fine garment care

A VINTAGE GOWN STORY

Do you have your grandmother’s wedding gown and wondering what in the world to do with it? I was preserved well but had a few brown spots, probably old sugar stains. Here is what one Mother-in-law/Daughter-in-law duo decided to do.

This beautiful vintage gown came to us for spot cleaning so it could be transformed to a Christening Gown. Our first reaction was –

“But it is such a beautiful gown and should be worn!”

Back & Front of Vintage Gown

Our production manager was able to get rid of the spot right in the middle of the area that they wanted to use for the front of the Christening Gown. Now for the transformation.

When Mother-in-law and Daughter came back to see the results they were thrilled. They met with our owner and our seamstress and discussed what they envisioned the Christening Gown should look like and even had a sketch to go by. Our seamstress got to work with some sketches of her own based on what they discussed.

Christening Gown Design Sketches

After more conversation our owner created a digital layout and also supplied them with an original watercolor of the design.

Digital Design Layout

Watercolor of Christening Gown Design

Now for the fitting. The baby was brought in for measurements. Adjustments were made to the design, patterns were created and the creation was made! A custom cross was embroidered and brought to our seamstress for insertion at just the right place.

 

Beautiful Back-lit Christening Gown

Christening Gown on Disply

Baby Portrait by Ashely FarmerWe could not be more thrilled to have been given the opportunity to partner with this family in creating an heirloom to pass down from generation to generation. It is so special to share in the joyous occasions of our customers. We offer our thanks to this Mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law, the father and the rest of the family for allowing us to share this special story with you.

Photo Credit for portrait: Ashely Farmer Photography

At the Christening Ceremony

HOLIDAY STAINS

LEAVE YOUR HOLIDAY TABLE LINEN STAINS TO THE EXPERTS

Your guests have come and gone…
you are left with stained table linens, grease from cooking on your favorite blouse or slacks, what do you do?

Enjoy the tips below on how to take care of those wine stained table linens, or better yet, what not to do.

  1. The tiniest bit chlorine bleach placed directly on a stain will degrade the fibers and leave a yellow stain.

    table-cloth
    Table Linens with Wine Spill
  2. Do you have grease stains? (ex. gravy, butter, salad oils, etc.) Don’t set them with hot water wash and drying.  They need a degreaser – bring it to us.
  3. Red wine stains must be neutralized for complete removal, chlorine bleach will not do the job.
  4. Coffee with milk and sugar is a combination stain that if left untreated will oxidize and become permanent.  It will carmelize – leaving an ugly brown stain.
  5. Never delay bringing your holiday table linens in for professional care to complete stain removal, cleaning and pressing. 
  6. And most importantly, if you or your guests drip, dribble,  the best DIY stain treatment is GENTLY SCRAPE EXCESS, BLOT, NEVER RUB.

Oakwood Cleaners is at your service to take care of your holiday spills and stains. Just bring it to us and let us do the rest.

WE WISH YOU SAFE TRAVELS, WONDERFUL FAMILY MEMORIES, AND A VERY HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!

BE SPOT SAVVY!

Wine on Raw Silk
Wine on Raw Silk

It is holiday party time!

Let’s face it, juggling a drink and buffet plate is no easy feat. Add to that the jostling and maneuvering inherent at any party, and the chances of a spill or stain increase dramatically.

Spilled wine on silk dress
Spilled wine on silk dress

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: what do you do when your favorite outfit gets a wine, soda or dipping sauce stain?  As little as possible.

Water, club soda and even ‘miracle’ stain removal products will generally do more harm than good.  They will disturb sizings, cause rings and in some cases pull the color in dyes.  Rubbing a stain creates friction which will abrade the fibers and cause irreparable harm.  The fact is we can probably remove the stain safely, but there’s little we can do about dye disturbance, rings and fiber damage from abrasion.  So, what should you do?

Follow these simple, non-destructive steps –

– gently remove any excess

– place a clean white cloth UNDER the stained fabric and blot from the top with a clean white cloth

– NEVER RUB a stain

 – bring the item in promptly for cleaning

Tablecloth with wine spill
Tablecloth with wine spill

Stains will oxidize and set if left untreated for any length of time.  The alcohol in liquors and wines can pull color.  So in the case of spots and stains, haste does not make waste.  The quicker you bring the item in for cleaning, the more likely the stain removal treatment will have a favorable outcome.

As always, if you have any questions about stain removal or garment care, ask us.  We are happy to share our expertise with you.

 

Are you ready for Fall?

Fall and cooler temps are arriving sooner than you think. Here is some advice on getting your closest ready for the new season.

Take some quality time with your clothes and accessories. Open your closest, be honest with yourself and before you go shopping follow the steps below to make room for your fall wardrobe purchases.

What do I do?
What do I do?

Preparing your closest for the new season

Label six bags as follow: Toss, Donate, Consign, Store, Repair and Clean

These bags are ready!
These bags are ready!

Toss anything with holes that cannot be repaired or have permanent stains.
If it doesn’t fit or flatter and you have stopped wearing them, donate. Please do not donate items that should be tossed.
Garments that are still great but you haven’t worn in over a year can go to a consignment shop.

You can use your earnings to fill in with new pieces!

Now start trying on what is left. Be honest, if it makes you look and feel great, keep it, if not, donate or consign.

It is always fun to invite a friend to help with this.
Place items that you just cannot part with, because of sentimental reasons, in boxes designed for long-term storage and always keep at room temperature, not the attic or garage.

Store your sentimental items.
Store your sentimental items.

Organize
Put like pieces together, separate items that need cleaning, have missing buttons or loose hems.
Cleaning and repairing your garments will help them look fresh for fall.
The experts at Oakwood Cleaners can repair and clean your items to achieve a “look like new” outcome.

Go Shopping! 
Make a list of the items you need to fill in the missing pieces in your closet. Have fun, hit your favorite stores or try out a new one.

SHOULD I USE CHLORINE BLEACH?

Easter

ENJOY your time with friends and family this Easter! 

Do you ever wonder what to do when it is all over? The grass and dirt stains from the Easter egg hunt are a mess. What about those juice spills? Then of course there are the table linens!!!

table linen spots

Keeping your white linens WHITE!

Despite what you think, the use of chlorine bleach is NOT the answer.  Yes, chlorine can be an amazing whitening product, but only when used under the right conditions.

If you’ve ever wondered why your freshly washed and bleached cotton table linens yellowed or became dingy looking during storage, chances are the reason is you added chlorine bleach to the wash.  If you’re distressed by a brown stain in a spot where you ‘pre-treated’ a food stain with chlorine bleach, the likely culprit is the dab of chlorine you thought would solve the problem!

Unfortunately, no amount of hot, cool or cold water rinsing will completely remove all the residual chlorine from a fabric.  A chlorine free condition can only be achieved through the use of an ‘anti-chlor’; a product that is not routinely available to consumers and can ONLY be purchased by professional cleaners.

In addition, chlorine should never  be used on silk or woolen fabrics, or any synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon, since it will chemically degenerate the fabric, causing brown or yellow discolorations.  If a white cotton fabric contains a fluorescent-based optical brightener, the chlorine will often break down the optical brightener, causing the fabric to develop a yellow or pink hue.

So, the safest way to care for your table linens, or those holiday clothes at home is to avoid the use of chlorine bleach, or better yet, if you want them to look their pristine best, bring them in for professional care.  Not only will they be clean, white and chlorine free after processing, you won’t have to stand at the ironing board and iron them!

TALE OF A NAVY PEA COAT

Nancy brought in her father’s vintage navy pea coat hoping that we could restore it for her son Alex to wear. Below are some pictures of how it looked when we first received it.

Torn up inside lining before restoration
Torn up inside lining before restoration

Front and Back before restoration

Front and Back before restoration

As you can see it had definately seen better days.

George A. Love
George A. Love

George A. Love served in the Seabees in World War II and in the Navy in the Korean War.

In WWII, he was assigned to the Seabee Construction Battalion Maintenance
Unit No. 623 as a Machinist Mate Second class (MM2C).

Construction Battalion Maintence Unit 623
Construction Battalion
Maintence Unit 623

They were sent to Guiuan, Samar in the Leyte Gulf (Philippines) to build an airstrip and infrastructure.

They arrived on December 23, 1944 on a Dutch cargo ship, the M.S. Sommelsdikj.

The H.M.S. Sommelsdijk
The H.M.S. Sommelsdijk

On December 25, Tokyo Rose, a radio broadcaster of Japanese propaganda, promised the Navy boys a Christmas present.  On the morning of December 26, a Japanese plane appeared and dropped two torpedoes.  The plane then crashed into the sea when its wing tip caught the water.  One torpedo hit the ship in Hold #1 starting a fire which quickly spread to Hold #2 where most of the men were staying.  Since the ship was in a bay, the ship was purposely run aground and the men either swam to shore or were able to evacuate to another ship.  The unit was allowed to stay in the Church of the Immaculate Conception until a camp site could be built.  Many were wounded but only six men lost their lives in this attack.

Map

George safely returned from this war and went back to high school where he met
and married Nancy’s mother, Martha E. Cathey.
He was re-drafted to the Korean War and claimed this was a sightseeing tour compared to WWII.

George and Martha Love
George and Martha Love

When he returned home, he and my mother had three daughters.
He never spoke of his service to our country.

I don’t know why – possibly he thought his “girls” would not want to hear about it.

When Desert Storm began in 1990, he and I were watching it on TV and he started talking about his service.  I became fascinated and wanted to hear all about it to preserve his story.

His pea coat was passed down to 2 sisters, but passed Nancy. Nancy’s sister Cathey, found the pea coat in her closet and passed it on to Alex the younger of Nancy’s two sons. Alex is a history buff especially about World War II and Classic Rock (but that’s another story…).  By now the coat was beginning to show wear and tear.  The lining was deteriorating, the buttons kept falling off and it was dirty and musty.

I wondered if it could be restored.  I posted the question on social media and Oakwood Cleaners came highly recommended as being very good at restoring vintage wedding gowns.  I gave them a call, met with Rhonda and her seamstress and I am very happy to say the pea coat looks brand new.

Front and Back after restoration
Front and Back after restoration
Inside after restoration
Inside after restoration

Alex is beyond Proud to continue to wear his grandfather’s Navy Pea Coat in honor of not only his grandfather but of our military and the sacrifices made for our country

Alex wearing George's  Navy Pea Coat
Alex wearing George’s
Navy Pea Coat