cleaning chiffon dress - 20's / 30's?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by Aimee, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Aimee

    Aimee Registered Guest

    hello any help would be much appreciated. looking to clean this dress, believe it is chiffon from the 20's or 30's? thanks so much!

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  2. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

    Have you tried to lightly dab the staining to see if that helps lift any of it off. If it is a rayon crepe it could shrink a lot if washed. Where exactly is the waistline, is it a dropped waist, cannot tell in the photos, the cut of it looks 20s or very early 30s.
     
    Aimee likes this.
  3. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Trade Member

    If its chiffon its going to shrink quite a bit ( and unevenly) if you get it wet. You will also have some dye loss, so you would need to remove the lace collar. And remove all the buttons as they may have metal in the core and could rust.

    Dry-cleaning could well destroy the dress. If it's a smell issue, air it out for awhile and perhaps try an ozone treatment if any of your local cleaners offer it. I've had good luck with that on old textiles.
     
  4. Aimee

    Aimee Registered Guest

    Thank you both very much! Have not tried dabbing the stain - will give that a go. I've attached some more photos of the dress - it also came with a belt, seems like a pearlescent shell material buckle. Thanks again!


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  5. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  6. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix Trade Member

    In one of the photos, the stains look like the could be dried mildew which weakens the fabric. Not sure but it might be.
     
    Aimee likes this.
  7. If it is mildew, there is no way to clean than will allow the fabric to be preserved.

    I never buy any garments that are stained any more, due to the delicate cleaning issues
     
    Aimee likes this.
  8. Aimee

    Aimee Registered Guest

    Thank you for your help!
     
  9. Aimee

    Aimee Registered Guest


    I'm thinking now it might be dust from storage rather than mildew - going to try and gently vacuum with a brush & screen and see if it lifts. Wish me luck ; )
     
    Alice M likes this.
  10. Alice M

    Alice M Registered Guest

    Just a curious question - how were they kept clean originally if getting them wet wrecks them? Just aired out instead of washed?
     
  11. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Trade Member

    The fabric was strong enough to be drycleaned when new in the 1920s. It's just that now, it's almost 100 years old and chiffon gets pretty delicate after all those years.
     
  12. vintagebaubles

    vintagebaubles Trade Member

    I've had good luck with rayon crepe, silk chiffon, and rayon or silk satin dresses of this age and into the 30s with using a nubby (like soft terrycloth) cloth lightly dampened with rubbing alcohol and very gently rubbing. This has worked for dust, some stains, and even mildew that hasn't penetrated into the fabric. I've looked at dresses with mildew on them and thought there was no hope. But I've had luck with several; sometimes have to repeat. But if it's mold or set-in mildew, nothing will work short of bleach, and that's not an option.... You do risk color loss if you use too much, so if you dampen the fabric too much, grab a hair dryer and dry on low. Even if this method doesn't totally cure the problem, it'll usually at least improve it in most cases.
     

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