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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tips and Tricks Thursday: Caring for Your Handmade Clothes

I figured we should write a blog about this topic since we write patterns on how-to make handmade clothing, but have never discussed how to care for all these clothes you create. Caring for a handmade garment requires special care from the clothes that you purchase from a store.

Kiki, Kara, and Mia Patterns made using cotton fabrics.
First, we suggest you use 100% Cotton Designer fabrics. Why? Well, in our personal boutiqes we demand quality products for our customers and these fabrics are thick, sturdy, and can hold up to the crazy lifestyle of toddlers and young kids. Just ask any of our customers! Second, cottons are a great choice for wash-ability and, hello, they are cotton so they are breathable and perfect for all seasons! Finally, the choices in fabric designs are far superior to that of other fabrics. And if there is anything I know about customers is they LOVE choices!

For the past couple months my daughter has been wearing about 90% handmade clothes and I have been following the regimen below when I wash her clothes. Up to now, her clothes still look practically brand new, fit exactly the same as when I first made them, and are not faded really.

1. I only wash the clothes in cold water. Warm or hot water has a tendency to shrink clothes and fade the colors terribly. This is especially true with handmade clothes.

2. For stains, spot clean using Shout where needed. My daughter has been very BAD to her boutique clothes, but no one can tell thanks to Shout--no this is not promotional, although I could help them make an awesome commercial starring my daughter. lol. I have also used Resolve with great success!

3. Now the MOST important part. I hang dry all my clothes and highly recommend it! Oh dryer, how I love thee, but let me count the ways as to why you are never to see my handmade/boutique clothes again:
  • You toss my hard work around like you don't give a damn! You've even been known to snag some things. Did you ever think about what this does to the seams on my heart the clothes ?
  • When you toss the clothes around, you create static cling. I wish for my daughter to wear my clothes not have my clothes wear her.
  • You are too sexy HOT for my boutique clothes and they can not handle you. All that heat causes them to fade, and worse yet, shrink. I know you don't have any children--that I know of--but they grow like weeds and boutique clothes are too expensive to take that chance. Oh, and that piling! You can keep it!
  • Did I mention you are expensive to keep up?
But what about the stiff feeling I am left with when I air dry? I know that's what you are thinking right now. Well I have a couple solutions:
  • You can use fabric softener in the washing machine.
  • You can use vinegar in the washing machine. No, it will not leave that horrid smell lingering on your clothes.
  • Fluff dry on cool for 10 min. when they are done line drying, ie NO HEAT!
  • Or you can do what I do and iron; its this antique process that people used to do back in the day, you should Google it!
If you simply must dry your your clothes in the dryer, dry it on the absolute lowest heat setting and take them out immediately. Be forewarned that they WILL shrink, there will (eventually) be piling and fading, as well.

I hope this post was informative and helpful...if nothing else at least a little entertaining! Let me know if you have any tips or tricks you do! Also, feel free to share this with all of your boutique or sewing friends!

1 comment:

  1. I die a little inside every time my mom does me a favor and washes and dries some of my kids clothes, lol. The stiffness from hang drying goes away a few minutes into wearing the garment, I find!