Dating dress

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by southernbird, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. southernbird

    southernbird Registered Guest

    Hello all!

    I'd like help getting more information about this dress. There are no tags inside, but there is "MURLEN" engraved on the zipper. There is some light boning in the body.

    There are some interesting elastic sewn flat into the sleeves. What would be the purpose of these?

    I cannot tell what the fabric is and I would like to know what would be the best way to care for this dress. I like this dress a lot and I'm afraid to do anything. Should this be dry-cleaned?

    Thank you in advance!

    Robin of Frocksley likes this.
  2. StitchesandSnags

    StitchesandSnags Registered Guest

    I would proceed with caution during cleaning. Dry cleaning can ruin delicate fabrics and I'd advise anything before 1960s shouldn't be dry cleaned. In terms of fabric what are you feeling? You could do a burn test if all else fails.
  3. Robin of Frocksley

    Robin of Frocksley Registered Guest

    Beautiful dress! I am not an expert, but it looks 50's to me.

    The elastic is probably there to prevent the sleeves from slipping off of your shoulders.

    I am very lucky to have an excellent dry cleaner who is familiar with vintage fabrics, but stitchesandsnags is correct that most dry cleaners could easily ruin your dress. If you don't have a trusted cleaner and the dress isn't very dirty, you may want to try hanging it out in the sun for a day or two to freshen it up. Good luck!
  4. StitchesandSnags

    StitchesandSnags Registered Guest

    I just partially ruined a scarf because I was careless with drying it. Sometimes you need to critically consider if you're okay with living with a light scent or placing your chips on chance. I would also recommend a diluted vinegar spritz. This ususlly works on lighter scents and it compliments airing the garment outside.

    << Remember to be rational. This simple thought process would have saved my scarves precious edges.>>
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2017
    southernbird likes this.
  5. StitchesandSnags

    StitchesandSnags Registered Guest

    Regarding the physical dress... Murlen zippers were commonly used from the fourties to sixties. Metal zippers are normally used on older pieces. The lining looks to be acetate but this is a judgement off picture. The silhouette definitely has a fifties vibe to it.
    southernbird likes this.
  6. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

  7. southernbird

    southernbird Registered Guest

    It is smooth and somewhat lustrous. I can try the burn test this evening. Thank you for the advice!
  8. southernbird

    southernbird Registered Guest

    That makes sense! It is somewhat off-shoulder fit. I'll try hanging it outside for a little. thank you!
    Robin of Frocksley likes this.
  9. StitchesandSnags

    StitchesandSnags Registered Guest

    Whenever I'm trying to date a piece I start with details before I look at the print. Fashion is a cycle.
    southernbird likes this.
  10. southernbird

    southernbird Registered Guest

    I tried a burn test: The lining is acetate and the outside is cotton (burnt paper smell, grey ash). The outside is very smooth though. With this being said, what is recommended for care? Is it safe to handwash? What detergent is recommended for such garments? I've read mixed advice for washing acetate so I welcome any and all feedback.
  11. Linn

    Linn Trade Member

    Given the appearance and the burn test it's pretty likely that the fabric is a cotton sateen print. You cannot wash the dress because of the lining - and you might lose some of the sheen on the front if it gets wet. I believe this dress is "dry clean only" but if it were mine, I would only have it cleaned if it obviously needs cleaning - otherwise I would hang it out to air (if it needs it) but not leave it in the sun - it might fade.

    It's lovely!
  12. StitchesandSnags

    StitchesandSnags Registered Guest

    I honestly wouldn't wash it unless it desperately needs to be washed.
    southernbird likes this.
  13. southernbird

    southernbird Registered Guest

    I will try that. Thanks for the advice!

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