Friday, 8 February 2013

How to care for vintage clothing


Today for your delectation, I'm properly delighted to have the amazing Emma from My Vintage over to talk to us about the wonders of vintage clothing, and very importantly, how to care for it.

If like me, you've snapped up vintage garb in a jumble sale or charity shop, and then had the smirk totally wiped off your face when you get home to discover it totally reeks, then read on my friend, all is not lost...



Greetings lovely readers and a big thanks to Liz for inviting me here as a guest... Some of you may already know that I run My Vintage and have been collecting and selling vintage clothing and vintage collectable for many years. I sell my vast range of goodies through my website www.myvintage.co.uk and also in my shop here in Darwen, Lancashire.

Reviving and caring for vintage clothing is something I have to do on a daily basis, so I thought I would share a couple of my top tips for some of the trickier vintage clothes care problems!

1. Smelly fur coats 

This is probably one of the number 1 things I get asked about, and I can understand why! If you have ever smelled a very old fur that hasn't been stored properly then I am sure you will know what I mean when I say YAK! It's really not pleasant and no amount of deodorising sprays will help. And don't use Febreeze whatever you do! No, the best way to treat a smelly vintage fur is to freeze it! Pop it into a bin liner, seal it up and freeze for 1-2 days. Once removed and de-frosted you will notice a marked improvement as most of the nasties will have disintegrated. Fur always needs to be kept cool so get it out of the attic!

2. Dry clean only

Well, you can obviously just go to the dry cleaners, but that's expensive if you have several garments that need treated. Well did you know you can dry clean your vintage clothes at home? Yep! For this you need to buy dry potato starch. You can get this from some health shops and also online and you can get 1kg for less than £6 and that will last a while. You also need to clear a large area of floor and cover in plastic sheeting. You can use an old tarpaulin or cut an extra large bin liner down the sides to open out full length. The method is easy, just takes a bit of time and patience. Heat the dry potato starch in a pan, lay the garment flat on the plastic and then sprinkle the hot dry powder onto the garment. If there are any particular areas that are stained or smelly then add extra starch to these. Then it's just a case of rubbing the starch in slightly and leaving for couple of hours. When you return, the garment obviously needs to be thoroughly shaken so it's best to do this over the bath or ideally outside. Use a clothes brush if you can. This process really works and is great for many items of vintage clothing.

3. And finally...

Just a few points that might seem obvious but they are things I see happen a lot so be warned! Do not ever iron velvet - it will ruin! If it says handwash - handwash it and drip dry it over the bath! If you NEED to iron a delicate fabric, put a thin towel over it first. Never store vintage in plastic bags long term, boxes, trunks, cases etc are much better. Never keep vintage clothing in a damp environment. And last but not least - remember that a rip, tear or stain is not the end of that special vintage piece. Most of the time with a little bit of imagination, these damaged beauties can be reworked into something extra special.

For a huge selection of vintage and retro clothing, accessories, jewellery, gifts, homeware and collectables, visit www.myvintage.co.uk and if you are local to Lancashire, why not come and visit our vintage shop at 2 The Circus, Darwen, BB3 1BT.

Oooh, one more thing, you can follow me on Twitter if you so wish! I can be found @emmabphilosophy

Over and out!
Em x

20 comments:

  1. Love the potato starch advice! My mum always said to stream delicate items never iron them

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    1. Thanks Jen. When I worked in charity shops their steamers were brilliant! If I had the room I'd invest in one for home.

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    2. Yes, we have steamers too but not everyone has them and also they can sometimes do more harm than good with silky and satin fabrics. Great on cotton and polyester though! x

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  2. Absolute gem of a post!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

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    1. Thank you Kezzie, glad you enjoyed it. x

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    2. Ahhh thanks Kezzie, so glad you liked it! Emma x

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  3. Today I will mostly be freezing my Granny's fur coat! Great tips!

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  4. I would have never thought that about fur, fab post!!

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  5. are we talking real fur coats??? I screamed when my great aunt showed me hers and said it was real, I was 12 and had just turned veggie!!!!!! she said i was a hormonal teen to be and I would out grow it!

    I had no idea about not ironing velvet but then I never iron me!

    Interesting post ;-)

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    1. Sorry my vegetarian friend!

      I would never buy new fur (even if I could afford it!)

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    2. Hi Becky, lucky you with the no ironing! I also hate the thought of real fur as I am a real animal lover. But vintage fur was such a status symbol and is a real part of fashion history so I make allowances for that. I think it's much better to cherish these pieces than destroy them or them end up doing harm to the environment dumped somewhere. I can imagine how you felt when you were 12 though! Emma x

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  6. I think I might try to do the dry cleaning at home, following your advice. TY!

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    1. It's a great tip isn't it? I think there will be a sudden run of potato starch!

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    2. It's a bit fiddly at first but it really does work :) Em x

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  7. Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

    My website - know more

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  8. Those who love to wear vintage clothes better check out this informative post to learn how to properly take care of their clothes so that they could pass those on towards the next generation!

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