Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekend washing blues

About a month ago I purchased a beautiful and delicate Edwardian Camisole top from Vintage Clothing.  The owner of this fabulous site, Linda, could not be more friendly and helpful.  I recommend her to all you lovers of vintage attire.  The below photos aren't mine - my phone camera just didn't do them justice.  The photos are from Linda's site, Vintage Clothing (just follow the above link to see more beautiful vintage clothes and accessories)
But back to my top.
I have a few dresses dating from 1960's and some 80's does 40's and 50's frocks.  I love each and every one of them and treat them with the love of a mother.  However, this was my first 'truly vintage' purchase.  It's a little too big for me but that's what I wanted.  Such delicate material that fits snuggly equals tears shed over ripped top.  Hand made and embroidered with shell buttons and a couple of metal clips.  This was a garment that didn't so much as demand respect, rather you wanted to treat it with the utmost gentleness.  I could not wait for my beauty to get here.  The poor postie was nearly  mugged when he arrived!

This was something to wear carefully.  I finally wore it over a grey wool top with jeans and boots (hair flying free) when I met my hubby at the hospital for a pre radiation iodine therapy consult.  I wanted to feel strong and resilient like the women of the early 20th century (you had to have chutzpa to be serene and dignified whilst wearing one of those torturous corsets).  I held my frightened hubby's hand and then took him out to lunch, and tried to talk of more pleasant things.
The top held up beautifully.  Careful inspection upon returning home showed no sign of stress on the garment.  I was so happy.
Because I was nervous (read - sweaty) and was also wearing perfume, I was worried the combination would stain my lovely.
I'm very good at hand washing old clothes and so grated some sunlight soap into a tub of luke warm water and ever so gently washed my top, as well a silk nighty.   Then dried them flat.
Upon inspection when my top was nearly dry I was horrified to spy this.

Goodness knows how I did it!  I even took my rings off before washing.  I was utterly utterly devastated, started crying and apologised over and over to this poor delicate thing.  My darling hubby (who's being treated for cancer for pete sake, jeeze girl get some perspective) starting consoling me, saying he understood why I was so gutted.  Love that man.
I was so sad to think that this garment had been worn by women for approx 100 years, only to come to me and be torn at the first wash.  I imagined the woman who had made it standing there saying "how could you"!  I was, and still am, heart broken.

Now I'm on a mission to fix my boo boo.  I'm ok with a needle and thread - can mend daughter's wardrobe malfunctions in a flash - but this is different.  I'm terrified to taking a needle to so delicate a  material.  It definitely needs patching, but by someone with experience with vintage garments.  Also there is the dilemma of what to patch it with.  There's no spare cotton lawn with which to patch.  Do I try to source authentic material or use a 21st century version?  Or lace?  I'm way too embarrassed to contact the lovely lady I purchased it from  for advice.  Especially after she said she was glad it was going to a good home.
Until I can find the material to fix it with, as well as someone experienced enough to fix it, it remains wrapped in tissue in my armoire.
It deserves better.

Top photos from Vintage Clothing.  Tried to take photos when camisole first arrived but my phone camera didn't do it justice.  Must get proper camera.
Photo of washing mishap by me.

1 comment:

  1. Good Lord, what a story. You make ne laught on your serius sade story. When you repaire, stich material from endernish ( en dessous )-


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