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.
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!).
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.
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!