Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Caring for Czech Costumes

Caring for authentic or even Americanized Czech costumes can be a very difficult task. Any time I need advice on caring for Czech costumes, I turn to Maggie Grmela of Czech Costume Creations. (
Here are just a few of her tips for Americanized costumes:
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's 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.

Monday, August 9, 2010

2010 Czech Days

Czech Days is held annually the first weekend in August in Wilber, Nebraska. This small town has one of the best Czech festivals you will ever see. The citizens of this town are the most welcoming you will ever find. Hundreds of volunteers work tirelessly for many months to make sure everyone has a great time and celebrates Czech style with food, dance, music and much more. For more information, log on to the website:
Next year is the 50th anniversary of Czech Days and the committees are already busy planning lots of special activities. Be sure and make your hotel reservations early.

The highlight of Czech Days is the Miss Czech Slovak US pageant. During the pageant this year, Stefanie Vocasek was crowned the new 2010 Miss Czech Slovak US Queen. Congrats Stefanie! Following the crowning, Stefanie was surprised by her boyfriend with a proposal on stage. Congratulations Brad and Stefanie. We look forward to seeing you again soon. For more information and results, check out the website:

Texas was very well represented in the Queen pageant. Rachel Hurley, Miss Texas Czech Slovak was just lovely. Rachel wore a spectacular authentic Czech costume (kroj) and danced a beautiful ballet routine for her talent. Way to go Rachel! We are so proud of you.

Ed, Sarah and I had a great time and enjoyed visiting with our Nebraska "family". When Sarah was 2006 Miss Czech Slovak USA, her princess was Sheyenne Kiesel. We have become good friends with the Kiesels and always enjoy seeing them.