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Tutorial: Basic Victory Rolls

1/29/12

You Tube, Ahoy! It took me 3 days but I -finally- figured out how to make a video and edit it.  I decided that a You Tube channel would the best way of doing my tutorials. In video, you can see my movements and you don't have to wait for Pj to come home and take pictures for me! I hope that this You Tube things allows me to do tutorials more frequently. If you get tired of my camera silliness and want the photo tutorials back, just tell me and I'll make that happen!

 Anyways, I did this tutorial over a year ago but my methods have changed a lot since then so I wanted to show you the way I do them now. Since Rhys fell asleep in my bedroom, I had to do record this video in the silent film method. I have a feeling that there will be a lot of that happening when I do my tutorials on the weekdays while Pj is at work.

 This tutorial is done on dry, straight hair. I will be doing a similar tutorial for victory rolls with pin curls soon. If anyone has any questions or problems, please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to help. Hope you enjoy!

NOTE: this video has music to it, so if you're at work or have sleeping kids next to you, be sure to turn your volume down before you hit play! :)

Trivia Night

1/28/12



 Last night, we dropped the kids off with my mama and joined Pj's family for trivia night at my mother in law's church. It's an annual event to fund raise for the youth group's mission trip.

 We had a -really- awesome team for trvia. Pj is a wealth of all kinds of knowledge from movies, military, history, geography, mechanics, science....welll- he's a really smart guy! My brother in law is also amazing at trivia being a huge sports fan and movie lover. Some of the questions involved tasting jelly beans and having to figure out what the exact name of the flavor is. For another round, we had to identify different breakfast cereals. We got to choose a category to get double points in so naturally, we picked the movie category. I'm so glad that we did because we got all 10 questions right, thanks to Pj and my brother in law.



Oh, today is Pj's birthday so last night, his mom brought him a tiny birthday cake. We're going out for sushi and arcade games tonight to celebrate.
We all had a blast playing and by the end of the night, our team won!! We are still in disbelief but we have our balloon trophy to show for it!

I wore one of my new dresses from Donnaland and bracelet sent to me by Jesse Anne Designs. It matched my new dress perfectly. Thank you, Jesse! 

Outfit
Vintage 50's dress- Donnaland
crinoline- estate sale
belt-thrifted
white cardigan- thrifted, salvation army
flats-target
vintage necklace- from Great Grandma Alma

p.s. I'm working on my first YouTube tutorial but YouTube is being a pill so I'll post it as soon as I can figure out what I'm doing wrong!

Friday Fashionistas: Lana Turner

1/27/12


how to dress like lana turner and get her vintage style




"A successful man is one who makes more money than a wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man." - Lana Turner


The Lady
Julia Jean Mildred Frances Turner was born in Idaho on February 8 1921. As a girl, she loved going to the theater, especially to admire the beautiful costumes of her favorite silver screen starlets. One night, her father was robbed and murdered after a night of gambling. Very poor and in bad health, her mother moved herself and her daughter to Los Angeles. At age 16, she went to The Top Hat Cafe to buy a coke and was spotted by a publisher of The Hollywood Reporter. In admiration of her beauty, he referred her to a local talent agent.

Lana in "They Won't Forget"

The Legend
“At what age does a lady become a legend? For me it was fifty-four.”- Lana Turner

Lana Turner was cast in the 1937 film "They Wont Forget" and due to her tight, alluring sweater earned the nickname "The Sweater Girl". The sweater girl look of a fitted sweater over a pointy bra was popular from her debut to the 50's.

Lana often said that if she wasn't an actress, she would have been a fashion designer. She adored fashionand at one point, owned 689 pairs of shoes.
From lanaturner.org, "Once a fire broke out at her apartment, forcing her to evacuate. Naturally, Lana grabbed only the essentials: lipstick, eyebrow pencil, and a hairdryer."
She wore many incredible costumes throughout her acting career. Probably the most notable was her sexy all white ensemble in The Postman Always Rings Twice.



Get the Look
Lana loved that old Hollywood glamor. Luxurious, fitted sweaters, fur accessories, sparkle and white are all Lana trademarks.


Heartbreaker

1/25/12


This dress was one of those heartbreakers. When you see it, you fall in love before even touching it. It's a dream of a dress but you know before looking at the tag that it's way out of your price range. It happens to me all the time and I usually just pass by to avoid the disappointment. This time, it happened to me at Donnaland. I saw it hanging on a rack, looking pristine and adorable, with its little matching belt. It was my size and everything.



I passed over it about 3 times and finally gave in right before we left.  Donna had just bought it from a local lady's collection and gave me an amazing deal on it. For that, I proclaimed her to be the Goddess of Vintage. It's one of my new favorite dresses. I wore it last night for the first time. I feel like a million bucks in this dress!!
  Please excuse my blue fingernails. Olivia and I did mommy-livvie manicures the other night and she insisted that we have matching nails. I kind of like it. It takes me back to my middle school days of glitter, huge pants and blue hair.  Rhys needed some snuggles while I was in the middle of taking outfit pics. He's a major cuddle bug!




Vintage Dress-Donnaland
Shoes-thrifted by Mudd
Sterling airplane earrings-St. Charles Antique mall

Blog of the Month: Diary of a Vintage Girl

1/24/12


The first blog of the month for 2012 is the fabulous Diary of a Vintage Girl, written by pin up model, writer and vintage socialite,  Fleur de Guerre.

 I've been reading and loving Diary of a Vintage Girl for years. I love her classic 40's style, her candid party pics and fun-loving personality.  Read on for some not-so-well-known facts, tips and musings from Fleur de Guerre...

 Thank you so much for this interview. It's such a pleasure to have you here!
One thing that really made your blog stand out to me is that you work as a part time pin up model. I'm sure that it can be very intimidating work.  What is your best piece of advice for ladies who want to become a vintage/pin up model?  What is your best pin up tip?

Know your best angles! People always giggle at me when I'm being snapped by friends at events and so forth, but that's because after many shoots I know how to pose so I look my best. For your first shoot you definitely want to hire a pro who will give you posing advice as well as know the art of the pinup photo. After that, you can take your skills and use them with less experienced photographers. Those are my top tips!  

For many of us fashion bloggers, our passion for fashion goes back to our childhood. Did you play dress up as a girl? If so, what was your favorite thing to wear?

Of course! My favourite thing ever was a flamenco dress that was in my granny's dressing up box. I can't even remember what colour it was, but it was polka dotted and ruffly. This explains a lot about my taste in dresses now!   




We love reading about all of your parties and events with The Vintage Mafia. Can you give some advice about how to find events or organize meet-ups in our hometowns?

Organizing events is stressful but rewarding. I love putting on the sorts of events that I love to go to - not too costumey and not too purist, somewhere right in the middle. In London it's so easy to find like-minded folks, but in smaller towns I guess you just have to turn to social media and use it to seek others out. As for putting them on, the best thing is to find a venue run by a friendly and nice person, who will let you host parties and only take money on the bar rather than hire fees. Like so much in life, it's all about networking! 
The fabulous Vintage Mafia via The Vintage Mafia
 With your posts on fitness and everyday glamor, you have really inspired us to carry on and be fabulous even when we're feeling our worst. What is the one thing that always perks you up, no matter what?

Seeing friends, hugging my cat, watching my favourite comedy shows on TV (or reading funny sites). When your hair turns out perfectly (usually when at home and not seeing anyone else)! 



Weather you're dressed to the nines or relaxing in trousers and a cardigan, you always look so flawless.  What is the most important part of a 1940's look?

The hair! Not even the makeup and certainly not the clothes. I manage to look 40s when I'm in 21st century clothes and with no lipstick on, and that's because my hair is usually done in the style. 

Thank so much to Fleur for the lovely interview. Pop over to read more about her and her fabulous vintage life at Diary of a Vintage Girl and at The Vintage Mafia


Giveaway Week Winners!!

1/23/12

I hope that everyone had fun with giveaway week. I spent my non-fashion time cleaning house, sewing a dress for a friend and playing with my kiddos, which is always wonderful.

 Anyway on to our lucky 7! I used a random number generator to choose each winner and here they are....

winner of 5 PDF patterns from Mrs. Depew- Zannukene from My Small Life

winner of snood and fridge magnet from Arthelia's Attic-The Black Pinafore

winner of gift certificate/surprise from Jesse Anne Designs- Ruby RockOla from Caught the Rockabilly Fever

winner of vintage jewelry set from Art Deco Dame- Adarhysenthe from Adara's Dollies

winner of ace of clubs earrings from Amourx - Isis from Fashionable Forties

winner of cook book, apron, special surprise from Vintage Curve-Swell Dame's Parlour

winner of vintage rhinestone earrings from Long day Arts-Charlotte from Sew far Sew Good


Congratulations to the winners! Please email me at brittanyvavoomvintage@gmail.com with your mailing address and email address. Your contact info will be forwarded to the sponsor, who will then send your gift to you.

Thank you again to all of our fantastic sponsors for the beautiful prizes and to all of you lovely readers for stopping by my blog. Please be sure to follow each of the sponsors for updates on their future promotions and pretty things.  I have some vintage fun and beauty tutorials coming this week and next so stay tuned, sweeties!

Ended-Giveaway Week: Long Day Arts

1/22/12

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your entry!
All giveaways will end tomorrow so if you haven't entered some of them, enter before Monday! :)

Our final giveaway this week is sponsored by Long Day Arts

 The lady behind Long Day Arts is Chastity, a new wife, painter, blogger and jewelry designer. Her shop is an ecelectic collection of her art, jewelry and newly added vintage items.




Today, Chastity is giving away these elegant rhinestone drop earrings to one lucky winner.



 To Enter, leave a comment below with your favorite item from Long Day Art

 Stay up to date on Chastity's giveaways, features and new art pieces on her blog, Long Day Arts

* all images from Long Day Arts

Ended-Giveaway Week: Vintage Curve

1/21/12

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your entry!

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Vintage Curve


 Vintage Curve fills a void in today's vintage market,  specializing in plus sized clothing from the 1940's and 1950's in addition to fabulous retro accessories for every shape and size.  Denise is such a doll and was kind enough to put together a fun prize to fit every girl.


 One lucky winner will receive a vintage sheer lilac chiffon apron, and a 50s cooking booklet entitled "dishes men like".
Denise says, "although I suppose if you are the type of person who wears sheer aprons to do the cooking, you yourself will be the dish men like :) "
The apron is generously proportioned to fit a variety of sizes, not one of those tiny vintage ones you usually find.
Denise is also throwing in a 25% off coupon to Vintage Curve and a secret surprise for the winner! 

To Enter: Be a follower of my blog and visit Vintage Curve to tell me what's your favorite item from her shop.

 The winner will be announced on Monday, January 23rd.

Ended-Giveaway Week: Amourx

1/20/12

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your entry!

It's day 5 of giveaway week. Don't forget, you can enter every giveaway this week until Monday! Today's giveaway is sponsored by Amourx






Amourx specializes in handmade modern and vintage inspired jewelry and accessories. Each design is as sweet as the last. I especially love the fat little bunnies!



 Colleen is giving away this adorable pair of acrylic ace of clubs earrings. "2 Acrylic cut clubs have been securely adhered onto quality surgical steel earring posts and comes with matching butterfly backs."



To Enter Be a follower of my blog and visit Amourx to tell me in a comment what your favorite item is.

 The winner will be announced on January 23rd. Stay up to date on her newest designs and listings by "liking" Amourx on Facebook. More giveaways are coming throughout the weekend!

Ended-Giveaway Week: Art Deco Dame

1/19/12

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your entry!

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Art Deco Dame

 She's a blogger, momma, etsian and vintage enthusiast. You can see her on her blog, Pretty Little Things and in her etsy shop, Art Deco Dame. Art Deco Dame sells vintage clothing, accessories, home decor and whimsical kitsch for the home.  Today, she's giving away a vintage jewelry set to one lucky winner!





She says:
"Such a fun set! The beads are beautiful and full of sparkle.The end of the double strand has rhinestones in the bar.Total length is 18 and 1/4 inches and can be shortened to desired length.Earrings are clip on and are 1 and 3/8 inches tall."

To enter, visit Art Deco Dame and tell me what your favorite item is in a comment below.

The winner will be announced on Monday, January 23rd.

 For shop updates, kitschy home decor, fashion love and vintage fun, be sure to follow Pretty Little Things.

It's not too late to enter my other giveaways posted this week. All giveaways close on Monday.

Ended- Giveaway Week: Jesse Anne Designs

1/18/12

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your entry!

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Jesse Anne Designs


Jesse Ann is a creator of lovely artisan jewelry. Happiness, whimsy and pure sweetness is what you'll find in her shop. I love her hand painted necklaces, resin cuff bracelets and adorable nesting doll earrings.
 Today, Jesse Ann is giving away a $10 gift certificate to her etsy shop and a special secret surprise to one lucky winner.


To Enter
 be a follower of my blog and leave a comment telling me what's your favorite item from Jesse Anne Designs.

The winner will be announced on Monday, January 23rd

 For updates on her latest listings, favorite etsy finds and beautiful, inspiring things, be sure to follow the Jesse Anne Designs blog. and like her on facebook






*all photos from Jesse Anne Designs*

Ended- Giveaway Week: Arthelia's Attic

1/17/12

This giveaway is now closed. thank you for your entry!

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Arthelia's Attic


  Arthelia's Attic is known for their gorgeous, high quality 1940's snoods, which have been featured in Victory Girls Magazine and worn by all of your favorite pin up girls. They are crocheted by hand, using the perfect yarn to give you a historically accurate drape and to prevent slipping. 

 Naomi is giving away one of her 1940's snoods to one lucky winner (in the winner's choice of available colors) and an Arthelia's Attic 2012 calendar photo fridge magnet.


 To Enter: Be a follower of my blog and "like" Arthelia's Attic on facebook

The winner will be announced on Monday, January 23rd

for updates, be sure to follow Arthelia's Attic on Twitter

Ended-Giveaway Week: Mrs. Depew Vintage

1/16/12


This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for your entry!

Okay, it's time to kick off giveaway week in celebration of 1,000 followers!

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Mrs Depew!

 Anna is a fellow blogger, vintage sewing enthusiast and etsian. In her shop, Mrs Depew Vintage , she carries paper and pdf vintage patterns, fabric and vintage fashion booklets.  Some of her most popular patterns include her vintage lingerie and swimsuit patterns. She recently added some of the cutest





She is offering 5 of her fabulous PDF patterns to one lucky winner!

To Enter, follow my blog and visit Mrs. Depew Vintage and leave a comment with your favorite item from her shop.

The winner will be announced on Monday, January 23rd!

For shop updates, sewing adventures, tips, sew-a-longs and fashion fun, be sure to follow Anna's blog, A Few Threads Loose and see her on facebook

Stay tuned for more fabulous giveaways all week!!

1,000 Follower Giveaway Week!

1/14/12


I am so thrilled to announce that Va-Voom Vintage has reached over 1,000 followers! I can't believe it!

I've said it before but I cannot thank you enough for reading my blog. Every comment, email, new follower means so much to me. I have been so inspired by all of you. This year, I hope to really focus more on blogging with loads of tutorials and wonderful things that we all love.

 To celebrate this amazing milestone, I've requested the assistance of some wonderful sponsors to bring you an entire week of giveaways! Giveaway week begins on Monday.

How to Enter
Each day, I will post a new giveaway, which are open to followers of my blog. You will have all week to enter the giveaways. All  winners will be announced on Monday, January 23rd.

To be kept up to date on the giveaways, follow me on twitter, facebook and of course, here

Thank you to all of the wonderful sponsors for their generosity and thank you to my dear readers for your encouragement and inspiration.

Friday Fashionistas: Marlene Dietrich

1/13/12


How to dress like marlene dietrich and get her vintage style





"I dress for myself. Not for the image, not for the public, not for the fashion, not for men."

The  Lady
Marlene Dietrich was born in Germany in 1901. As a young girl, she dreamed of becoming a professional violinist. During her early years, she took on many theater roles during the 20's but it wasn't until her 1929 role in The Blue Angel that she really got noticed and was able to get a contract with Paramount Pictures .During the time of high fashion, feminine dresses, Marlene Dietrich cultivated her own style with her sultry look and androgynous wardrobe.



Her Legacy
She was oddly beautiful, exotic, alluring and one of the highest paid actresses of her time. On screen, her costumes were very outlandish, with beading, veils, top hats and tail coats but in her real life, she often wore comfortable menswear. Dietrich was the first Hollywood actress to wear trousers in public. "Her masculinity appeals to women and her sexuality to men."said Kenneth Tynan, a film critic.  She was known for her epic bone structure, her bedroom eyes and above all, the legs! She was certainly a woman ahead of her time, scandalizing the world with her sexual comments, rumors of bisexual love affairs and that undeniable Dietrich mystique. Weather shocked or excited, no one could take their eyes off her.




Get The Look 


"Don't ever follow the latest trend, because in a short time you will look ridiculous, don't follow it blindly into every dark alley. Always remember that you are not a model or a mannequin for which the fashion is created."-Marlene Dietrich








How To Wash Vintage Clothes

1/9/12

how to wash vintage clothes


I'm so sorry, this is an incredibly long, possibly boring post but I wanted to be sure to cover all of the details of washing vintage clothes. This is such an important topic because one wrong move can destroy a piece of fashion history.

After my adventures in a clothing warehouse, I've been spending most of my time leaning over the bathtub, washing all of the old grit and grime out of my new clothes and I thought I'd share my experiences with all of you.

 Every time you wash a t-shirt or pair of jeans, the color fades and the fibers in the fabric break down. We've all had laundry disasters with modern clothing but an oops moment with a vintage dress can be devastating.

 I'm not a textile preservation specialist (although that would be an -awesome- job) but I've done my best to check valid resources on the topic of vintage laundry and fiber care. The number one rule for vintage laundry is:  if in doubt, look it up or ask a professional dry cleaner.

If you have any tips or advice on vintage laundry, please do share in a comment below! There are a lot of conflicting statements regarding vintage laundry and the best detergent/stain removers so I'm only suggesting products that I've used personally.




Determine your Fabric Content

Fabric Study
The most important thing to know about washing your vintage clothes is knowledge of fabrics.  I've learned a lot about fabrics through sewing or simply visiting a fabric store. Feel fabrics, read the label to see what it is and take notes. You can get tiny swatches of fabric and keep it in a notebook with cleaning instructions.

 Fiber Burn Testing
Another way to determine what kind of fabric you're dealing with is through a fiber burn test. To do a fiber burn test, turn your garment inside out and try to find a little snippet of fabric along the hem or seam that you can carefully remove for testing without causing damage to the garment.

You only need a tiny piece about 1/3 the size of your pinky fingernail. While standing over a metal or porcelain sink of water, hold the fabric piece with a pair of tweezers and light it on fire. This is easily done with a candle. Observe the fabric as it burns and note the scent that comes from the burning fabric. Use this chart to determine your fiber content.

Caution: some fabrics will burn and drip down, which can cause damage to your home or injury to you. Keep your hair and clothing away from the flame and use extreme caution when burning fabrics. Keep the burning fiber over a sink full of water. I will not be held responsible for anyone who lights their head on fire

  Vintage Fabrics 

Many widely-known fabrics have been around for a very long time. In the court of Queen Elizabeth taffeta and velvet was all the rage in high fashion. However, there are a lot of modern fabrics that have come around fairly recently. These are just some of the fabrics that you may find in your vintage wardrobe . For a better list of fabric descriptions, check here

Cottons and Linens

Washing-
Cottons may be washed by hand and line dried or lay flat to dry. For linen, dry clean to keep fabric crisp or hand wash, no bleach and dry flat. Hand washing softens linen. Machine drying can shrink linens.

corduroy- strong cotton fabric with textured ribs
muslin- light, fine cotton
piqué- stiff fabric of cotton. Pique is a woven fabric, often with raised geometric shapes.
cotton voile-soft fine sheer fabric
dungaree-heavy, twilled cotton
moleskin  -heavy, strong cotton
poplin- heavy, durable fabric with noticeable ridges
linen- light to medium fabric similar to cotton but more expensive.


 Silks  
Washing: Dry cleaning is usually preferred. Hand washing is possible but use body temperature water and mild detergent. Lay flat to dry.

brocade- brocades are rich, silky fabrics with raised, textured patterns, often floral
chiffon- sheer, lightweight flowing silk
organza- sheer, flowing silk often made with nylon today
pique- woven fabric, often with raised geometric shapes.
Satin- closely woven silk with smooth sheen
Taffeta- thin, glossy silk, often stiff with a crinkly sound
poplin- heavy, durable fabric with noticeable ridges

Wools
Washing: Generally, people take wools to the dry cleaner but dry cleaning is not always the best option for vintage wools. If you opt for the dry cleaning route, take it to a good cleaner that someone  has recommended or that you have experience with.

Wool can also be washed by hand but it must be done carefully. Wool can be hand washed in Woolite or Eucalan. Agitating the wool too much can cause shrinkage too so be sure to just let it be. When removing wool from a wash basin, lift it carefully so the garment doesn't just hang there. Pulling on the fibers can cause them to stretch or break so wet wool must be laid flat to dry and blocked to keep its original shape.

Test your wool garment's lining to be sure that it can be washed. It would be a shame to have a perfectly clean wool jacket with a shredding lining! Wool can be freshened up in many ways without washing it, see the "bad smells, mildew and nasty stains" section below for ideas to keep your wools in top shape.


Angora- silky, soft luxurious fabric made from the wool of Angora goats
Alpaca- fine, soft wool made from Alpaca hair
cashmere- soft fabric made of fine goat's wool
tweed-rough, twilled wool, usually for suits
sharkskin- smooth durable wool or worsted fabric

Other Fabrics
Washing- Many of these fabrics are made from different fibers so always try to determine your fiber content before laundering. Specific instructions are noted under some of these fabrics types.

Crepe-light crinkled fabric, made of silks, wool or synthetics. Many vintage crepes can get really screwed up if they get wet. Dry cleaning is often best for crepes.

velvet -soft piled fabric of silk, cotton or synthetic material. Hand wash, hang to dry.

acetate- synthetic fiber with a silky sheen. Most vintage acetate garments need to be dry cleaned.

acrylic- a synthetic substitute for expensive wool fabrics. Vintage acrylic may pill (get little lumps) in the dryer and may be itchy. If in doubt, hand wash and lay flat to dry.

nylon- very light weight yet strong. Dries quickly and may pill up in the dryer. Hand wash nylon and hang to dry.

lastex-yarn that has an elastic core wound around with cotton or silk or nylon or rayon threads, used in vintage girdles and other shape wear. Refer to washing vintage lingerie below.

rayon- popular vintage fabric made from cellulose. Strong fabric with many different weights. Wrinkles easily and may stretch or shrink when wet.

Dry cleaning rayon is often the best choice although some rayons can be washed by hand and lay flat to dry.  I have a rayon dress that shrank just a bit the first time I washed it so now I dry clean it.

rayon pique- woven fabric, often with raised geometric shapes.

How to Hand Wash Vintage Clothes


Before you take the plunge, its important to know that some vintage garments will fall apart if you get them wet. You can do your fiber test, check the label, use the mildest soap on the face of the earth and that thing will still fall to pieces.

 It happens...not often,. but it does happen. Again, try to use your best judgment and if in doubt, ask a reputable cleaner before laundering.

Via Vivatvintage.tumblr.com

                
Wash
Wash one item at a time in body temperature water. Vintage dyes tend to run or fade and could damage lighter fabrics if they are washed together.

Use caution on multi-colored fabrics. Let it soak for about 30 minutes, making sure that the garment isn't balled up in the water. If there are spots that need extra attention, dab at them with a clean sponge. Avoid scrubbing or swishing the wet fabric around in the water.

Rinse
To rinse, drain the dirty,soapy water out and let the tub water run over the garment for about 5 minutes or until the water is clear. I use my removable shower head to give each garment a really good rinse. I use a gentle setting on my shower head. Be sure to get all detergent out of the fabric.
Dry
Some fibers such as wool can become weak when wet, so if you lift a wet wool dress or knitted sweater by the shoulders and hang it on a line, the fibers may stretch and pull and result in a garment that doesn't fit like it did before.

For heavy items, carefully remove the garment from the rinse tub or basin and lay it flat on a white bath towel. Colored towels may damage a while or light colored garment.

Roll it up in the towel, gently squeezing out excess water, being careful to not stretch the fabric. You can do the same for most other garments. The fabric dye may stain your bath towel so I buy a few cheap towels to keep on hand for this.

After the excess water is removed, it's time to dry it. With knitted items, heavy things and anything that may warp when drying, I always lay it flat. With things like light blouses, cotton dresses and durable fabric skirts, I hang them to dry.

When drying an item, be sure that the drying surface is clean, dry and free of stains or dyes that may rub off onto your garment. I admit, I have a few plain, easy skirts and dresses that I drape over my stair banister or shower rod to dry but I always wipe the surface clean first. There's no point in washing a skirt to drape it over a dusty banister.

 I've washed vintage girdles and bras with excellent results by soaking them in warm water  with soap, sponging spots down and laying flat to dry. Be cautious when soaking metal to avoid rusting. If any of your girdle elastic has dry rot, they may crumble in the water.

If that happens, you can replace the elastic panels with new powernet and have a perfectly clean, wonderful girdle.


Dry Cleaning Vintage Clothes

Dry Cleaning is not always the best option for vintage clothing. Some garments can be completely ruined by dry cleaning. Dry Cleaning chemicals and heat used to dry clean can be very harsh on antique fabrics. Glues used to bind fabrics on wool suits can melt during the dry clean process, beading and sequins can fall apart, etc.

 Always use caution and take your garments to reputable cleaners that knows how to handle vintage clothing and ask them about their damage policy. If you're nervous or on a budget, you can do it yourself with a home dry clean kit.

You don't have to dry clean something after every wearing. Just like machine washing your jeans, fabrics break down after every washing. It's a good idea to clean an item as soon as you get it, to get out any musty smells but after that, only clean it as needed. See below for ideas on keeping your clothes from needing that extra cleaning.

     Bad Smells, Mildew and Nasty Stains

When wearing clothes that are older than your mom or grandmother, you'll come across some...errr, interesting things. Smells of smoke, tissues in the pockets, odd stains and spots, body odor, rust and who knows what else! The following are tried and true tips that I have used or collected from other sources. I hope that they help you to solve your pesky laundry problems!


Vinegar mixed with water has been used to remove odors but it may remove dye in fabrics as well, so test your fabric in an inconspicuous spot. Vinegar and water can be used to kill and treat mildew.

Baking soda and water mixed in a spray bottle helps with odors but if you just spray the smelly areas, it may leave a water ring. Try it on an inconspicuous area and let it dry completely before doing it on the whole garment. Some people have had success by spraying the whole garment to avoid water rings. This is a good trick for wools and works well on body odor.

Sunshine Hang a garment on a line in the sunshine all day (except white or light silk or wool- the sun may yellow them!). Sunshine will brighten white fabrics, remove nasty smells and kill problem mildew.

 Lemon Juice Fashion Era.com says this about rust "Lemon juice mixed with common household salt creates Oxalic Acid the traditional, but poisonous proprietary remover for rust stains.  Commercial products like Zud also work on rust."

Steam is a gentle way to de-wrinkle and freshen up your clothes. An affordable garment steamer or simply hanging in the bathroom during a steamy shower works wonders on many bad smells.

Fresh Air You wouldn't think that the vile stench coming from that suit can be fixed with fresh air but it's worth a try! Many vintage garments have been stashed in a grimy basement or stuffy attic for the past 50 years. Hang it up, open a window and set it near a bowl of vinegar, which also helps to soak up the stink.

Stain Removal Guide Although vintage and modern clothes are not treated equally, Chemistry.co for all sorts of stain removal ideas. As always, use your best judgment.

Dress Shields or underarm shields will protect your clothes from sweat and deodorant while you wear them. Wearing a full slip or undershirt for guys can help protect delicate fabrics from natural oils on your skin

Cleaning Products and Tools

Here are a few different detergents, soaps and cleaning products that many people have recommended for vintage laundry.



Woolite- a gentle detergent used for wools and other delicates. View the Woolite website for more info

Eucalan - gentle no-rinse cleaner used on wools View the website here

Dryel- an at-home dry cleaning product, available anywhere that sells laundry detergent. I have heard of some people may have an allergic reaction to Dryel so if you're worried, you can try it out on a t-shirt first. I've used Dryel on many of my vintage dresses and have never had any problems.

Whirlpool Fabric freshener- another at-home dry cleaning product, but this time it's a chemical-free machine.

Bleach- I've read that some people will use a little bit of bleach to wash vintage but I'm too much of a chicken to try it myself.  Bleach is so harsh and dangerous on modern clothes. If you need to whiten something, try the sunshine technique as mentioned above and try to save bleach for the last resort.

Dreft- A gentle detergent, marketed for baby clothes I use dreft to wash my baby clothes. It's very mild and has a really nice, powdery/flowey smell.

Ivory Snow- a gentle detergent for your delicates, sold in flakes and liquid form. It's my new detergent of choice. 

Oxyclean- I have used Oxyclean with success on almost all of my vintage items but it can be harsh so you must always be sure to rinse very well. Oxyclean must be dissolved completely  and works best in hot water, which may not be best for all fabrics.

 It's best to not use it on rayons or silks but it's good on things like cottons. I've rescued many sad, filthy garments by soaking overnight with Oxyclean. That can be risky depending on the fabric, so always think about it before you dive in.

Restoration- Antique and vintage clothing dealers swear by Restoration to clean antique textiles. It removes all kinds of bad stains and will not harm fabric.


A baby toothbrush- a toothbrush for babies or toddlers has very gentle bristles and can be used to scrub a stained spot.


A soft hair brush- a soft hair brush can be used to dust off clothes or smooth out the fibers on a wool garment.


 I'm so sorry that was so long-winded but I hope this helps with your vintage laundry day. Again, please leave any of your tried and true tips or advice on the subject in a comment below. Thanks and Happy Laundry Day!

how to wash vintage clothes
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