:: lacy whites & up to my elbows in suds ::

petticoat vignette

The boxes... no piles of vintage clothing from my grandfather have been begging to begin to be dealt with. I’ve taken a cursory glance through most of it (there is still a box and bag in the basement I need to look through), but what I’ve found is very interesting. Its a hodge-podge of mid century and antique, good condition and bad. Most of the latter is salvageable in some respect, even if its just for a small length of silk, or tiny piece of lace.

believe it or not...

But of course, before these plans for reworking (and believe me, I’ve been thinking of some cunning plans!) can commence, I need to clean everything, because like most old clothing it has a bit of a peculiar smell. I decided I’d start with two pieces: an early 20th century petticoat that was an alarming shade of yellow with huge stains (and a rip), but has the most beautiful eyelet trim. And a 1960s I. Magnin white lace mini dress, that I have plans for reworking so it’ll fit me (and make a lovely dress to wear over tights this winter!).

swingin' sixties

My research on cleaning old whites had said to soak things in OxiClean. Although I have a patent distrust of most detergents, I decided to give it a try, because the stains on the petticoat in particular were so horrendous it was either get them out, or toss the piece. I loosely followed a bunch of instructions I had found online, and filled the bathtub up about 1/4 of the way with really hot water, and dissolved about 3 scoops of OxiClean. I then added cooler water to bring the temperature down. Once the water was lukewarm, I put the garments in to soak, which I did for about 5 hours.


I only moved them around once through the process, just to make sure everything was soaking evenly. After I drained and rinsed them 4 times, I hung them to dry. At that point, I noticed the changes: the 1960s dress was definitely more white (it had the dirty shade of white that happens after improper storage for a lengthy time); but the real change was the petticoat! Except for one, particularly nasty stain (that it quite small), everything else had come out! I was shocked, and quite surprised because now I had a petticoat that I could take apart and use for other purposes.

[A side note: If you happen to try this, please do be sure to wear gloves when handling the OxiClean (just because you’re hands are so much in this process)! I don’t know if it is just my really sensitive skin, but I got a bit of a rash on my arm from where I came in contact with some of the diluted solution and didn’t rinse it properly!]


So, I’ve discovered OxiClean works wonders on restoring the white of old garments. Honestly though, I wouldn’t use it on anything but old cotton/linen because I know it would probably ruin any other fiber. For that, I have my trusty Woolite, which I plan to use for part 2 of the Vintage Cleaning Saga: cleaning 85+ year-old net.

Stay tuned!!

cheers & creativity,
    ♥ casey [ email me ]

p.s. Guess what lovely surprise I had this morning?! I won a set of lovely artwork buttons from the amazingly talented Marjorie!! What a lovely way to start not only a new week, but a new season! Thank you, Marjorie!! :)

p.p.s. I have uploaded loads more photos of both these garments to my Flickr page! Check them out!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip about Oxy Clean. I've always been hesitant to try it but I've got some antique whites that could really use whitening. ~ Lynda ♥

gilda said...

those lacy things are so gorgeous. i've never heard of oxyclean but i gotta try it.

Marjorie said...

Your welcome! : ) And Thanks for the tip on whitening vintage whites! I've got some antique drawers and chemises that have a slight yellowy tinge and I just may try the oxy clean! :)