Sunday, 17 August 2014

Should You Stick Your Vintage Stuff In The Wash??

You've watched Dawn and you have rifled through those vintage rails and eureka!! you found the perfect vintage gem for you.. It could have been worn by Audrey Hepburn herself or maybe you take your inspiration from Olive of On The Buses fame. But whoever it was, you can rest assured that your lovely vintage gem probably hasn't strutted its stuff for quite a few years!!!

So, please, please bear this in mind when it comes to caring for and cleaning your vintage things!! When you buy a piece of clothing that has already lived one life (at least!) then the responsibility for caring for it becomes yours... Remember,  - at Lily & Violet Vintage we hope you will find clothes that you want to wear forever.... This will be a bit difficult if you kill it in the first attempt at a wash!!

Don't panic!!! This is your very simple guide to caring for your vintage wardrobe......

The first rule is surely obvious to everyone - if it isn't a washable fabric, don't stick it in your washing machine. Sounds obvious but maybe (like me) you sometimes risk a short, low temperature delicate wash - Don't!!

Now, you have all seen the advert - two girls in a launderette. One sat on a worktop looking bored. The other with some washing in her hand...
"so its usually when I want to wear my favourite vintage dress that I realise maybe I should do my washing a bit more often"
No, No, No!!!! Don't listen to her!!! She is (probably) a uni student with no full time job, working in the local cafe on a Saturday, living in a shared flat with 4 other like minded students.  They are all just getting to grips with having to fend for themselves.  Her skills in the washing department are limited ...

Even cotton needs careful handling
- especially where there is appliqué
Always go carful putting vintage items in your washing machine - bear their age in mind and handle them with care.  Even a bog standard cotton top should be treated carefully.  Some people advocate trying not to wash your vintage gems too frequently - in fact as infrequently as possible.  Try to air them instead of washing them and leave at least a day or two between wears to allow the fabric to rest.

If you have a mark that needs removing then try spot cleaning just that area or delicately washing by hand to remove the stain. If is absolutely has to go in the machine then always use a dedicate cycle on a low heat and use a liquid specially formulated for delicates.

As a general rule of thumb - make sure you air your clothes well and don't was them too frequently as it will damage the fabric. And always let the fabric breathe!!

Dry cleaning.  Surely its safe isn't it?!? Well not always! Firstly make sure all of the buttons and any appliqué etc is properly fastened.  Some vintage garments may well have discolouration of the fabric from wear over the years. Often, this is a permanent characteristic and cannot by removed by any sort of cleaning.

If you garment has rhinestones or heavy beading, make sure that it is all secured before taking it to the dry cleaners. Any quality items from the '50s will probably have as a general rule of thumb - make sure you air your clothes well and don't was them too frequently as it will damage the fabric. And always let the fabric breathe!!

Magical zip lube!
Keep sticky zips running smoothly with a zip lube. No other lube will do!! It would be such a shame to discard your favourite item just because the zip sticks a bit. Some vintage items may not have been worn for the past 60 year!! Of course the zips might be a bit stiff.. So prolong the life of your garments by keeping them in good working condition.

If you have a bit of cashmere in your closet then beware any harsh, abrasive washing powders. Best to use a bit of fairy liquid and gently hand wash your woollens - actually that is exactly the same for new cashmere...And don't let the moths bite!! Good quality vintage woollens are hard to come by so if you find some handle with care!

So the moral of the story here is wash only if you have to and even then do it with care - your vintage favourites have already lived one life and have come to you only because their previous owners took good care of them, so make sure you do the same.

Mary & Lisa x 

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