Vintage Sewing – Cleaning Vintage Fabrics - part 2

Vintage Sewing – Cleaning Vintage Fabrics - part 2


I’m learning so much about vintage sewing, hope you are too. Although I do not prewash my new fabric, you really don’t know where vintage fabric has been and sometimes it has a funky smell.  So…. This is what I found.


Washing and cleaning vintage fabric can be tricky. Prepping the fabric for sewing may be boring, but it is necessary. When working with vintage fabrics it’s important to take extra care when laundering and pressing. 

  1. Look at tags for fiber content. No tags? Your best guess is needed.  Comparing the feel to fabric you already have is the trick. When you think you have found one that feels similar, check the item / fabric ‘s content tag. If you are still doubtful, try spot cleaning a small area of the fabric. After it dries check for changes or damage.
  2. If the fabric is washable, use cold water and a light detergent. A little detergent goes a long way. 
  3. If you are wanting to lighten or bleach your vintage fabric. Lemon juice is safer than bleach and will quickly turn dingy whites bright and fresh. Add up to ¾ cup to a washing machine load. If hand washing in the sink use a few tablespoons to ¼ cup. Soaking items in a lemon juice/water mixture will also remove unwanted smells.
  4. There are many ways to clean your linens and remove stains on the internet, but I like to use this method. In a sink combine warm (not hot) water with white vinegar and Twenty Mule Team Borax. (You can add a drop of Ivory dish soap.) Soak for 10 to 15 mins, then lightly wash by hand. Do not twist or pull agitate too vigorously. This can cause tearing. Gently ring out water.  Gentle is the key word here! Placing items between dry towels will pull out excess moisture.
  5. Finally, its dry time. Take advantage of wind and sunshine. I place my treasures outside away from direct sunlight to dry on fluffy grass. Don’t hang them. The weight of the fabric may be too much for these vintage babies. By laying them down on the fluffy grass you are allowing the air to move around and reducing the stress on the fibers. Repeat as needed.
  6. Before pressing vintage fabrics refer to the fiber content to find the heat setting that is best. For delicate fabric lover heat setting a notch. A pressing cloth will protect the fabric from scorch marks. If a stubborn wrinkle is a problem, use a slightly hotter iron and steam. Let the fabric cool completely between each increase.

Thanks to National Sewing Circle for all the tips for sewing with vintage fabrics and notions.

Whether you are sewing vintage or using modern materials, Chateau Sew & Sew is waiting to help you. Call or come by.  

Continuing our vintage journey I have found the cutest curtains that soooo reminds me of the 1950’s. The pattern for Kitchen Curtains with Ribbon Ties will be available Monday March 13.

Come back for Part 3 of Vintage Sewing next week.

Another oldy but goodie recipe.  Spring is the perfect time for asparagus.  Young  and tender Yum!

Asparagus Casserole

1 No 2 can asparagus ( I use fresh and boil until tender)

4 hard cooked {boiled}eggs

1 1/2 cup grated cheese

1 cup mushroom soup (Cream of Mushroom)

Dash pepper & 1 teaspoon Salt

  1. Drain Asparagus.
  2. Place layers of asparagus and sliced hard-cooked eggs in buttered casserole {dish}.
  3. Sprinkle Cheese.
  4. Pour one-half of Mushroom Soup over this.
  5. Repeat Layers.
  6. Pour remainder of soup over contents of dish.
  7. {Bake} 350 degrees in oven until bubbly.


Susan & Karen