THE PROBLEM. Oxford cloth is a type of shirt fabric weave and is very popular, but the durability of this fabric has limitations. The yarn is thin and breaks easily and random small holes often appear in the fabric.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE? The hole will often start as pinholes or slightly larger square holes. Certain sets of yarns are missing in local areas for no apparent reason. The blue oxford cloth is the most popular shirt sold and on this shirt, damage may appear as a white spot. This is where the thin blue yarns are missing (broken) and only the stronger white yarn remains. The damage looks similar on other colors too.
WHAT CAUSED THE HOLE? Oxford cloth is a specialty weave. Two very thin yarns are woven over a much thicker filler yarn. This gives the shirt a nice texture, but the unbalance in the weave construction causes stress on the thin yarn from stretching and abrasion in wear. During washing and finishing the mechanical action can cause the weaken yarn to break apart completely leaving a hole.
CAN IT BE PREVENTED? Some manufacturers use stronger yarn that can prolong the life of the oxford shirt. However, the unbalanced weave is a characteristic of oxford cloth and in many cases, damage is inevitable. Neither the launderer nor the shirt owner can prevent this type of damage.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Oxford shirts less than a year old, assuming normal wear, should be returned as the manufacturer must be held responsible since the damage is due to the delicacy of the weave and lack of tensile strength.
CAN THE DAMAGE BE REPAIRED? The holes could be sewn together or patched, but in most case’s this is not a satisfactory remedy.