Have you ever had this happen…
You buy a fab 1960’s dress at a vintage show, decide to wash it because there are a few stains you’d like to try to get out, pull the dress out of the washer only to find that it has changed into a completely different dress?
Come along on my journey and I will show you how to ruin your vintage treasures.
Pop them in the wash.
Think nothing of the fact that the dress you are washing is made of polyester and should easily be machine washed.
It’s a lie. Your dress has left the building. Instead of a hot, young, vibrant Elvis dress, a very faded, old and rather sick looking partied ragged version has taken its place.
Lucky for me I wore the dress and took some photos before I washed it.
At least I know what it is supposed to look like.
The day I wore this downtown and was waiting to meet my husband for supper two different young attractive men came up to me and complimented my style.
This is what the “normally safe” polyester dress looks after I washed it.
You should have seen my face when I pulled it out of the washer and saw the neon bright maxi had turned into “greige”.
Pink, red, green and blue all came out, but guess what? The stains didn’t. Oh no, they are Arnold Schwarzenegger stains that had babies with the housekeeper which have grown into full sized big bad adult stains.
Lucky for me the brown, yellow and black stayed, although faded. Everything that is orange on the dress should actually be red.
So…since I LOVE this dress I decided that I would simply paint the colour back onto the dress.
I be that crazy when it comes to unique vintage clothes.
That was over two weeks ago now.
So far I’ve finished one side of the dress and have just started working on the sleeves.
Every day I work on it a for an hour or two. This is a monumental task.
It’s not as bright at the original but it is better than the dirty dishwater look.
Mel told me that by the time I’d finished the front I’d probably just go “full-on Jackson Pollock” on the back. Heh heh. She isn’t too far off. This is really testing my patience. Plus it is sucking up the acrylic paint like a sponge. I bought some acrylic markers which I’m using on some of the smaller areas and am currently on my third pack because they dry out so quickly. This dress is ending up costing me a whole lot more money and time than I ever could have imagined.
It is very strange to me that only certain colours lifted off the dress and how easily they lifted.
Have you ever heard of such a thing?
The moral of my story is this…never ever wash your vintage clothes.
Of course you’re going to wash your vintage clothes. I’ve washed loads of them on gentle cycle in cold water before and never had this issue.
If you see some fading on the item (as I saw on this dress) you could do a bit of a test by hand, with Woolite or another very gentle soap, on a small area maybe on the back of the item, in a sink, while keeping a watchful eye on it. If you see the water starting to change colour, the dye is probably coming out.
A simple solution but expensive one is to take the item to a very good dry cleaner. I should have done that and could have saved myself loads of money and time trying to repair the damage to this dress. That said, I have had items ruined at very good dry cleaners, so they are not 100% guaranteed either.
I don’t have any steadfast rules, other than to check the textile label and see what it recommends for laundering. This dress had no textile label so I was left guessing.
Everyone must have some story about what they ruined in the wash.
Were you able to salvage the piece?