Hey everyone! Here is some great tips on vintage fabrics from our sponsor Rachel @ Cute Vintage! Please visit her site and enjoy these great tips! Go ahead Rachel!
Okay - so we all like a little vintage, and can either thrift or splurge on our hand-me-down purchases, but, when it comes to buying vintage, what fabrics work best for modern times? and if we thrift a little something-something that's less than perfect, how do we go about repairing it?
Here a few things to think about when on your next thrifting spree -
Acrylic wool. If you're prone to a little skin sensitivity, avoid acrylic wool like the plague. I love nothing better than a little beaded/sequined 80s wool throw-back or a Norwegian inspired knit. However, if labels are still attached - check the wool content of the fabric, as acrylic wool can be incredibly itchy to wear, and has once or twice brought me out in a rash. AND acrylic wool (or wool period) is a bit of a nightmare to keep, as it tends to get moth eaten. So pre-purchase, check over your jumper to make sure there aren't any teeny-tiny bug holes. If there are, don't pay more than a couple quid for it as once moth eaten-always moth eaten. You can darn wool, but it will be noticeable.
Lace. Lace can be a complete and utter nightmare. Old white lace WILL turn yellow, so if your aim is crisp white don't bother with vintage lace. Having said that, you can take lace to a specialist dry cleaners to be treated - but there's no promise the saffron hue will leave. Consider dying lace - it tends to be the easiest way to restore a piece back to its' former glory.
Lycra/Stretch synthetic fabrics. I learned the hard way that leggings in the 90s should stay in the 90s. Like most people (I suppose) my highstreet bought leggings sometimes loose their elasticity, and tend to crinkle around me knees after I've had them for a while - but a wash at 90, and they usually snap back into their original size. However - vintage fabrics don't always take so well to a hot wash...as I learned when I disintegrated a pair of vintage leggings in the wash. I was left out of pocket with strips of age-old Lycra stuck to my washer.
Poly-cotton/Synthetic mix. Anything synthetic, especially around the 70s era will itch. During the 60s and 70s, fabrics like crepes, and synthetic mixes became a huge factor in highstreet fashion, and as great as they all looked in their jumpsuits - some of these fabrics are not fit for 2012. For that reason, I tend to stock up on vintage sewing patterns for simple cut dresses and jumpsuits and remake an original pattern with fabric that's kind to my skin instead!
Easy to repair:
Cotton. The old faithful of fabrics, cotton is a vintage lovers best friend. Easy to wash, and easy to rework or restore. So long as you're handy with a needle and thread, you can repair almost anything that's made from cotton fabric. The most common problem I find when thrifting is a burst seam - you can sew by hand or with machine, but all in all a split seam is no big deal (ask your Gran for help if you get stuck).
Leather. Vintage leather can be a little daunting at first. Stained leather looks so unsightly, it often seems worse than it is. Remember - leather can ALWAYS be dyed. No mater how bad the condition of a stain on leather or suede, you can always dye it a darker colour to cover it. So long as you can sew, read the instructions on a dye box, and have a trusted dry cleaner on speed dial - thrift to your hearts content. However, before spending your hard earned dosh on a bigger or more expensive piece of vintage, consider the time it will take you to get the item back up to the standard it once was and how much cash you'll need to shell out along the way!
Over and out, Rach.x