Sunday, July 19, 2009

Proper Care & Cleaning of Czech Costumes

The McLennan-Hill Chapter of the Czech Heritage Society ( met on July 19, 2009 at the Community Center in West. The program was presented by Maggie Grmela of Czech Costume Creations ( She presented a program on the proper care and cleaning of Czech costumes. A few of her tips for Americanized costumes include:
1. She recommends cleaning the whites (blouses and aprons) at home; professional cleaners tend to yellow the fabrics. She suggests that all whites be cleaned after each wear, body oils will stain and yellow and will make it harder to clean.
2. Soak the whites in sink of cold water with small amount of regular detergent or use a gentle detergent along with Clorox-2 (all fabric bleach) or Biz all fabric bleach. Let stand for at least 30 minutes. Finish by hand washing then rinse and spin out in the washer (delicate cycle). Hang to dry or put in dryer on delicate for a short time to fluff. A helpful hint for ladies blouses is to fill the sleeves with netting and spray with spray starch. Let dry and leave netting in sleeve until the time time to wear. Items can be steam pressed or ironed if necessary. If item has beading, put a towel on the ironing board and press from the wrong side.
3. Items that can be machine washed need to be washed on the delicate cycle. Hang to dry or dry on the delicate setting. A safety measure for machine washing is to use a laundry bag or a pillowcase to protect any laces, trim or beading. Maggie suggests use Clorox 2 or Biz for machine washables. Let stand and soak for a while before completing washing.
4. All blouses and skirts that are poly cotton can be hand washed or gently machine washed in cold water. Hang to dry or put in the dryer on the delicate setting.
5. Vests and skirts that are velvet or brocades should be dry cleaned.
Maggie had a few tips for authentic costumes. They include:
1. Authentic costumes can be very delicate. She recommends treating them with extreme care. Before cleaning, make any repairs that are necessary. Some lace and trims may need to be removed before cleaning. Maggie recommends Clorox 2 or Biz for those fabrics that are washable. Test for color safety on a small piece of the fabric.
2. She recommends keeping costumes in cardboard boxes with acid-free tissue paper. Authentic costumes should not be kept on coat hangers. This tends to pull on the fabrics, embroidery and trims. Costumes should be stored flat in boxes with tissue between each piece.

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