When in doubt, dry clean. A good dry cleaner is like a finding a good hairdresser or doctor. It’s so necessary. Sending your vintage clothing to the dry cleaners there are a few things you want to make certain of before the dry cleaning process begins.
· Check for tears or fabric weakness and have your dry cleaner repair those problem spots ( if you dry cleaner has a tailor) or, you can, by hand, do the work yourself.
· Check buttons, one of the first things to happen to vintage clothing is the buttons fall off or melt. It's worth it to reinforce your buttons, especially if they are an unusual vintage buttons. Myself, I remove special buttons and then have the tailor sew them back on ( check the price). If these are steps you don't want to do, simply cover the buttons with aluminum foil. The foil will help the button not melt, loose rhinestones and if a button falls off, it's easier for the cleaners to find.
· Most cleaner have signage stating they are not responsible for damage. Talk with the owner or manger first, get their approval on each of your vintage dresses, blouses, skirts ect. This way, if something happens, you at least have a conversation to go by. Save your receipts and so you can be reimbursed if something does go wrong. I've used this advise and have had a few pieces reimbursed.
· Cost, dry cleaners generally do not ask for more money on vintage clothing but if you have special request, like having knife or accordion pleats re- set, it can be pricy, get the cost upfront. I had an accordion skirt I wanted the pleats re-set and it cost me $50.00. So heads up and ask away. An expensive dry cleaners isn’t always necessary. I had taken many pieces to an expensive dry cleaners thinking the work would be perfect and it was in good hands. A bill of $3,600 blew me away and clothing was damaged, to the point, someone removed a Dior label, from a coat. After that, I found a $2.99 cleaners and they did the same work for less. I later found out both cleaners used the same dry cleaning plant. All of Buffalo Gal Vintage's clothing has been dry cleaned prior to sellling. This is not the case with all vintage clothing sellers, so ask.
· When at the cleaners check the garment on the premises. Once you leave with the item and then you find a problem you are out of luck. Don’t worry what others may think. It’s your investment so inspect while at the cleaners and if your unhappy bring it up there and then.
· Once you get home, remove the plastic bag and the wire hanger. I suggest folding vintage clothing rather than hanging. If you must hand, get rid of the metal hanger that will eventually ruin the shoulders. Plastic bags are the worse for clothing. The winter months we turn up the heat and the summer reeks havoc on clothing stored in plastic. The heat increases within the plastic and the nylon, elastic and spandex will weaken and break. Living in Florida, my mother was a snow bird, one year, she turned off the air condition whilst she summered in Canada, when he came home anything in plastic had both broke and weakened the elastic in dress, pants and blouses pulse everything had frogging. Frogging is a term for clothing with yellow staining and this staining does not come out. Micro organism live in our clothing. The heat causes clothing to sweat in the plastic bags and forms areas of yellow staining ( frogging). So, throw away those bags and again, get rid of thin hangers. See if your town has a display store, you can buy the store quality hangers and they are not that expensive. Of course you can too do this via internet.
These few dry cleaning tips can save you from vintage clothing heart breaks. Vintage clothing is generally one of a kind and cannot be replaced. Following these tips will keep you in your personal style looking and feeling great!
Buffalo Gal Vintage
Writter: Desiree Sheridan