Help I just shrunk a dress!!!

Discussion in 'The Powder Room' started by AllaboutEve, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. AllaboutEve

    AllaboutEve Practically Family

    Messages:
    924
    I am not having a good day today, just had to cancel a stolen credit card and cheque book. I did however get a lovely new dress through the post which I have stupidly just completely ruined:cry: :cry: :cry:

    Now I had no idea that rayon shrunk so much, I thought I would give it a hand wash to brighten it up........now it is at leat 33% smaller and well and truly for the rubbish...

    I am relatively new to vintage clothing and I think I may have just commited a cardinal sin.

    Please can anyone tell me a few guide lines for the care of vintage rayon dresses!!!!!

    Many (very sad) thanks
     
  2. maisie

    maisie Practically Family

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    Location:
    Kent
    I noramlly give vinatge dresses a freshen up by putting warm water and something like soap sud in a washing up bowl, then adding loads of cold water so the water isn't even luke warm! Just cold!!
    Then I give the dresses a quick swill about and dunk them up and down (sorry for my non-technical terms!!) and hang them out on the washing line, but not when its to sunny otherwise it will fade!!

    What temp water did you use?
     
  3. AllaboutEve

    AllaboutEve Practically Family

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    Hi Maisie,

    Thanks for the reply, I used just like you say very cool water with a weak dilution of Woolite.

    I have managed to clean lots of dresses this way and have never had such a disaster, I'm wondering if the fabric really hasn't just had a really rough life. Since it has been drying this afternoon it seems to be simply coming apart now!!!!!!

    Bit of a shock this one.
    Don't know if dry cleaning would have produced better results or if it would have done the same thing.........
     
  4. maisie

    maisie Practically Family

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    Location:
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    I think dry cleaning would have been even harsher on the dress, as this method uses chemical to clean the fabric (although what good it does I just don't know as i've had dresses that stilll come back from the dry cleaners smealing of sweat and still have a musty smell to them!!)
     
  5. ITG

    ITG Call Me a Cab

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    Dallas/Fort Worth (TEXAS)
    I've had the same problem with dry cleaners not getting smells out. What's with that? Are they actually not cleaning it or does it have something to do with the dry cleaning process in general?
     
  6. magneto

    magneto Practically Family

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    Location:
    Port Chicago, Calif.
    As I understand it, you get your clothes back smelly because the cleaners are being lazy and not replacing the dry cleaning fluids after cleaning something foul...re-using the solvents, ergo the smell from what was cleaned before transfers to your garment...
     
  7. AllaboutEve

    AllaboutEve Practically Family

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    What's the best thing to do in the future then with rayon dresses?
     
  8. maisie

    maisie Practically Family

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    Location:
    Kent
    I don't know what to recommend??
    I've herd that disstilled water (pure water) is probably better than just water out of the tap, as it has no chemicals, but you could also just try cold water with a tiny little bit of soap just to give the dress a freshening up?

    Eww! That is disgusting! Though it probably wouuld be worst for the person who had something drycleaned after they had just cleaned a vintage dress smealing of sweat!!!
     
  9. decodoll

    decodoll Practically Family

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    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    With rayon you have to be very careful of the weave when washing or getting wet at all for that matter. Is it a rayon crepe? I have a rayon crepe skirt that I made (new fabric and all), and I brushed at a small mark once with a damp cloth and that spot on the skirt has never been the same. The mark is gone but the fibers that got wet shrank dramatically. It has to do with the twisted fibers rearranging themselves when they get wet. The same applies to silk. I generally dry clean any rayon dress that I suspect might have this issue. It's hard to tell really. I have had success with a couple being washed in water, but I figure dry cleaning is less of a gamble. You can use Dryel in the dryer at home in between to cut down on dry cleanings as well.
     
  10. maisie

    maisie Practically Family

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    Location:
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    Thanks for sharing!
    How can you tell if something is rayon crepe? It probably a stupid question, but I rather be safe than sorry!:rolleyes:
     
  11. decodoll

    decodoll Practically Family

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    816
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    Rayon crepe was very popular in the 40's. I would bet you have some. :) I'm really horrible at describing this sort of thing. This is an example of rayon crepe.

    And I should have thought to put this up before. It has some very helpful cleaning instructions. http://www.vintageblues.com/care.htm
     
  12. maisie

    maisie Practically Family

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    Location:
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    Thanks for the tips!
    I probably have got some dresses made of this fabric, so the only way to wash it is to have it dry cleaned??
    What did they do in the 30's and 40's surely they didn't just have everything drycleaned??
     
  13. decodoll

    decodoll Practically Family

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    816
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    Dry Cleaning has been around for a long time. I've often wondered the same thing, but I don't know if people had things dry cleaned in the 30's and 40's as often as we do nowadays. I think it's more likely that the rayon crepe dresses that are around today are around today because they didn't get worn as often as the hand/machine washable items. I'll have to ask my gramma next time I see her. :)
     
  14. AllaboutEve

    AllaboutEve Practically Family

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    924
    I think that my dress was probably rayon crepe like Decodoll says, it was very sheer though, don't know if this is the same thing.
    Thanks for all your advice and suggestions, I think it was just bad luck and inexperience.
    The water also turned a rusty orange colour and given it was a dark blue dress I thought this was very unusual.......only other thing I can think of is that it had some kind of chemical finish on it.
    It's obviously better to clean things like this at the cleaners without saturating the fibres.
    I've often heard my mother-in-law refer to old fashioned fabrics as being a bit of trouble with shrinking, but this is my first experience of it.
    Better luck next time!!!!:rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  15. decodoll

    decodoll Practically Family

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    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    I took a quick look at my 1944/45 Montgomery Wards catalogue last night. All of the rayon crepe dresses said either Dry Clean Only or Dry Cleaning advised. Some of those were cocktail type dresses, some two piece dresses and some listed as everyday dresses. I found one rayon crepe blouse that said May Be Hand Washed.
     
  16. decodoll

    decodoll Practically Family

    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way. :( I've seen that orange colour come out of things before... I always just suspected it was years of built up dust and grime, but maybe is it some sort of finish.
     
  17. Zelda

    Zelda New in Town

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    10
    But is there anything to fix the problem? Any way to "unshrink"/stretch the dress?
     
  18. decodoll

    decodoll Practically Family

    Messages:
    816
    Location:
    Saint Louis, MO
    Unfortunately, probably not. :( If it were a sweater, I'd say to get it wet again and try to reblock it, but I don't think that would work in this case.
     
  19. AllaboutEve

    AllaboutEve Practically Family

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    924
    Oh well at least I saved the buttons!!!!!:eusa_doh:
     
  20. Skari Spice

    Skari Spice New in Town

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    Location:
    Washington
    Oh AllaboutEve, how heartbreaking. I shrunk one of my favorite, most comfortable summer dresses by putting it in the wash. It wasn't vintage, but it was Dry Clean Only and I was in a hurry and just throwing things in the washer. I used to think if it said "Dry Clean Only" that maybe I could just use the delicate cycle, or even hand-wash it. But now I'm thinking that the key word is "dry." I don't think “dry clean” fabric is supposed to get wet at all, but that’s just my guess (and a rule for myself). I know most vintage clothing doesn’t have tags to tell you how you're supposed to wash it, but I just assume that it’s dry clean only because of the fragility of the fabric. However, I just purchased some Dryel for my non-vintage dry clean clothing and I’m going to give that a shot – possibly on my vintage dresses too?

    And also…

    I totally agree! I’ve often thought, “Are they even cleaning them at all, or are they merely pressing them and hanging them in a plastic sack?” I’ve had a dry cleaning bill that was $75! And I couldn’t tell a difference in my clothes AT ALL. I’ve boycotted the dry cleaners and I hope the Dryel stuff helps at least a little.

    ~Kari
     

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