Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dear Ladies...Drycleaning Vintage

If you love vintage clothing,  you will know that often it is necessary when buying a special vintage piece that is particularly old, for it to be cleaned before wearing.  About 6 weeks ago I bought the most beautiful chiffon silk and lace dress, I think it was from the late 1940's and had been delivered all the way from Norway.  The top part of the dress has fabric covered buttons to do up the back & was made from the most detailed delicate tulle and coil lace.

Sometimes it seems like drycleaning must be worse in some cases for your clothes than handwashing with water because of the chemicals used right?   But I once washed a 50's debutante dress and spoiled the special backing the fabric had by mistake to make the skirt stay stiff, which is a process no longer done to fabrics and can not be redone once the chemical structure has been spoiled by water.  This dress had been worn and loved in its previous life, and not wanting to risk damage, I reluctantly took it to the drycleaners.

The silk chiffon skirt part came back brilliantly brand new from the waist down.  I then noticed that the delicate lace returned in tatters, with large holes through it and deterioration.  It had also shrunk, which was ok but could have been disastrous if it had fit properly to start with.  It was heartbreaking to say the least, more for the fact that it was a piece of rare history.  As someone else picked it up on my behalf, the drycleaner offered no apology or compromise, despite being a loyal customer for many years & trusting him with special, handmade & delicate pieces, he claimed he had warned me, which he had not.

As you can see from these photos this is a drycleaning nightmare & I wanted to let fellow lovers of lacey vintage know, if the lace is looking even remotely fragile or you have an item made from silk or chiffon silk, please handwash it!  It is not worth the risk of potentially damaging a piece of history, and it will definately not deteriorate the lace like harsh chemicals potentially can!  

The good news is that after 10 hours of carefully rebacking what remained of the lace with tulle and stitching parts by hand, it is now wearable again!

If you ever have a problem with any of your vintage pieces feel free to email and ask away and I will do my best to help you out with suggestions, there has been many lessons learned over the last few years from clothing from the past! 

1 comment:

  1. HEY! looks like you did a marv job a the re-hash!! Tre Bein!xx


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