Best way to keep fabric healthy is to limit skin oils touching any antique vintage clothing article to avoid skin oil, makeup, lotions, antiperspirants and perspiration which can significantly weaken your fabric. Carefully baste underarm guards inside seam edges and carefully clean or brush the armpit area afterwards, or if it's absolutely necessary, take it to a professional cleaner if it's sturdy. Underarm guards are always a must, as is repeated powdering without fragrtance! Un-fragranced cornstarch baby powder or add that mixture to rice powder and layer over antiperspirant to help avoid watery perspiration marks since most Victorian clothing is fairly form fitting and can become warm over time. Perspiration is one of the worst enemies of vintage or antique clothing. Basting inside a new shift can be helpful as if you make it of cotton, it is washable and saves your garment.
| Proper fitting of a garment is imperative! Please don't attempt to squeeze into old antique clothing and strain seams. Check your measurements carefully first and alow at least extra 1/2" for ease of movement in not more. Have a friend carefully measure you, since an estimated size 8 from 1880 and 2002 are NOT the same, like a woman who is a 36A and a woman who is a 32D, although the measurements are the same, the fitting around the bust and back won't be. It's important to wear the undergarments you'll be wearing underneath (like a proper chemise, corset, corset covers and petticoats) while measuring. You may find your overall body measurements might have increased over an inch or more. Then add the extra 1/2" for ease of movement. Measure with the shoes you'll be wearing and you should have a comfortable fit.Please view my Measurements.page|
Always have someone assist you getting in and out of elaborate Victorian dresses or Edwardian gowns. Keep in mind, ladies in days gone by had maids. Getting antique items on is always easier, but you have to be careful when removing them, because they tend to catch on the pins in your hair, bustles, corset strings and flounced Victorian petticoats. Also, be careful to not step on dress ruffles, lace or hems when stepping out of your skirts. Make sure hooks aren't catching on lace.
| As an added precaution, I also highly suggest stabilizing ALL buttons and snaps before wearing or placing on a mannequin with a heavy cotton thread (no polyester thread). Quilters or carpet thread this acceptable or use 100% silk fly-tying threadwhich is unbelievably strong for how ultra-fine it is. Any weak trims or looseseams should be immediantly stabilized and mended, possibly backed before wearing or for fashion shows.I also suggest making a fine, handkerchief fabric inner liner (possibly removable) to your measurements the item is to be wornto protect delicate dress innards. If you haven't worn the dress yet, or in a while; deicately sit down in the dress before the event and make sure the fabric and thread in the seams aren't stressed or becoming weak.|
Have someone else drive to your period event whenever possible. Be careful getting in and out of the vehicle, watching for catching items like weak jet beaded tassels and silk chiffon ruched trains. Place a smooth or silky fabric underneath you on the seat so there's no "rubbing" friction against roughseat fibers. Try not to straighten and adjust skirts as you slide inside and out. Adjusting causes stress. If you're planning to eat while wearing your frock, consider wearing a bib, or add extra napkins or an apron. Even though it won't look so dainty, using two napkins (one at the neck) can save your dress. One drop of spaghetti sauce or salad oil down the center can ruin a dainty silk frock. It is better to use common sense and precautions than to risk irreversible damage.