Proper care maintains the preserves the authenticity of your vintage fabrics. How you wash, dry iron, and store your pieces will determine their value and how long they last. Be careless with them, and they won’t even last a year. Here are a few tips on caring for your vintage fabrics and enjoying the best of prolonged usefulness.
Clean Them Correctly
Vintage fabrics should never go into washers; it destroys them. Chemicals available in grocery stores today may not go well with dyes used in printing vintage. If you use an incompatible cleaner, the dye may run. Also, do not use fabric softeners and softener sheets on vintage pieces as they may leave traces of residue behind.
The best method to do such pieces is hand-washing with delicate, delicate hand-washing soap. If you must take your fabrics to a professional cleaner, ensure they have the experience to deal with old textile. Ask a local textile conservator or art museum to recommend a good cleaner.
Drying Vintage Fabric Correctly
Never throw your vintage fabrics into the dryer. The scorching heat and whirling motion may damage sensitive fabrics. Vintage materials easily warp, so hanging them on a clothing line or anywhere may not be such a good idea.
Gently squeeze the water out (do not wring), blot-dry with a piece of towel, and lay on a flat, clean surface to dry. You can often hang linen materials on a line to dry but avoid exposing anything to direct sunlight or harsh hot conditions.
Iron Your Vintage Fabrics
Ironing vintage fabric is quite a challenge. Iron in haste and that new vintage fabric may turn into a useless rag. In most cases, incorrect ironing causes irreversible damages to vintage fabrics. Always take correct ironing precautions to preserve the original condition of all your vintage fabrics.
First, you need the best iron you can get and ensure it’s clean inside and out. Then set the correct temperature and let it heat for around 1 to 2 minutes before you start ironing.
Iron your piece face down on a soft surface; ironing directly on top of the design or the front side flattens the design and damages its authenticity.
Another essential trick when ironing that vintage linen is never to use tap water in your iron. Use distilled water to avoid clogs.
Storing Vintage Fabrics
The best place to keep your vintage fabrics is on top, in a drawer. Putting such pieces at the bottom under heavy items will cause splits and sharp fold on the cloth. Roll your vintage fabrics instead of folding them to prevent stressing the fibers at creases.For maximum preservation, your textile should not come into contact with blue tissue or wood. Most papers are acidic and may damage cotton or antique linen textiles. It would be best to wrap the fabric in a clean, white piece of cotton cloth like an old sheet or muslin. Also, do not seal your fabrics in a plastic bag or container. Keep them somewhere with free air circulation to prevent damage from air condensation.