Friday, September 24, 2010
A recent Estate purchase of a most beautiful vintage nightgown prompted me to write this. A stunning white nylon gown loaded with the most beautiful lace, just destroyed.
How? from being on a wire hanger. And no.. I'm not going to go all Mommie Dearest on you.. but wire hangers are NOT vintage clothing's friends.. or anyone's for that matter.
The lace on this gown is entirely ruined. The weight of the gown combined with years on a wire hanger have worn the lace completely thin and actually broke the lace along the shoulders.
NEVER never ever put your delicate vintage nightgown on a hanger. If you must, please use the padded hangers aptly called 'lingerie hangers".. these are great for blouses as well or anything delicate. Never put nightgowns that have lace or spandex straps, like an Olga on a hanger. The weight of the gown, the stretch of the fabric will result in extra long straps and a gown a few inches longer. Not to mention most likely unwearable. you will not be able to "un stretch" the straps.
Store vintage delicates folded in a drawer, using acid free tissue between each piece. Never store in plastic, the fabric needs to breathe.
Every single item I purchase, no matter how "immaculate" the estate stays outside until I can wash it. The exception being items new with tags. If you don't know the home, how the item was stored, re washing is always the best option.
When washing vintage, if it was made after 1972, will have required fabric care labels and washing instructions.
If you do use the washing machine with a delicate cycle, some items can go into a lingerie laundry bag and into the machine. Laundry bags are little mesh bags with zippers. They allow suds to penetrate as well as rinse water through the mesh while protecting the item from agitation and possible tearing. They are a VERY inexpensive investment for the protection they provide, and are usually only a few dollars at Walmart. I include one in every purchase from me as a small gift to my customers. they are wonderful.
Preferring the "old fashioned" method of hand washing, and I just use my kitchen sink with the following method.. Common sense dictates to NOT mix colors, wash only like colors together. Color does run, most particularly in vintage with older dyes used.
1. Fill sink with LUKEWARM water (never hot!)
2. Pre-treat all stains. You can use the Woolite or product you are washing it with, applying a dot of detergent to the area and gently rub it. An extra soft baby tooth brush works well on some fabrics, but be careful as it can break the fabric fiber.
3. Add very mild soap, you can use Woolite or any brand of baby laundry detergent like Ivory Snow or Dreft. if an item is very soiled, I love my Wisk.. just a teeny tiny bit as it is a strong detergent but it does the job gently.
4. Mix detergent in water to create suds, add your items. Do no more than two at a time to soak. Allow them to soak about an hour usually, if bad, overnight.
5. Swish item in the water gently to make sure its clean. Do not rub, do not wring.
6. Rinse well, and rinse at least twice to make sure all the detergent is removed. Let the water run over the item until it is clear. Again, do not wring or twist. On the second rinse you can add a drop of fabric softener and let the item soak a few minutes in the softened water, then rinse that out thoroughly.
7. Lay flat to dry. I usually put towels on my kitchen table, roll the item in the towel to remove excess, then lay it flat on the towel. Some items can be hung to dry on a padded hanger. I also hang many items outside to dry under my covered porch.
*DO NOT hang lingerie in direct sunlight. Whites will yellow, colors will fade.
* If an item has a strong moth ball, cigarette or other offensive odor I add a tiny bit of ammonia to the wash water. This removes all odors, and is also good for "brightening" colors.
* Never use Bleach..even on white nylon it will cause it to yellow.
* Blood stains can often be removed with Hydrogen Peroxide (not the hair peroxide!) on a Q-tip to the area, and rinse immediately as often the peroxide will cause the blood to run. You can do it directly under the running water, applying peroxide, rinsing as you go until the blood is removed.
* If you have a peignoir set, make sure you wash both items at the same time. We wear the gowns more often than the robes, so often neglect the robes. The result will be a gown that is faded from wash, and a nice bright color robe.. washing together will keep them the same color.
* Although washable, Rayon and silks will often shatter. They also wrinkle terribly when washed. I would recommend dry cleaning on those items. Remember, if they are from 1940's they are SIXTY years old.. please handle with care.
* Never put Chiffon in the dryer. Never iron Chiffon. it does steam nicely if you have a steamer.
These are just a few basic "common sense" tips.. I'm sure there are a million other tips, but these are the basics. Your vintage items have held up for decades. Treasure them, and treat them accordingly ~ With proper care and attention, they will last decades more.
(C)2010 VonVintagePretties ~ reprints allowed WITH permisson and credit only please.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I find the history of a company as fascinating as the product they manufacturer. I must have spent three months researching The History of Olga, substantiating it, writing the article for this blog, and submitting the information to the Vintage Fashion Guild for their resource.
Well, i probably have spent more than that amount of time already working on Barbizon. What a challange! The VFG and other sites state the company was started in 1933, but i have a hang tag that says 1917. Oddly, these vintage gowns with the original tags provide much history. So.. i'm still plugging away. Hopefully it will be done soon.. i'm working my way throught NY Times obits already. lol.. yes.. i do dig deep! Its more interesting because there is nothing per se of "history of barbizon" on the net.. nor even in Wiki.
And this is a special project for me. Yes, i love Olga, Miss Elaine.. and all the other brands, but Barbizon has something for everyone. I truly have a passion for them. They have a unique variety for everyone.
They have the most wonderful slippery smooth satin and specialize in the most beautiful hand embroidery, done in the Philippines. Rarely do you find a Barbizon nightgown without even a touch of embroidery. On the simplest of gowns, there will be a dainty embroidery on even just the collar.
They have fabulous gowns perfect for a Bridal shower, trousseau or just special occasions.
And Cuddleskin?? That is Barbizon's line of their beautiful satin nightgowns ~ but.. they have the most incredibly soft fluffy nylon flannel inside. So you can still look beautiful while being cuddly and warm. The cuddleskins are getting harder and harder to find.. people "know" them and grab them up. There are many imitations, but a true Barbizon Cuddleskin is the ultimate~ like no other. Beautiful and demure.
Probably because of my own passion for Barbizon, i can't seem to keep them in stock ~ they sell as fast as i can list them. Do you think a customer can tell when a seller is excited about their product? Possibly.. and if that's the case.. it is one item i am always excited to list. I have four hanging right now, freshly laundered and ready to be steamed and take the pictures.
And we do have a few available right now. My favorite are two white satin ones.. that just look so bridal, one is vintage new with tags ~ in fact the tag that says the company was founded in 1917.
Stop at my little shop and check the Barbizons and see why its most people's "little secret ~
here are just a few of them:
Monday, September 13, 2010
Like most bloggers, I blog for a variety of reasons. Its a wonderful venue for advertising. Almost like you are speaking to your customer directly, pointing out an item's features.
Of couse advertising alone is a great reason, but as well as to put some of my random thoughts to paper.. very much like keeping a journal, which how blogging was started. For me its really therapeutic to blog.. and fun! I can spill my little heart out, share thoughts and research, personal memories, fun things, and of course point out features in my vintage items..
I have become a crazy lady blogging. I work with the Reflections of Vintage blog~ where there are 5 of us blogging, my "advertising" blog on word press, my blogs contributed to the RubyLane blog, and this one which includes more of my personal thoughts and experiences.. Its almost an obsession. I'm telling you, i really love this. Maybe a wee bit of "frustrated author" in me? who knows.
And.. we just never know who's reading our blogs, if anyone. We hope to have a following, that someone out there in this big old world of blogs enjoys our (my) ramblings..
Recently I was trying to identify a piece of Sarah Coventry jewelry. Of course i googled, and up comes an item with the term~ "lots of recipes for jello salads".. WHAT? that's MY line! i recognized it immediately.. so i click.. and low and behold, there is my research blog on Sarah Coventry, on another's web site.
This person did not email me, did not ask permission to use my blog. But she did it. My blog, on her site came up in the first page of google search. That alone is an accomplishment. Her web site is beautiful. Well done, and actually a compliment to me. Also, she gave me full credit for authorship and a link to my Rubylane shop.
A few days went by and my "up-bringing" won. My mother pounded into all of us the virtue of morals, ethics, scruples AND thank you cards.
I emailed her and thanked her for using my blog, and asked if it was perhaps "social media etiquette" to contact the author of a blog, ask permission or even thank the person?
Instead i was surprised with her reply. It was part of an advertising agreement with Rubylane that she reprints blogs, and they must be linked back to RubyLane. It is mandatory for her to re print blogs. No permission required. As a regular contributor to RubyLane's blog "notes from the Lane".. my blogs are fair game.
Again.. i have no issue.. and was flattered she chose my blog, and i thanked her. But should people at least let you know, or thank you or something? I know I'm "old fashioned".. but that's how i was raised...to just acknowledge and appreciate things.
So the random search began after this incident. Yep. my blogs are out there. Mostly on peer's web sites which again is wonderful and i have no issue with that.. Occasionally i find an item or a blog on a customer's site.. again, that is REALLY flattering, as there is nothing better IMHO than a satisfied customer who recommends you to others. The ultimate compliment, and i thank you for that!
My worry would be a stripper named Olga and my "History Olga Nightgown" blog being re published on a porn page ~ lol..
As long as my things are on nice web sites, i have resigned myself to "this is good" and "its totally flattering" and appreciate the time the web site owner put into their site and including me. I appreciate it even more when i'm credited for authorship, or an item used is linked back to my selling site. Very Complimentary.
The ultimate surprise though was Sunday night. I was researching another lingerie manufacturer for an upcoming blog and found the most AMAZING site! It "appears" to be the site of a young lady, and it is one of the most impressive, best designed personal web site I've seen. It is tasteful, fun, interesting~ everything you would want in a web site. Sadly, there is no authorship, no email, no indication of who's site it is. Totally anonymous.
She has sections for Fashion, Fitness, Fashion & Shopping and ~ Vintage! This girl has also re-published some of my blogs and featured some of my items as well as our Reflections of Vintage group items.. what a little doll she is!
No.. she didn't ask permission,nor did she even let us know she used our items or my blogs, but again it reflects back to her site. Its a compliment to be included on it.
I know the world is rapidly changing.. and we are loosing control with the powers of the internet. Thank you cards? a thing of the past. There isn't much we can do about plagerism or re publishing .. once something is out there, it seems it is just fair game even with copyrights. So we resign ourselves and just roll with it.
And for "us girl" ~ i tried to find you, googled you like crazy, searched every page of your web site to try and find who the person was behind the site..I want to send YOU a thank you card!!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Elizabeth Taylor has always been one of my very favorite acresses. She was a true "movie star" in all aspects of the word.
And I admire her not only as an actress, but a humanitarian as well. She tirelessly gives to charities and supports them. As young as 15, she was called "The most beautiful woman in the world, " as well as "Top Ten Most Beautiful Eyes."
The female equilivent of the English "Sir".. Ms Taylor was knighted "Dame". I have also admired her fashion well. She is now and has always been an amazing fashion icon. From the full skirts and demure gloves of the 50s to the turbans and fun hats of the 60s and 70s and even hot pants.. always dramatic on screen and off.
Caftans and Goddess style dresses were made for her, and she wore them well. Accessories? We all know of her fabulous jewelry and diamond gifts from husband Richard Burton.
I also think she probably did more for slips than any lingerie advertising agency could dream of. Can you imagine the slip sales after her appearance in a lacy full slip in her 1958 movie, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof".. overnight slips became dramatic, provocative and sexy.
Then she did it again in 1960 in the movie Butterfield 8.. more seductive slips. Liz again showed us lingerie can be fabulous.
Vintage slips are fascinating and beautiful, a style to enhance any figure type.. There is nothing sexier than just a peek of the lace hem of a slip under a dress. Vintage slips have empire waist seams if you are thin, or side darted seams to slim you.
They come demure and plain, to lots of lace or crystal pleated chiffon hems. There really is a huge variety available in vintage, unlike most slips made today.
If you are brave, wear one as a dress. So many slips from the 50s and 60s are lined and or have zippers for a precise fit, fabulous, perfect as a little dress.
They also could be worn "multi purpose.". under a skirt, the top of the slip exposed as a blouse under a cute jacket or blazer.
Or, as Liz Taylor demonstrated so beautifully, skip the nightgown and just wear a slip!
here's just a small sampling of slips available in my shop:
and in Raia's:
Don't see your size, color or a style you want? just email us.. trust me.. i'm sure we have one! lol.. Abundunt supplies of slips between the two of us! :D
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
The kids are back to school and all the after school activities have already started. Football schedules are out.. And of course the highlight of football season is Homecoming.. the parade, the pep rally and the all - important Homecoming dance.
Trends the last few years have been short dresses.. with some girls opting for a more long formal gown as well.. Each of us chooses what looks best on us, and what we are more comfortable in.
If you going in a limo, and want a more elegant experience, you might want to consider a long floor length gown.
If you are going with a group of your best girl friends, and plan on dancing till you drop, a short dress would probably be more comfortable.
You can look and feel like a princess in a pink full ball gown? Are you shy and modest, so prefer straps on your dress to strapless? A peek-back dress would be cute. Is your favorite color blue? Does peach flatter your hair coloring? Does green make your eyes sparkle and pop?
There are so many things to consider for this important event.. and you want to make sure you get the most perfect dress to flatter you and suit your personality and be the dress of your dreams.
Most of all, we're sure your parents would appreciate if you saved them a little money and considered vintage. Vintage has style, is unique, incredible fabrics and superior construction.
You are sure to find the perfect dress in vintage way more inexpensive than at a store. And, you can be sure you and your arch enemy will not show up in the most popular seller, same dress from a chain store. Don't forget, if you fall in love with a long dress, but prefer short, a dress can be altered to the right lenght for you. Here are just a few of the many available in our shops: