Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Visit to the Dry-Cleaners

No, I was not showing off my accurately made undergarments. I was not trying to walk blindfolded. I was not even trying to play hide-and-seek with my friends....

I had pulled up my new 1876 fluffy white and pink skirt covering my body up to my neck to keep it all clean as I rolled into my friend's vehicle for the brief ride over to the dance hall.

Well, I had the terrible misfortune of somehow brushing the pink taffeta train against a car tire, smearing black road grime on it. Oh no! And I tried so hard to keep that from happening.

So, off I trotted to the dry-cleaners a couple weeks ago to see if they could do anything for the blemished silk. I convinced them that all I wanted was the dark stains out (or at least lessened), and that they did not have to torture themselves in pressing my gathered monster.

I picked up my skirt today - and the stains were gone! You have to look really hard to see where they were too.

I was quite nervous as to how the skirt would turn out. I did notice that the hand of the fabrics were definitely changed - something had been done to the skirt. And the organdy base of the overskirt was a bit softer. I'm really hoping my mentor, Michelle, is right about organdy in that it "pops back up" when it's ironed.

And the batiste, even without ironing, doesn't look much different than when I took it in. Yea! I think just a quick steam will set this thing all right again.

So case in point: if you must dry clean your historical clothes, ask that they DO NOT PRESS them. One, it will save you money. Two, you made the clothes and therefore know how to press and iron them the way they should be.

But beware: Last year I took in my husband's Civil War sack coat for its once-a-year cleaning. I specifically said not to press, but alas - it came back pressed as a modern-day dinner jacket with a lapel. Hmmm.... The coat is flat front and buttons up to the neck with four center front buttons. How or why they pressed lapels into it I will never understand.

So remember: Demand they DO NOT PRESS your historical costumes.

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