Will I need to iron these uniforms?
Yes, if you put them in a hot dryer pleats will not last. It all depends on your care of the garments. Leaving items in the dryer overnight will cause them to wrinkle and they will not be ready to wear in the morning. Overstuffing the washer and dryer can also cause wrinkling. ScholarWear has chosen an excellent oxford shirt. You will notice the smooth collars and front button placket. I have not found the need to press the sailor shirts, oxfords, or the polo shirts with proper washing and drying care. Jumpers and skirts need occasional pressing. Pants will need pressing on the pleats occasionally to look their best.
Do we have to press the jumpers and skirts?
Yes, as needed. We would like to teach parents and students how to care for their Challenger uniforms properly so they can wear them as long as possible and meet the Challenger dress code standards which say that "all uniform items must be clean, in good condition and worn as specified".
Several Challenger parents have recommended taking the pleated jumpers and skirts out of the washer and never putting them in the dryer but instead hanging them to dry overnight to maintain beautiful pleats. Another alternative is to dry in the delicate cycle and remove the jumper before it is completely dry and with the fingers patting the pleats into place as you put the jumper on a hanger to dry the rest of the way.
We have attended Challenger School Programs where the uniform items were not pressed on some children. Some parents and students are not following the care guidelines for the pants, jumpers and skirts which call for pressing the uniform before programs, special function and picture days if the uniform needs pressing. (See our "How to care for uniform" item guides at the end of our FAQs.) These jumpers are made of high quality material which often last for several years of wear. They will need to be pressed on occasion in order to maintain Challenger's standard of "good condition". Our online pressing demonstration is our way of helping our customers learn how to press their pleats and be ready for their full dress days and their next special function or program, so their child looks pleasing every day. With proper care of the uniforms you may be amazed at how little effort is required to keep your child's uniforms looking their best. Again, for more information, see below at the end of the FAQ's for pressing instructions.
If you do not wish to press the uniforms yourself, please take the uniforms every few months to a drycleaner who will press the uniform for a small charge. In our experience, home ironing the jumpers with a steam setting on the iron, a few times a year and before pictures and school programs has been great for maintaining crisp pleats all year. A good home pressing can maintain pleats for 2 or 3 months when washed and dried correctly. Be careful since the plaid items are polyester and can melt under a very hot iron. A hot dryer can loosen the pleats and you will need to re-press them. See our Fabric Care Tips below for detailed care instructions on each type of item.
Will uniform colors fade?
ScholarWear uses high quality uniform fabric to ensure resilience and color retention. However, they may fade or discolor more rapidly depending upon how you care for them. The 100% cotton in navy has shown to show more fading than the poly/cotton blend. This is natural for cotton fabric. We only carry the poly/cotton blend. We do not recommend washing garments in hot water or drying on hot. When in doubt, follow the manufacturer's instructions. The knits stay colored for years if cared for properly as well. (cold wash, warm dry, no bleach) We highly recommend turning sweaters and knit shirts inside out before laundering to reduce snagging and pilling.
Do I need to dry clean these uniforms?
Dry cleaning is not needed for general care. Most uniform garments are machine wash cold, and low warm dry. Dry cleaning or pressing with an iron set on low steam is recommended on pleated items two to three times a school year to sharpen the pleats. Several Challenger parents have recommended taking the pleated jumpers and skirts out of the washer and never putting them in the dryer but instead hanging them to dry overnight to maintain beautiful pleats. In my experience, ironing the jumpers with a steam setting on the iron, a few times a year before pictures and school programs has been great for maintaining crisp pleats all year. Be careful since the plaid items are polyester and can melt under a hot iron. A hot dryer can also loosen the pleats.
Please note, your girls will look better for school programs and assemblies if you take a few minutes to steam press the pleats the night before a special function. I see girls wearing old jumpers at the end of the year that look new because someone took the time to press the skirt the night before. I also see girls that look like the skirt has never been ironed all year. A little care in ironing once every few months can keep the jumpers and skirts looking like new all year. I find that ironing with a steam iron with the temperature hot but not too hot will keep nice pleats for many washes.
I only iron every few months and my children's jumpers lasted 4 years through 2 girls. After they finished 4th grade, I removed the top off of the jumpers and used the size 6 jumpers as skirts for my 5th grade girl. I donated the skirt when she outgrew them, as I have donated her smaller jumpers. Challenger has allowed skirts to include the knife pleat skirts just for this reason. Jumpers may be converted to skirts and worn in 5th to 8th grade if they are still long enough for Challenger's mid knee cap length dress standard and if they fit the child properly in the waist.
My child is tough on pants. Will the knees of his pants hold up?
Our pants are heavy durable pants and are equipped with tough knee reinforcement. Obviously, boys will be boys, and some boys like to slide, crawl, and spend a lot of time on their knees. In fact, we met one boy one summer who was boasting to us that he'd worn through 12 pair pants. We asked him what he did at recess and he described a game he plays with his friends where they run and then see how far they can slide, on their knees on the cement. Clearly, we cannot guarantee that the knees of our pants will not tear, but we are providing reinforced knees. The built-in knee patches keep small outside tears from developing into full holes. If the pants are occasionally washed in hot and warm water and dried on hot, the patches may start to pull apart from the pant. If this occurs we suggest you reverse the pant and re-apply using a hot iron. You may want to place a thin towel over the patch before ironing otherwise you will scorch the pants. Knee patches may be reinforced with additional patches which are available for purchase at our ScholarWear stores.
If you know that your child tears through his knees in the same place each time, we suggest that you put an extra knee patch in the underside of that area before he wears the pants. This precaution may help keep a tear from developing. The manufacturer has placed patches in the knees of its pants but the patches that we sell in the store are even thicker and can be placed where your specific child needs the patch.
My child says the shirts are scratchy, what should I do?
First, we would suggest pre-washing the shirt a few times to soften the garment. My children wear a t-shirt or camisol underneath until the shirts become softer. In my experience, the old shirts, purchased from the previous retailer, were so worn out by December that they were see-through under the arms and the collars were rolling so the shirts had to be replaced. This is not the case with ScholarWear's oxfords. The difficulty ScholarWear is faced with is how to find the right mix between a tight weave with heavy interfacing, for long lasting durability, and the need for a comfortable wear. I assure you that we are working to find the best clothing to meet the requests of all the parents.
My child's tie has broken. I just bought it. What should I do?
While we do not guarantee the ties against breakage, we may be able to repair or re-tie your tie. The next time you come to the ScholarWear store, please bring the tie that has lost its snap or connector. We have replacement snaps and may be able to quickly repair your snap tie while you shop if the store is not busy.
If the tie is a recently purchased fabric strap tie, that has come untied, we may replace or re-tie, as a courtesy, a recently purchased tie. As this is a courtesy service, we will not send ties by insured or by priority mail. If you are in Nevada or Idaho or Texas please send the tie to the Utah store for repair or replacement.
We have found that when girls pull the ties apart by the tails rather than unsnapping them at the snap they are much more likely to stretch the knit material and pop the snap off. If your child repeatedly breaks his/her ties by pulling on the ends, please show her how to unsnap them at the snap or unclasp them at the back. We do not guarantee a replacement.
My child's sweater/jumper has lost a button. What should I do?
The ScholarWear stores have replacement buttons for the skirts, jumpers and sweaters as well as for the oxford shirts and collars for a small charge. We also have small sewing kits for sale.
My daughter's jumper is coming apart at the waistband. What should I do?
The waistband of the jumpers is designed by the manufacturers to be a growth feature. The intent is for the top to be easily unpicked from the waistband so it can be raised or lowered and resewn to fit girls with different torso lengths. Unfortunately, this ends up being a weakness in the construction especially when girls often put the jumpers on and off without undoing the buttons. It is not considered a manufacturing defect, so we will not replace the jumper, but it can easily be restitched across the waistband. If you do not have access to a sewing machine, you may bring the jumper to a ScholarWear store and we can reinforce that seam while you shop if the staff is not too busy. Please keep in mind that back to school season is very busy.
Personally, I have enjoyed using this growth feature and have removed the jumper top and made the torso smaller to fit my tiny daughter. I have also removed the jumper tops and lengthened the torsos and let down the hems when my daughters grew taller so the same jumper could be worn for two years in a row.
Challenger has expanded the types of skirts allowed for 5th to 8th grade to include the knife pleat skirt. If you have girls who still fit their jumpers in the waist, and have the proper Challenger knee length, you may wish to take the top portion off of the jumper and make it into a skirt when entering 5th grade.
My children's jumpers lasted 4 years through 2 girls. After my youngest girl finished 4th grade, I was able to take the top off of the old jumpers which I then converted into skirts for her to wear in 5th grade. They still looked wonderful with occasional pressing.
Do you have any helpful hints about uniform cleaning and care?
Jumper/Skirts/Culottes (no significant shrinkage)
Turn inside out and wash in cold or warm water (gentle setting for machine wash). Wash only with other 100% polyester garments. Line dry (many parents hang jumpers on hangers after each wash and pleats stay beautifully crisp) or dry in dryer on tumble dry on low-medium setting remove promptly. Use a warm iron only if needed. Dry cleaning or professional pressing recommended on pleated items two to three times a school year to sharpen the pleats if you wish for a crisper look.
The biggest tip we can give you to keep your pleats crisp is: DO NOT wash in hot water and please DO NOT dry items in a very hot dryer. The pleats will fall out and you will need to steam iron them back in or take the item to a dry cleaner for pressing. The second biggest tip is: REMOVE jumpers and skirts promptly from the washer and hang after washing. If drying in a dryer, remove jumpers and skirts promptly from the dryer and hang them up. The third biggest tip is: make certain the jumpers are hung up on hangers after wearing and the skirts are hung on a skirt hanger after wearing. Jumpers and skirts left on the floor or in the car under a pile of other items will not retain their crisp pleats!
Ironing. We realize everyone cannot remove items promptly from the dryer. We all have other things to do besides wait for jumpers to finish drying. If you find all your pleats have poofed out from a too hot dryer or you find a crumpled skirt in the back seat of your car you may need to press those pleats. If you do wish to refresh the pleats at home set your iron on steam on the lowest steam setting and use steam while setting the pleats. If the iron is too hot it will stick on the fabric and melt the fabric! Watch our PRESS THOSE PLEATS video if you are unfamiliar with pressing pleats. Arrange the pleats in their proper place, always keep the iron moving slowly so the fabric does not melt. If you are not sure if your iron is too hot, place a dishtowel, or other ironing cloth, between the iron and the uniform. Wait for the pleats to cool before moving to the next section of pleats and fold the pleats into place. Iron next section and cool. Process takes less than ten minutes and pleats look lovely. A quick ironing of the pleats is great for refreshing crisp pleats for full dress days, picture days, school programs and award assemblies or special function days.
Sailor Blouse (no significant shrinkage with proper care)
Take off the Sailor Tie. Turn blouse inside out and wash in warm or cold water. Tumble dry on low or medium setting; remove promptly. Use a warm iron if necessary. Use non-chlorine bleach only if needed.
Oxford Shirt (yes, these do shrink)
Turn shirt inside out and machine wash in warm water. Tumble dry on medium setting; remove promptly. Use warm iron if necessary, by placing a thin cloth over the Crest while pressing to remove any puckers on the Crest. Use non-chlorine bleach only if needed. Do not use liquid fabric softeners. For ring around the collar and cuffs, pre-treat areas with appropriate pre-treatment products.
The best tip we can give you is to hang the shirt on a hanger promptly after drying. Button the top or second button and straighten the collar. We would suggest pre-washing a few times before wearing for the first time to give the shirt a softer feel. These shirts can be scratchy at first due to the stiff interfacing used in the collars and plackets. This interfacing helps to keep the collars from rolling and bumping. The shirts are made to be wrinkle resistant and made from high density weave cloth so they do not get transparent under the arms. Durable fabrics are not always the softest. We found through comparison testing that these shirts last longer and stay looking nicer than the other brands tested by Challenger students.
Pique or Interlock Knit Polo (yes these do shrink)
For best result make a knit only load. Separate white from dark colors. Turn inside out and machine wash in cold water. Line dry or tumble dry on low setting. Use non-chlorine bleach for whites and light colors ONLY, do not use on dark colors. Do not use liquid fabric softeners.
Pills or nubbies on polo shirts can be removed with a fabric comb that can be brushed across the shirt. Usually pilling is found on the tummy area from rubbing up against items that snag the shirts. You can use the fabric comb while the shirt is on the child. Pull the shirt tight over the tummy and rub the fabric comb over the shirt where it is nubby. Fabric combs can be found at fabric stores or at the ScholarWear stores or on the website: www.ScholarWear.com.
Sweaters (no significant shrinkage unless washed or dried in excessive heat)
Turn inside out and wash in warm water. Wash only with other sweaters. Tumble dry on low setting; remove promptly. Wash dark colors separately. Do Not Bleach.
Pants and Shorts (no significant shrinkage)
Turn inside out and machine wash in cold water. Tumble dry on low setting; remove promptly. Do Not Bleach. Again the best tip we can give is to fold the pants with the crease and hang by the bottoms of the pants on a pant hanger after wearing or drying. The creases are durable but they will not hold up well to being left on the floor under piles of items or to excessive heat.
Turn inside out and machine wash in cold water with like colors. Wash only with other fleece items. Use powdered detergent only. Tumble dry on low setting or lay flat to dry. Do not bleach. Do not use liquid fabric softeners. This will ruin the fleece.
Tip for lint and fuzz: do not wash fleece jackets with white socks or other items that will leave pieces of lint on the jacket. Use a fabric comb or lint remover to remove fuzz and hair from the jackets. Don't leave jackets on carpet and floors where animals roam.
Tips for Best Results