store in an airtight bag or container. Store garments with buttons or zippers closed to maintain the shape of the garment.

9. Using a de-pilling comb or battery-operated device

Pilling is the formation of fuzzy balls on the surface of garments. This is caused by normal rubbing during wear or washing. Always wash your knitted garments inside out so any light rubbing will only affect the inside. Also avoid using fabric softener. Pills can be removed easily, using a de-pilling comb which are available for sale in all our Fella Hamilton stores or online. When using the comb this should be done very gently and carefully. Another option for removing the pills is a small battery-operated pill and lint removal device, known as a de-piller or fabric shaver.

10. Repair

to extend the longevity of your garment! Unfortunately, knitwear can get damaged by catching on items such as jewellery and in some cases due to moths, but that doesn’t mean the end of your garment. Here are some top tips for dealing with knitwear repairs: Knitwear is created by interloping yarn of thread/s making it easier to catch on items. It is recommended to take care while putting on garments and if you are wearing jewellery. To keep woollen knitwear intact and free from moths, place cedar in your closet to help deter moths, as can regularly cleaning your wardrobe. Also, during the summer months, store your knitwear and simply inspect each garment before packing it away. In the unfortunate event you do notice a hole place sticky tape straight away over the effected area. This will stop the hole to ladder down and grow larger – it is recommended to repair a hole with colour matched yarn or take to your trusted clothing alteration who can repair for you.


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