Taking care of your Vintage Treasures- Silk


Well, There are times when I just want to throw out a silk scarf with a stain on it or give it away. The task of cleaning it seems time-consuming. But it really doesn’t take that long and it saves me money. Time and money saving are important to all of us. When I go on a treasure hunt, I have found some really wonderful ties; silk ties but they may have a stain on them. And it’s usually right where food landed while eating! So in this Sunday’s segment of Vintage North’s Blog, I will cover taking care of your silk, mostly ties and scarves. Because unless you know fabrics and their idiosyncrasies it may be better just to send the larger items such as Dresses, Suits and Shirts to the dry cleaner. Knowing how to take care of silk is part of being a conscientious caretaker and owner of fine garments. This will give the clothing longevity and a higher re-sale value when wanting to part with something, since the Condition of a vintage item plays a very important role to a collector.

First of all there are many different kinds of silk. For instance, there is Douppioni, Chiffon, Crepe de Chine, Jacquard, Shantung, Noil, Ect. They have different textures; variations in fineness, variations in thread count, which means the weave is loose or very tight. Silk threads many be satin looking and feel very soft. They have different qualities from fine to coarse to translucent.

Segment 1: Taking care of Silk Neckties and Scarves

Simple cleaning: Needed Woolite or Baby shampoo, Vinegar, Dry Towels, Drying Rack, Multi-Setting Iron, Color-fast Gauze, Zip Lock Bags

  • Fill your sink or bathtub with cool water and mild laundry detergent, such as Woolite or even try a baby shampoo in lukewarm water. Let your silk item soak for a few minutes. Do not rub or scrub the fabric.
  • Rinse the silk tie/scarf with 1/4 cup of vinegar diluted in 1 gallon of water. This will help to restore the shine of the silk. Rinse with plain water until vinegar odor is gone and detergent is completely rinsed out.
  • Place silk item between two clean dry towels and press down gently to remove excess water. You can use the floor if you do not have counter space. Do not wring out silk. Hang silk item on a padded hanger or drape over a mesh drying rack. Do not use a wood rack because wood varnish may transfer to the wet silk and ruin your clothing item.
  • Iron your silk clothing using an iron on the lowest setting, I like to use a cotton gauze or light cotton color fast (so dye doesn’t transfer and ruin silk fabric) piece of cloth between the iron and the silk clothing. Slubbed fabrics and crepes and most wild Silks should be pressed when dry and others when slightly (and evenly) damp. Finish off lightly on the right side. When pressing Silk with a rib or slub, use a pressing cloth, otherwise the Silk may become fluffy. Do not press with steam or re-damp the Silk locally, as water staining may occur. If the Silk water-stains, then dip the garment in warm water for 2-3 minutes, dry and re-iron.
  • Place items not used regularly in garment bags or in the case of a small item such as a scarf or tie, I used reseal-able zip lock bags, like the freezer bags or large sandwich bags.

Do and Don’t

  • Don’t wash Silk goods if the colours are not fast. .
  • Do Test Before washing for colourfastness. Wet a small piece of the fabric in cool water and then lay it on a piece of white material. Press it with a warm iron. If it leaves no colour or hardly any mark on the white fabric, then you can safely wash it.
  • Do keep silk out of strong sunlight
  • Don’t ever soak, boil, bleach or wring Silk or leave it crumpled in a towel.
  • Do not let Silk become too dirty before washing, as hard rubbing damages the fibers.
  • Do Wash items labeled “Washable Silk” such as silk underwear in the washing machine on the gentle cycle in a mesh bag. Hang dry on a padded hanger or on a mesh drying rack.
  • Do not wash or dry clean silk that has heavy beading on it. Many evening dresses fall into this category. Read the directions on the label. Most will tell you to spot clean with warm water and a mild soap mixture. Then, just air the dress out.
  • Never dry silk in the dryer. You will ruin the fabric.

Segment 2: Stain Removal- Repairing Small Snags and Holes

Removing stains: Treat stains immediately. Rub a little mild detergent on stain, let sit, then rinse in cool water. For lipstick stains, Use a denatured alcohol, dab with a soft white cloth, rub gently with a mild dishwashing detergent or the detergents listed above in Simple Cleaning, wash as indicated above.

Snags, Tears, And Holes: Gently tug the fabric on all sides of the snag. This will help make the loop smaller and will work it back into the silk. Flatten the loop against the fabric as you are tugging it to help move the loop into the fabric. This process will generally work very quickly if you just recently snagged the silk. Poke a snag repair needle or a fine sewing needle through the back of the fabric. Get as close to the snag as possible. And pull through to the back of the fabric to hide the snag.

Lightly rub the pinhole with your finger. Move with the grain of the fabric (either side to side or up and down) and gently move the fabric threads to cover the small pinhole. Place an iron as close to the fabric as possible without touching it. Press the steam button. Press your finger over the pinhole to set the fabric in place. Repeat three to five times. Spray the area with a small amount of water if the threads are not staying in place from the steam. Press the pinhole between two fingers until the water is dry. Repeat if neccessary.

Unfortunately, if there are large tag holes or tears these cannot be repaired and the fabric may ruined. Or you may use it for crafts!!!


Dry-Cleaning: Badly stained garments should be dry-cleaned. Do not try to remove stains with a stain remover at home; tell the dry-cleaner what caused them. Choose your dry-cleaner carefully. Make sure that he/she can clean Silk properly. Use a dry-cleaner, whom you have used for Silk or who has been recommended to you. Silk that should be dry-cleaned includes taffetas, chiffons, brocades, many multi-coloured prints, and dressing gown fabrics. Do not hand wash heavy brocade, taffeta, crepe or satin. It will shrink and never look as pressed and shiny again if you don’t dry-clean it. Some suits and formal dresses fall into this category

This article was produced with the help of:

http://www.silk.org.uk/silk_care.htm

http://www.ehow.com/how_5071950_care-silk-clothes.htm

Up Coming: Jan. 29th 2012: Marcel Boucher Jewelry

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