Hallmarks of Quality: Sponging

At Hickey Freeman, we are as passionate about the care of our suits as we are about the styling and construction of them.


High quality fabrics and trimmings are pre-shrunk at the mill, but that’s not enough for us. We subject these products to a second conditioning process to ensure predictable, uniform behavior throughout manufacturing and the life of the garment.

At our factory in Rochester, NY, we test our fabrics for shrinkage. The variance of fabric shrinkage is slight – usually within 2 percentage points of each other – but for perfectionists like us, this makes all the difference. Through sponging, we re-condition fabrics, thread, pocketing, and interlining. This process ensures the stability of the cloth while it is being tailored and subjected to steam and heat in the various manufacturing stages.

This means that you can be positive that if your Hickey Freeman suit is a 40 Regular, then you’ll be a 40 Regular in any other Hickey Freeman suit of a different fabric. Without this process, your first visit to the dry cleaner could result in unsightly puckering of the fabric due to the relative instability of the cloth and its reaction to moisture (ring any bells from other suits you’ve owned?).


We are one of a handful of suit makers that uses this sponging process. It’s an example of the way that hand tailoring, which is essential to the integrity of every Hickey Freeman garment, is enhanced by modern technology to ensure a comfortable and and better fitting garment.

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