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Would you launder or dry clean this dress

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by onceoza, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. onceoza

    onceoza Registered Guest

    I found this wonderful dress and coat ensemble at an estate sale. The label says Vassar, St. Louis. I can't find anything out about this label. I am guessing that it was a local dress boutique. Age? Would I be off if I guessed late 60's, early 70's?

    The dress has no care or fabric label, but it appears that alot of poly's gave their lives for this outfit :)
    There are lots of stains on it. Do I dare wash it or should I have it dry cleaned. Now, the most important question; do ya'll like it?

    Vassar8.jpg

    Vassar.jpg

    Vassar7.jpg
     
  2. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Alumni +

    The coat would have to be dry-cleaned, so I would dryclean both. Although poly can really hold onto stains.

    Hollis
     
  3. onceoza

    onceoza Registered Guest

    Is it worth the investment to dry clean it? I love the outfit, but maybe noone else will.
     
  4. wild_child*fashion

    wild_child*fashion Registered Guest

  5. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  6. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    Cute set! I'm sure this will find a happy new owner :).
    Had a good laugh about your comment on the polys... a few years ago I had this huge pseudo-alligator handbag that was just plastic - but it looked really good. One of my uncles took one look at it and said dead seriously "wow, a lot of polys must have died for this one!" :hysterical:.

    Karin
     
  7. EndlessAlley

    EndlessAlley Alumni

    I'm in the minority here, but I had a Lilli Ann San Francisco 1960's poly navy & white coat and dress ensemble. Purchased with lots of stains. I had both dry cleaned and there were still shadows of stains on the white. I decided it would be a lot easier to sell if I could get those shadows out, so I placed both in my front load washer, on gentle with a mild soap. They came out fabulously. But that was my good luck. I love your coat & dress ensembles and I agree the color is wonderful.
     
  8. onceoza

    onceoza Registered Guest

    I just figured out that Vassar must have been the company that custom made this dress and coat as it doesn't appear machine made. I would try washing the dress and have the coat dry cleaned because of the lining, except I'm worried about the green bleeding onto the white. I remember now what attracted me to this outfit. I had a dress the same color that my mom got me for my brother's bar mitzvah. I loved that dress so much and I wore a 5 inch long green velvet bow right across the top of my head! :hysterical:
     
  9. Ookoo

    Ookoo Registered Guest

    I hope you let us know how it turns out. I've got a similar set, knit poly dress and coat with acetate (?) linings. Dry cleaning would cost more than it's worth, but I'm afraid to wash. I'm tempted to jusr remove the linings.
     
  10. Vintage_Visage

    Vintage_Visage VFG Member

    Well, My opinion..... No washing machines,,, they can easily rip.

    As far as home laundering, the only issue you really have to worry about is the liner. If it is for personal wear then have it dry cleaned. I have a dry cleaner that uses original 1940s machines and original petroleum based solvents. It is great. However, I do almost all my poly at home in a bucket with oxiclean. It works great at working through stains. Poly is less likely to bleed. It is only shrinkage of a liner that is the catch. If you do Oxy, be careful as with any hand wash. Check it often and do not let your first try sit more than an hour. See how it does and the stains. I have some materials that are perfect after 3 or 4 hours but I had to test them first as some will bleed after 1 hour, others start to get weak. It really is a process. I oxiclean all my cottons and polys.
     
  11. onceoza

    onceoza Registered Guest

    Well, I took a chance and washed the dress in the wash machine. It came out beautifully! The spots came out and the white is white again. I didn't put it in the dryer; just hung it up. The coat is another story. Besides the lining, it's buttons are covered. Not sure if they are leather covered or not, but covered with something.
     
  12. onceoza

    onceoza Registered Guest

    You know.... I was just thinking. What if I tied off the coat in a large pillow case so that the agitator doesn't come in direct contact.
     
  13. Vintage_Visage

    Vintage_Visage VFG Member

    It is the lining of the coat that is the issue. If it is acetate or some other blended material it may shrink whcih will distort the coat. You could try the pillow case, but that is a risk. I think few of us use machines on any of our vintage (I do admit I have some poly shirts and items from the 70s I launder like regular). But in the future I would not try this method from anything in earlier decades. Most of the earlier stuff has weaker/older stitching and the force of the washing machine pulling at it can and will break seams (or worse).When I first got into vintage clothing I learned this first hand with a red 50s dress. It was great before going in then I put it in the machine (in a laundry bag) and I pulled that thing apart in so many places I was sick. But the great news, it led me to find the VFG by seaching cleaning tips lol!

    I am glad the dress came out well. Now really inspect the seams to make sure there are no breaks or pulls :) Poly is a little more durable in my opinion so the washing machine wasn't bad, just risky.

    I wish you luck with the coat, I am not sure I helped but I hope we did.
     
  14. onceoza

    onceoza Registered Guest

    You sure have been very helpful and I appreciate it very much. I am a gambler and this time I got lucky (hmmmmm, maybe I should buy a lottery ticket or find a poker game!). I might just list it without cleaning the coat since I know for sure that the spots will come out; something I couldn't have stated before knowing how nice the dress would look. I'll just state in the listing that the dress had similar spots and stains that all came out.
     
  15. jauntyrooster

    jauntyrooster Alumni

    I will say that my front load washing machine without an agitator is a godsend. On the very gentle cycle it basically just rocks the drum a few times every few minutes - it doesnt make full spins so there is little force exerted on the garmetns. I can set it to where it doesnt spin and also control the water temperature, etc and I control how long it runs. It does a much better job than me handwashing and doesn't damage the clothing. Of course, I don't use it for everything but certainly it has broadened the spectrum of things I can do at home without much added risk. Having said that, that lining would scare me straight to the dry cleaners.
     
  16. Vintage_Visage

    Vintage_Visage VFG Member

    Too funny!

    Yeah I never thought about the front loader? good idea to maybe upgrade? ahhhh

    OH FYI I had my washing machine servied recently and he told me to leave the lid open when not in use. Front loaders are worse than top loaders for this because all the water can not completely drain from the drum. So leaving the door open helps it evaporate. This reduces mildew and keeps dirty icky water out of your wash. (though it gets icky anyway!) Point is I live in Fl and if I left my clothes for even 4 hours much less overnight they would smell awful. Low and behold it was a mildew problem! Go figure.
     
  17. jauntyrooster

    jauntyrooster Alumni

    we are religious about keeping it open and not letting laundry sit. I run cleaning cycle every week too but sooo worth it. I could never go back. We won a bunch of money gambling and I came right home and went to store and treated myself. The washer also has a sanitary cycle - it takes 3 HOURS to run but with superheated water. As a last resort, I have used to get rid of some pretty nasty odors when the garment can take it.

    Also HIGHLY recommend the steam dryer...what a wonderful tool.
     
  18. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  19. I would not wash the coat - the liklihood of the lining shrinking is high. Then again, most dry cleaners aren't good at getting spots out (I'm convinced that most dry cleaning just deodorises) so perhaps you should wash it on a gentle cycle and hope all goes well.

    You could try selling it with the spots but I think you'll get a lot less. Polyesters really hang on to stains, and although you might be confident that they'll come out, many people won't trust you on that. I certainly don't - I've bought too many "easy fixes" and "sure to come outs" that require major fixing and stains that don't come out so if I can't hold it in my hand I won't take the risk unless it's ridiculously cheap.
     
  20. vintagebaubles

    vintagebaubles Administrator Staff Member

    I would have washed the dress without a second thought--and I'm glad you did, because these usually come out great in the washer on gentle cycle! But I agree with not washing the coat--chances are the lining will either shrink and/or come out looked bedraggled--never again to be refreshed to original crispness. I would try spot cleaning the stains, including the covered buttons. I would use a solution of woolite in warm water to begin with; if the stains are dark or look really "set," you can try adding some ammonia to the wash water. Sponge the spots or stains, agitate gently with a soft toothbrush, let set a few minutes, then sponge again with clear water and blot with a dry cloth. Obviously, don't get the lining wet while you're treating the shell. Dry the buttons with a hair dryer so that the metal underneath won't rust. I had great luck spot cleaning covered buttons this way on a dress recently.

    If you have a good, inexpensive dry cleaner, you might try that. But I wouldn't spend a lot of money having it cleaned, and I also, myself, would not leave as is.
     

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