Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Vintage Christening Gown

I spent the last few days at my mother-in-law's helping her clean-up a room in her house.
Among the "treasures" was this christening gown that was folded up in an old Ked's shoe box. 
Oh, my! I went crazy over it...really, I did!

It's about 43 inches long and was made my husband's gr-grandmother, Ingeborg Lokken, for her son's
christening around 1895. My mother-in-law thinks she wore it, too...we'll be looking for pictures!



It has a combination of machine and hand sewing throughout the dress and attached slip.

There's a bit of damage in some places, but considering it's been sitting in that 
shoe box for who knows how many years it's in pretty good shape.

These were my mother-in-law's shoes that were also in the box.

I'm planning on displaying it in a shadow box, but I'm doing a little research first.

Wash or don't wash?
Anybody know the answer to this?

If it's a "yes" to being okay to wash and you've done this before, how did you do it? 
I know it would be hand washed only, no dry cleaning or washing machine!

I'm not worried about whitening it or removing stains,
but it really needs to be freshened up (a few weevil shells were in the folds.)

So...advice anyone?

28 comments:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

A gentle hand wash ( no washer an no dryer) in boiling water with 1/2 cup of baking soda. Make up your soda wash, let cool enough to hand temp. Soak for an hour, hand agitate, soak for another 1/2 to 1 hour. DO NOT wring out water - rinse with cool water. NEVER HANG IN SUN - sunlight will yellow and even brown vintage linens/fabrics. Lay flat on towel(s) to air dry. If you feel the need to iron, use a warm iron (no starch - causes yellowing)and press from the back side.

Gisela Suski said...

What a beautiful fine - the gown is so beautiful.

Lesley said...

What a treasure...so beautiful!

needle and nest said...

We have one in our family too, of around the same vintage. It's from my husband's family. I'm curious to see what kind if advice you receive. I've never had the guts to wash ours!

Needled Mom said...

It is really gorgeous. I have had good luck washing vintage linens by soaking them in a diluted Oxyclean solution. Gently wash and rinse before laying flat to dry.

Katherine said...

An amazing find, Carol! Wow, that gown is so beautiful, a real treasure.

Amy at love made my home said...

It is beautiful!!! xx

Elvira said...

Has encontrado un tesoro!!!!

Jeanie said...

I have no advice on how to take care of this garment, but wanted to comment on how wonderful it is that you have rescued the dress from the shoe box. It's so beautiful and now it will be appreciated.

Jeanie said...

I have no advice on how to take care of this garment, but wanted to comment on how wonderful it is that you have rescued the dress from the shoe box. It's so beautiful and now it will be appreciated.

Siouxzq64@gmail.com said...

That is truly gorgeous and a wonderful treasure.

StitchinByTheLake said...

Carol I agree with Sharon - careful is the key but definitely wash. It's beautiful and a real treasure for your family. blessings, marlene

Pierro said...

Rosemary B here:
Hand wash gently.
My mom stored a lot of things away in bags and trunks. One thing that I noticed is that she used a lot of sachets of dried lavender. Everything is in pristine condition.
Before you wash it, check over all of the seams and every bit to see how the stitching is holding up.
When you dry it, do not hang it, just lay it out on a big puffy towel or two layered. Then I would certainly try storing it forever in a special plastic case and store in your darkest closet. Make some lavender sachets. I have never made them but I have lots here. Is it easy to find? dunno that either.
Love always, Rm

Vickie said...

Wow Carol, what treasures a shoe box can hold....that is absolutely wonderful.....no wonder you had a fit when you found it ! I can't believe what good shape it's in....no advice for washing it other than do it CAREFULLY.

Sandy said...

Martha Pullen, who I have taken classes from, associated with Sew Beautiful magazine and an expert on vintage clothing always recommended a solution of Biz and water. I have used this method and it has whitened beautifully. Sometimes it is hard to find Biz depending on your locale. I don't remember the exact measurements, but I bet you could google it. Your gown is beautiful...what a treasure.

Linda Loosli said...

That dressing is so beautiful.....I hope you can find the picture/s of who may have worn it. What a treasure! I have Biz if you need some.

Lara B. said...

Wow wee what a wonderful treasure Carol! It's amazing what condition that little gown is in. Your shadow box idea is neat too! I'm no help with advice, but it looks like you got great help already.

Farm Quilter said...

No advice on cleaning this treasure, but it would be super if you could have both the dress and shoes in a shadow box, done by a professional with archival materials and glass that would block the light from harming the dress, so you could show them both off yet have them safe at the same time.

Janarama said...

Wow, what a beautiful gown and so amazing that it's in such good condition for being stored in a shoebox! I'd be terrified to wash something that is over 100 years old. Putting the dress and the shoes in a shadow box is a wonderful idea and will be a beautiful piece of art.

Shari said...

Never have I washed something so precious, but for all fine/delicate handwashables I prefer to use Eucalan. Great to soak and no rinsing required...scented or unscented. I can also use my frontload washer on handwash...it doesn't wring out a thing lol For a good agitation, put in a bucket with a leak proof lid, put it in the back of your car and go on a marathon bumpy ride...instant agitation with no fuss. To remove the worst of the water, roll up in a bath towel and let it be absorbed. Be sure to let us know how you fare...

Createology said...

Oh this is such a wonderful treasure. You will certainly be able to save it and display it for generations to enjoy this beautiful piece of history. Blessings...

Mary said...

Love finding old treasurers. The gown is beautiful.

Doris Rice said...

What a fabulous find! Vrooman's Quilts gave you good advise. There is a product called retro clean that I SOAK antique quilts in. You might also try it on your gown. but same advise, no machine washing, don't wring it out, just lay flat to dry. Good luck!

LJ said...

Marvelous! I just love old stuff and how lucky you are to have the history, too. My only suggestion would be to ask Cindy Needham; her blog is http://blog.cindyneedham.com/
She does so much with old linens that she might just be able to give you that expert advice. :) I've taken a Craftsy course and she is just the nicest person.

Mdm Samm said...

ohhh look at what i was missing this is stunning even with the wee holes..you can easily fix this ...

Corrie said...

Absolutely beautiful. So glad the washing worked. Well done.

Michele said...

Wow. That is a true treasure and I would love to have something like that too. It's a good thing Sharon knows a bit about how to handle it and I'll be looking forward to hearing how it went. I have some vintage linens that need cleaning too.

Carla said...

Okay I was going nuts over the gown just seeing the picture before I even read about it.
Beautiful. What an awesome find of family history.