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Is there stabilizer for antique clothes?

momcat50 | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

Working on costumes for a play,we are finding some clothes from the 40’s and 50’s that would work great. But we are running into problems. Some of the fabric is fragile and I need to try and stabilize it so it does not rip at inopportune moments. I have reinforced seams and checked hems. What is the answer to successfully using vintage clothes that are tenuous? Muslin mock-up underneath or?… ALSO: I want the actors to use dress shields as the costumes go back to our own racks after cleaning once the final show is done. The clothes are not cleaned between performances. Is wanting the actors to use dress shields for play costumes unreasonable as long as we provided them? Unnecessary?

Replies

  1. SewingSue | | #1

    Momcat,  I like your handle.  I am not an expert in vintage clothing.  I don't even own any but admire them.  I have never seen anything in decent condition in my price range.  Try the following link.  It seems very interesting and may help you.  I don't see anything wrong with requiring dress shields and can't expect that anyone would complain.  Good luck.

    http://www.vintagegriffin.com/vtalk/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=6&t=000003

    P.S.  I found this by typing in clothing restoration.  Probably should have made that vintage clothing restoration and it would have been more specific.  Then just checked a couple locations til one seemed relevant.  Sue

  2. CarolFresia | | #2

    Momcat, I posed your question to Carol Spier, Threads's executive editor, who has an extensive background in costuming. Her first answer was "Mandatory dress shields!" She recommends either attaching them to the garment itself, or to a tight-fitting undergarment (a t-shirt of some sort, perhaps) to be worn under the costume. She also says to check the linings of any structured garments; a deteriorated lining won't be stable enough for much wear, whereas a good, solid lining will support the rest of the costume pretty well. If you think a garment needs more support, a custom foundation garment could help, too.

    Have fun, and don't skimp on the dress shields!

    Carol F.

  3. TERI139 | | #3

    I've done a great deal of costuming in the past using vintage garments. I agree about the mandatory dress sheilds. We pinned them in at the seam allowance in the armsceye and changed them out after every performance.

    As far as the fragile fabrics go, if it's incredibly fragile, you may need to make something new and not risk damaging it further. But you can reinforce most things by making sure the stress points are strong enough. You may need to repalce zippers, snaps, etc....but at least that wouldn't be an entire garment.

    Good Luck!

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