I spend a lot of time sourcing, buying, restoring and caring for vintage clothing. It used to be my job but now it is more for pleasure, but can be painful if items need extra work. Here are my 10 must have items needed to care for my vintage fashion,
Some of you are a dab hand on a sewing machine but I am not! All I need is a basic sewing kit with a few vintage items inside. Yes of course you need a needle and cotton in a variety of colours but it is also a great idea to have old metal poppers plus hook and eyes. This will mean when you replace them that they are vintage originals too. It is also collect metal zips however replacing them should be left to someone who knows what they are doing (which I don’t!)
I have pulled many a vintage item on poor quality hangers so it is a good idea to invest in ones that won’t hurt your clothing. My favourites are velvet hangers but if not, I would choose wooden ones or soft padded ones. Keep you eyes out for good deals from shops like Ikea and The Range.
I store precious dresses and suits in dress bags to protect from dust. This is also a great idea for out of season clothing – in the winter season, bag up your summer dresses and hang at the back of the cupboard. Make sure you choose breathable fabric bags rather than plastic and also that the pieces are clean as moths love dirt. I buy mine from Ikea and also from Morplan.
Under bed storage boxes
Another good idea for your excess clothing is plastic, under the bed storage. Fold your clean pieces carefully and wrap any delicate pieces in a PH neutral tissue.
Yes a tape measure should be your best friend, not only for repairs but also for buying vintage in the first place. When you are shopping always measure the item rather than trusting the size on the original label (old sizes are very different from modern ones) as well as the shops size guide. Know your own measurements too but remember to measure clothes that fit you rather than your body as again this is very different as there needs to be room to move!
A steamer is a great alternative to a trusty iron as it is quicker and also works better on stubborn creases. Most importantly it is safer to use on delicate fabrics where an iron could create wrinkles or worse still, tears.
I collect vintage buttons as you never know when you may need them. If you lose one vintage button on a dress you may well need to replace them all, and using vintage buttons means the look is genuine. Often you may buy a jacket or coat where the buttons are not that great, so this is when I replace them with better versions.
Now of course you need a great stain remover as so many vintage pieces have stains on. I love Oxy gold powder but you need to be careful! One issue is that it often works so well that it creates a lighter patch then the rest of the items needs cleaning. However, if the item is very old or rare I would leave it to the experts. Always test on a piece of fabric that cannot be seen such as the inside hem.
Some items have odours that can be stubborn to remove which is where neutralisers such as Febreze come in handy. After spraying, air on a washing line outside. Hang the item by the waist to ensure it doesn’t stretch and cover with a sheet or something similar of it is very sunny to avoid bleaching
Not to have a drink after all that cleaning but to remove stubborn under arm smells. Buy the cheap stuff and add to a spray bottle undiluted the spray away! Believe me, it works!
However, with any cleaning I have one mantra which is, if in doubt ask a specialist!
What is in your vintage care kit?