Vintage fabrics are often some of the most difficult to care for, partially because of their age and also because they will often not have been created using any of the modern techniques that allow more modern fabrics to be so easy to clean, store and iron.
Of course, with vintage fashion now becoming extremely popular, more people than ever before are looking to purchase older fabrics so that they can create great outfits. If that sounds like you, the following tips should help you to take care of your new fabric so that it lasts as long as possible.
The way you store your vintage fabric will have a big effect on its overall quality. Poor storage conditions can lead to long term damage of the fabric, both reducing its usefulness to you and also losing you money in the process.
As such, you should ensure your storage space has all of the following:
- Plenty of space to allow for the fabric to breath.
- No dampness or extra heat, as this can damage the fabric.
- Darkness and a temperature that doesn’t rise above that that of the room.
- Something to use as a barrier to protect the fabrics from wood and other potential pollutants. 100% cotton should work well for this.
- A complete lack of acid wherever possible.
You should also try to roll vintage fabrics, rather than folding them. If this isn’t possible, be sure to take some time out every so often to unfold the fabric, let it breath and then refold again.
If you don’t use the correct methods to clean your vintage fabrics, you will find that colours begin to fade in record time. In some cases, you may even end up tearing or otherwise damaging the fabric, which again means you lose money. All of the following should help:
- Avoid washing machines and tumble dryers, as these can cause untold damage to some fabrics.
- Consider using a professional cleaner.
- If you are going to handle the fabrics yourself, always wear rubber gloves when washing.
- Avoid using any fabric softeners, as they may end up leaving a residue on the material that you can’t get out.
- Do not wring water out when drying. Instead, try to gently squeeze the fabric and use paper towels to dab away excess moisture.
- Be sure to use cleaning products that contain as little acid as possible.
Before you place your vintage fabric into storage, it is important to take proper care of it by ironing. However, you will need to take your time at this stage and keep all of the following in mind:
- Understand the correct temperature that the fabric should be ironed at.
- Don’t iron fabrics with dirt or stains, as this could lead to them setting permanently.
- Consider steaming more delicate fabrics, or those that are difficult to iron properly.
- Go slow and steady to make sure that you don’t leave any unwanted creases or folds.
- Consider placing a pillowcase or some other fabric on top of your vintage fabric so that the iron doesn’t come into direct contact with it.