I’ve finally bought something from Etsy. I am currently waiting by the letter box as I write this. It’s coming to me from the US of A and I can’t wait.
They used to be hand-made in Hong Kong – check the label, they usually have an old-fashioned look to them or the size shown in inches. This dates them usually as 50’s or 60’s. They are generally made with lovely soft lambswool yarns.
If you like this sort of thing there are literally hundreds of them available on Etsy. The good thing about it is that there are no suspenseful auctions. Just the price. Find one that suits you.
It cost $35.20 including postage which is a total bargain as I have seen them for over $100 in Mint Condition (lovely vintage shop in Rozelle, Sydney).
Before it arrives I need to make that long, black, full skirt I have been dreaming of for ages – to wear it with.
Care Instructions for Vintage Beaded Garments.
Just a small area? Spot clean with a tiny dot of dishwashing detergent on a damp sponge. Rub gently in one direction. I do this all the time on all kinds of clothes.
If you can afford it: Dry Cleaning
A good Drycleaner should warn you that some sequins and buttons can be damaged by the drycleaning process. I have had one button break in 20 years of having garments drycleaning. Ask around and find one who people trust. When I worked in Fashion my boss always had her Italian Designer clothes sent to somewhere in the Northern Beaches of Sydney (from Double Bay) – I will research and see if I can find out what they were called.
If you are on a budget: Handwashing
In Australia there we have beautiful Eucalyptus scented Wool Washes. I love the really cheap “No Name” Brands specifically for woolens.
Fill a bucket with warm water (never hot as this will shrink your woolen garment)and a small ammount of wool wash (a tablespoon should do it). Gently swish it around in the water and maybe rub a little straight detergent on the “problem areas” and lather gently with your fingers. Don’t go and make a cup of tea – or leave it to “soak” – I have done this and forgotten about things for weeks and come back to mouldy destroyed garments and buttons that fell apart. Sob!
When you are happy that it is clean – empty away the soap. Refill the bucket with clean water and rinse away the soap.
I don’t need to tell you- you never put woolens in the dryer don’t I??! This will shrink them and your children will be wearing miniature vintage garments!
Get a towel and lay it folded in half on a flat surface, an outdoor table is ideal.
Carefully lay your garment flat – and put it into shape, cover it over with the top half of the towel. The cotton of the towel will “wick” the moisture away from the wool. It will take a day or two (unless it’s Summer) to dry fully.
When it’s dry. Check it over to make sure no beads or sequins have come loose during washing. You can easily mend anything loose now, and avoid the damage getting worse.
If you are interesed. Wool shrinkage is caused by the fatal combination of Heat and Agitation, that’s why the washing machine or clothes dryer are so good at this! The scales of the wool fibres unlock and relock closer together. Sorry, textile nerd moment.
Here’s blogger and author Kelly Doust and I in our vintage beaded cardis, at the 50’s Fair. She was very sweet.
Thanks for stopping by!