Happy Holidays!

Hello & Happy Holidays to everyone!
Things are winding down here, that busy holiday excitement, presents are bought and being delivered today, cookies have been made, and Christmas dinner supplies have been bought. Now there's nothing to do but wait and maybe relax a little. Or panic and think of some last minute thing that needs to be done.

We had a bunch of turkeys out in the yard the another day, 13 of them. Our regular 5 gals and then 8 boys. They're funny to watch, kicking through the leaves. We throw a bunch of corn out there, so now they know there's good eating in our yard. Here is a photo of 4 of the gals out in the yard this morning. It's not very clear because I had to take the photo through glass and screen.

The Christmas tree that we ordered arrived in plenty of time, Yeah! We were worried it would be late. We saw one on display in an antique store last year, and finally tracked down the same one in the right size this year. The photo is kind of busy and cluttered, so I don't know if you can make it out. The tree is about 6ft tall, not super full, thin banches, and it has a black bear climbing up the back of it. Great for out here in the woods. We have some of my Mom's vintage beaded garland and ornaments on it. We use to set up a Victorian style feather tree that she had made, but it was looking a little bleak, so we found this tree just in time. It looks really nice lit up.
The cases in the background originally came from an old drug store. My parents bought them from a guy who had the cases stored up in a loft in an old barn. Those top cases were probably the hardest thing to move when we moved earlier this year. They just fit against that wall. They display my Mom's doll's, some old, some she made.

Here is a peek at some of the items that I bought last week. A few 1920-30s dresses and two great embroidered robes (I'm fighting not to keep those!) Most of the load was Victorian to 1930s. More coats! Just when I think that I have all my backstock of coats listed, I get some more. There are several nice mink stoles and coats, plus there are a few really cool 1940s hats. Those items will start to show up on the website in mid-January.

The 8th Anniversary sale will start on December 26th! Wow, 8 years of selling vintage online, I can't believe it's been that long. Originally I had a site selling crafts and clothing that I made. Somewhere online I saw another site selling vintage clothing, so I decided to give it a try and started with a single page of items added to my craft page. The stock was items that I had been buying for myself since I was about 17 years old. Some things I had worn, and many of the items were very cool items that I had seen and just had to buy. It was hard to start a website back then, it's still hard now, trying to get people into a brand new website, but back then was even harder because people didn't know to look online for vintage clothing. There were only about 10 other vintage sites then. I think I was online for almost 2 months before I sold anything. I just kept focused on the site, adding stock and tried to get myself linked and networked to get customers. Several of the websites that were online back then wouldn't exchange links with me, because I was obviously a novice at website building and I was really cheap and didn't have much stock to begin with. Well, doubters, here I am still! My website building skills are a little better now (I still need to remember to do spellchecks though) I have great stock and the prices are higher, but I pay alot more now for my stock than I did 8+ years ago.

The first item that I sold from my website was a pair of late 1950s faux leopard fur pants! In March, I discovered ebay and started selling there. The first ebay item that I sold was a 1950s blue velvet clutch coat.

The vintage market has changed alot since I started, for better and worse. People know to look online to buy great vintage items, but there is a lot more competition selling online. I can't just set back and relax, I have to keep working to keep the website updated and networked and finding great stock. I love my job, and I feel very lucky to have ended up with the best job possible for me! I can't imagine doing anything else now. I've met alot of great people who love vintage clothing as much as I do, and it's a nice community to belong to. (I'm starting to sound like I just won an Oscar or something)

Be sure to check out the Anniversary sale that starts on December 26th.

Happy holidays & Bye for now, Carol

Project Runway, Snow in the woods and a bunch of stock

First snow in the woods 12/5 -

The driveway - how'd you like to shovel that? Luckily the snow was soft enough that it cleared away after driving the truck up and down the driveway several times

The last photo is this cool/weird bent tree that's behind our garage. It looks like the addition to our garage isn't going to be built until Spring now. So we'll be cramped and packed into the house until then. I was planning on using the room over the garage addition to store my stock, but I'll have to just keep piling it up in the bedroom for now.

I bought several small loads of vintage over the past few weeks, plenty to keep me busy over the Winter. Included in one load was 200 pieces of lingerie, so look for some great expansion in the lingerie department over the next few months! I've got a bunch of hats and purses too, and gloves, oh man I've got the gloves! I've got some nice linens too, which I don't buy very often. I have to clean and iron those though, so it may take me some time to get into the mood to work on those. Nylon is so much more easier to work with than cotton so I'm starting on the lingerie first. Now I need some dresses, there were only a handful of good dresses out of all of the loads, darn.

The new season of 'Project Runway' has started, and I'm watching it again. I don't really follow current fashions and I'm not a fan of any modern fashion designers really, so I don't know why I like the show so much. I guess I just like watching people be creative. The show is on Bravo, if you haven't heard of it. Unknown fashion designers compete to have their collection shown at Fashion Week. Each week they have a fashion design challenge. In the premiere they were given 6 yards of muslin and $20 for notions/accessories to create a dress. The next challenge was given to them after a dinner party. They were told that they had to use the clothing that they were wearing right at that moment to create a new garment. The show is interesting, and you get the typical cattyness, wackiness, big egos and backstabbing as you do with all reality shows. There was another fashion design show on one of the major networks. I only caught one episode of it, and it was not as good as Project Runway.

Bye for now, Carol

Well, it's been awhile since my last post. The past few weeks have been busy, I'm always busy, but I'm not sure what I do.

Christmas is rushing towards us! I don't miss working retail this time of year. I have deepest sympathy for those of you working in retail during the Chistmas shopping season. And those of you shopping, please be nice to people who work in stores, don't take out your frustrations on them (even if they are rude, be nice, maybe they are having a day full of people being rude to them) Ahh, I remember Black Friday insanity. Kind of stressful and hectic, but usually fun because things were just so insane.

Where can you get nice big birdhouses for reasonable prices? I want a nice big one up on a pole in our front yard. There is a great shop down the road from us and they have birdhouses and garden stuff, really cool things. But those big birdhouse cost alot, even when I searched online they were costly. I want a bunch of birdhouses and birdfeeders to put out in the yard next Spring, oh and a bunch of hummingbird feeders too. Is anyone familiar with any good online stores for those items and cute garden stuff?

Vintage on TV - I caught an episode of Pam Anderson's new show, or no, she's called Pamela Lee now isn't she? The show is called Stacked and she 'works' in a bookstore. It wasn't bad, better than some shows that you see. Anyway, in this episode that I saw, she was wearing a vintage Pucci dress. Now, I'm always glad to see vintage clothing on TV, it's like free publicity for the vintage seller's community. But I don't think this dress did much to help vintage. I like Pam, I think she's alright. Over the top with the boobs and the boyfriends, but funny and likeable just the same. But this dress didn't suit her, not her style at all. First off, it was poorly fitted. I don't really think that Pucci was designed to accomodate such big boobies. She also had a belt around the waist which was riding up high on her waist, almost under the bust. The belt just didn't look right. She also had a slip under it which was showing unevenly below (I think the boobies were making the dress ride up) Plus I really think they only dressed her in a Pucci dress so that they could make suggestive jokes about 'her' Pucci.


Fall Foliage

I've been busy with so much stuff, that I haven't written in here in a while. The 20% off sale on the website will continue until Sunday 11/13. The regular update will return on 11/14 with some black dresses, a bunch of hats from Jessie Harper's estate and more.
The woods around our house are beautiful with all of the leaves changing color. Here are some shots of the yard.

This is a look down our driveway, towards the road

Here's one of our neighbors!

Here is a back view of the house

Two views of the front yard

And a view of the back yard

There is a new show on Friday nights called the Ghost Whisperer. It's about this girl who sees the ghosts of dead people and she has to help them and the loved ones that they are leaving behind, so that the spirits can crossover. Whatever. It stars Jennifer Love Hewett, who I have always found annoying for some reason. But the girl that she plays in this show owns an antique shop and she's usually dressed in vintage. So now I find myself having to watch this show to see the vintage! The stories are pretty good so far, and she is only cutesey-annoying occasionally, so you might want to check it out.

Bye for now, Carol

Leslie Hindman Vintage auction

Leslie Hindman Auctions are holding their 2nd vintage clothing auction and most of the catalog is online to view. Lots of designer stuff, many newer items, but a few nice pieces (including a 1960s green Trigere coat that I'd love for myself if I could get it for about $75!)

Check out the catalog here - http://www.lesliehindman.com/asp/search.asp?st=U

Vintage Hawaiian costume

Here is a quick look at this really cool vintage Hawaiian costume that came from a load of vintage that I am working on. It's still in it's original box. I think it's from the 1940s.

It's Monday morning and what is missing?
Yep, the update. I've got some dresses, purses and linens photographed and measured, I just never got around to editing the photos and writing up the descriptions! I don't know what I did all week either. I did prep a bunch of stuff for ebay auctions (a few were actually added to the website last Tuesday) plus I listed 29 Matchbox cars for a relative (under a different user name) so that took a little time here and there. I woke up with a headache 2 days, so those days were kind of pokey work days, and the weekend was spent on some household chores.
This morning I have to buzz to the post office, and then I'll start editing and typing that stuff. So I'll have them ready for the website tomorrow morning (unless I'm distracted in some way, already this morning I wasted some time looking out back at the wild turkeys in the yard. They haven't been around for about 2 months, so it was a big deal to see them again)

Bye for now, Carol

Tuesday Noon here, raining still, since last Thursday. Rain makes Boris sleepy, actually everything makes him sleepy!

Things feel like they are piling up here, I bought two loads of vintage within a month, and I've been working my way steadily through the stuff, but the racks and boxes just seem to be getting fuller and fuller. Things are selling slowly. It's been a very slow start to what should be a busy time for selling online. Things usually are slow at the beginning of each month, and then pick up mid-month. So here's to the middle of the month!

I put up a 2nd Featured Items page on the website which will feature some of the items that are slated to go up for auction on ebay. Here, my customers can get a chance to buy them before they go to ebay. That page will change (I've already pulled several item to put up on auction Monday night) as I remove and add items. I'll probably only remove items when I list on Sunday and Mondays, but I can add items to that page at anytime, once I get them typed up. I'm getting ready to type up some auction items this afternoon, and about 11 of those items with be added to the preview Featured page later today. Here's a peek at a few of the items -

And this is the Featured page that I'm talking about -

I'm just about fed up with my hair. I had been trying to grow it out, for several years now. But my face is kind of long and narrow and my hair gets to a certain length and I don't like it, so I cut it. Which is usually fine, but this time I just don't like it, it's just blah and flat. Maybe it's the rain making it that way.
I've also got to get out and buy some jeans. I used to be a sz4, but I've been gaing weight over the last 1-1/2 years, and last Winter I moved up to sz6, which was fine because I've always been too skinny. Then earlier this Spring I was slowly reaching sz8, which I am also fine with. So I went out and bought a few pairs of sz8 jeans. The the weather got warm and we started moving, so I bought several pairs of capris to get through the Summer. I lost weight while we were moving so I was in between sz6 and sz8. Now that I'm settled back into sitting most of the day and eating on time, I'm just about back up to sz8. Pulling out some cooler weather clothing, I realized that I only have 2 pairs of jeans that fit me now! The sz6 stretch jeans are just too tight, I prefer the 8's which are a little looser. I've tried buying jeans online, but I'm so picky about the shade of denim and the leg width and the pockets on the behind. I just have to see the jeans in person. I think I'm going to trek down to Cape May Court House to do some shopping. The town where I use to live, Deptford, had a Mall and many stores nearby to shop at. Now where we live, the stores are further away. Kmart is about 30 minutes (I love their Route 66 jeans, they always fit me perfectly) and there's no Target around here (I love their t-shirts, a perfect blend of cotton and lycra) I think there is a Marshall's or TJ Maxx in CMCH, but I'm not very familiar with shopping in them. I do know that there is a hospital thrift shop across the street from the shopping center, so maybe a take a walk through there too.

OK, back to work now!
Bye for now, Carol
Hi Sunday morning!
Today is a working day for me and I'm off to an early start. I have to get my radio set up out here to see if I can listen to Breakfast with the Beatles while I work. Andre Gardiner out of Phillie does the best Beatles radio show. I have a hard time getting it in on the radio out here though, it's kind of static-y. I use to listen every Sunday morning, but I've only heard a little of the show here and there since we moved.
On Saturday I took Boris to the beach for a walk and a swim. He gets so excited that he makes himself a nervous wreak. We went for a nice walk and he did a little swimming. Then walking back to the house (this is gross) he had the poops and we had to keep stopping for him to go. It's because he is so excited to be at the shore, my fault maybe because I didn't take him over there this Summer. So he had poop running down his behind and I had to squirt him off with the hose when we got back to the house, yuck. Then we go in, I dry him off and give him some water. He drinks a bunch of water, and then turns around and throws it right back up, along with some dogfood that he ate earlier that morning. Yuck again. So then we came back home and he slept the rest of the day.
This morning I am working on typing up some ebay auctions for mid October. Here is a peek at a few of the older pieces that I will be listing -

Once I get this morning's lot written up (I write up everything ahead of time and then when I'm ready, I schedule the auctions) I'll start pulling the next lot this afternoon, which I think will include some fur pieces and a few coats. Monday's update for the website is ready and the next load that I'll be working on for the website will be some slips, bedjackets and sweaters (I think, but plans do change around here sometimes) I had the slips cleaned and ironed and ready to photograph, but then I decided to do a load for ebay instead, since it will be mid-October very soon, and I want to get a bunch of things listed during that time.

OK, I'm getting to work, see you later!

More stock and a peek inside the vintage vault

It's Wednesday morning, the start of another work-horse day (a day that I make myself work all day) It's a little chilly this morning.
This past Sunday I bought another load of vintage . My stock room is getting a little full, and some of the clothing from this new group needs to be aired out, so I set up a round rack in the garage to hang them out there to air for a few weeks. We're running out of room in the new house! We are a little cramped to begin with because it is a little smaller than our old house. There is an unfinished room over the garage that eventually will be where I store my stock, and then there will be plenty of room, once that room is drywalled and heated. I rearranged my current storage room Tuesday so that I could stack the boxes a little higher (the ceiling is sloped in there)
Here is a peek into the 'vintage vaults' (the stockroom) There are two racks there. The things on the racks are already on the website or on ebay, except for the things on each end of the front rack. The boxes in the first photo holds stock that hasn't been put up for sale yet. Boxes in the 2nd photo hold items that are on the website. There's more around the corner that I couldn't get into the photo.

Next shows the first batch of clothing hanging out in the sun porch to air. The 2nd photo is the round rack that I set up in the garage. On the front of the rack are a few 1920-30s dresses that were in this new load. There is a big old watermark across the one gown that I have to try to get out. I'm going to be doing my regular updates to the website, but in October and November I'll be putting a bunch of stuff up on ebay. Some auctions will be things pulled from the website and some will items from this new load, including some coats, the 1920-30s dresses, a few Victorian items and some larger sized dresses.

Circle skirts & Friday morning

It's Friday morning, already near the end of September, but the weather is still realy nice here.
Did you ever have a day when you're feeling in a good mood, it's a nice day, you're getting work done, and then someone says something (or in my case, sends an email) with some snippy comment that just hits you the wrong way and ruins your day? That happened to me yesterday. Someone sent me a snippy email, no one that I know, not a customer. It wasn't really a nasty email, just snippy and it bugged me. I didn't reply, just deleted it, but it still bugged me the rest of the day.
Anyway, on to today with a better outlook. I'm going to get out of the house a little bit today. After the post office and the foodstore, I might go check out this shop that sells stuff that they've cleared out of estates. I drive by the place several times a week, but in the 3 months that we've lived here, I've never been in there. Maybe I'll find a pile of vintage treasure (or a bunch of damaged, overpriced junk)
Right now is the kind of weather that really makes me enjoy our new house. In our old house, we had no storm/screen doors, so you couldn't open them in nice weather. We had heavy dark curtains on our windows, so not much light or air would blow through either. But this house has screen doors, two out front and a big sliding door in back that also has a screen. So we can open the doors and let air blow through the house. Plus we have no curtains downstairs because we have blinds. This also lets in alot of sunlight and fresh air, which is so nice out here in the woods. The neighbors dogs were chasing a raccoon or something through our yard last night (that's as exciting as it gets out here!) Boris was sound alseep, didn't hear a thing. The neighbors have a golden retreiver and big shepard mix dog, who come walk through our yard. They are afraid of Boris though!
This week I've been working on some black dresses, dressy dresses, a ton of aprons and some panties for the next update. Today I'll be working on some suits, tops and skirts for the following week's update. I have several sequined tops, jackets and dresses from my last load, plus several fancy sequined hats from Jessie's estate, so I think I'll put together a Glitz & Glamour page featuring those items, for the holidays. That will be in another two weeks or so though.

Two seller's from ebay's vintage clothing board have really cute circle skirts listed this week, so I thought I'd let you know about them. I am not affiliated with either seller, I just think the skirts are cute.
A cutey with squirrels and real walnuts -

A sequined Mexican skirt with tequilla drinking donkeys -

Later, that same . . . I'm back from my errands and the estate shop, which actually turned out to be a nice antique place. I didn't buy anything though, and they didn't have any vintage clothing.

It's a lazy kind of day, so I was looking online, and I saw that there is going to be another Vintage clothing & textile auction held by Charles Whitaker & Karen Augusta in November. They are located in New Hope PA. They sell really drool-worthy collectible clothing and you can check out some of the pieces from the upcoming auction on their website -
They also have their previous catalogs from the past few years still online too. On the left, click on 'catalog' and then follow the link to the list of previous auctions with photos and selling prices. Some really amazing items.

The end of Summer

I just came back from a weekend in Strathmere. The weather is still nice and Summery, but you can't miss the signs that Summer is almost over. The biggest clue in Strathmere is the trailer park. The town has a Summer trailer resort there where people set up about 90-100 trailers for the Summer. This week people are starting to pack up and move out for the Winter, always a sad sight. There are less and less people there during the weekend too, which I actually like. September is a great time to go to the shore, because the weather is nice and it's not too crowded. Still can't take the dogs up on the beach until the 30th though. Boris has been bugging me all Summer to go for a swim. He's a swimming dog you know. Actually he goes in up to his belly, but once his feet leave the bottom he panics and comes back to the beach. But he think's that he is a very big deal. He's finished with his Lyme disease antibiotics now. Luckily we caught it early and it appears that it hasn't had any affect on him at all. He's still is usually naughty self.

It looks like the hummingbirds are leaving too, we haven't seen any lately. I read online that they fly south for the winter. I'll miss our bossy little guy who sat in the bush most of the day and chased away any other hummingbirds that came near 'his' feeder. Who knew hummingbirds were so tough and brave. Next Summer I want to get more feeders (now we have one hanging in the bush and another that suction-cups right onto the window) and I want to plant some flowers that attract more hummingbirds, and butterflies too, we have some really pretty and big butterflies around here. I got a coupon for $25 worth of free bulbs from www.brecks.com
so I took advantage of the freebies and order some, only chose $25 worth, including shipping. I have big plans for the front and back yards next year. Let's see if I actually follow through on the plans! I do want to get a bunch of hydrangeas planted out here, I love them.

So my Dad, who retired last December is working again this week. His old job called him back in to help repair some equipment that apprarently no one else in the plant knows how to fix. This is the 2nd time they've called him for help since he retired. He doesn't mind really, he likes to work and he really likes that they need him after the company treated the older employees like him so poorly right before many of them left last year. The company wanted to get rid of all the 'old timers' and hire younger guys for cheaper pay. The company made things tough for the guys and pushed out many of them. When will companies realize that it's worthwhile to pay those guy with actual longtime hands-on experience, it saves them money on the long run. Anyway, it's a little tougher on my Dad now because we live an hour further from his work now, so he has to get up earlier and trek back and forth there.

MSN has a good list of charities for Hurrican Katrina donations - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9179805/

I had been hoping to send a care package like the ones that I've sent to troups through www.anysoldier.com
- most of the places that I've been looking at seem to prefer boxes of single item donations (like a box full of socks, or a box full of peroxide etc.) they don't have the manpower to sort the items, so everything in the box has to be the same. They even have a list of pet charities too.

Bye for now, Carol

Very cool vintage stuff

Good morning!
I'm hoping to continue this idea from my previous blog and to make it a more regular feature (if I have the time and I remember!) I always check out ebay to see what the market is like, to occasionally buy items for myself and to drool over other seller's fab stuff. Here are a few fantastic items that I spotted this morning. I am not affiliated with any of these sellers.

An incredible 1940s swimsuit with matching hat and purse -

Small but fantastic 1920-30s embroidered peasant style dress, I've always one of these and this is the dream example that I've been looking for, but I wish it were a few inches bigger (it's a 32 bust, 24 waist) - Check out the selling price - I told you it was a great item! (darn, that means I probably won't find one in my size cheap enough if everyone likes them this much)

I love old catalogs. Not only are they a great research resource on vintage clothing, they are alot of fun to look at. I wish I could take $1000 and go back in time and place an order from the catalogs! This one is a Bellas Hess Winter 1930-31 catalog. It's a big one with clothing and household items too -
Bellas Hess 1930-31 Winter catalog

A 1946 Vogue Pattern Counter book - These are really great finds. They are the big book that you looked through at fabric store to choose clothing patterns from. Another great fashion resource. I can't believe this still has only one bid as of 9/18, check it out, you may get a bargain. It's bound to go for a high price.

Blog-Moving day!

I'm moving my blog from Yahoo to here, because I think I prefer the format here better. I moved over the vintage related articles that I had previously post on yahoo, those are all below. To the right are some links related to me - my website, my ebay auctions, photos of my house and of course my dog Boris.

Gilmore Girls - darn I missed the season premiere last night, someone give me a recap quick!

Bye for now, Carol

Cleaning Vintage Part 2 - And Smelly Smells

Cleaning Part 2 -

Wools - wools can also be handwashed, if you are daring and patient. Sweaters, whether wool, cashmere or a synthetic do nicely in Woolite or Eucalan. Press the water out of them, and lay them flat out on a towel to dry. I wouldn't wet anything with older metal sequins, because the color may come off of them if they get wet. If they are plastic sequins they will wash fine in cool water. Most beading is fine to get wet as long as they aren't those older beads that have old coloring or metallics inside of them.

Some wool skirts and jackets can be handwashed too, depending on the lining fabric - don't wash wool items with creped linings, or else the linings will shrink. It's probably best to dry clean suits or wool dresses to avoid possible shrinking and mis-shaping. Spot washing is fine for light stains, but watch to make sure that you rinse out all of the cleaner really well or it may affect the color of the fabric.

A hair brush with soft bristles is good for getting surface dust off of wools and fur coats. Works nicely on felt and wool hats too, and on fabric purses and shoes. If you are concerned about cleaning out hats, shoes and purses before you use them. I usually spray the insides of hats, purses and shoes with Lysol. That freshens them and kills any old germs.

I smell a smell, a smelly smell - Vintage clothing just doesn't smell like brand new clothing. Some items just hang onto that old fabric smell, not bad or offensive, just a faint old scent. Now, if you buy online, or from a shop, your item should already be taken care of and smell-free, and the seller, if they are a good one, should mention any possible smells that the item may have. I work hard to get any smells out, and I do note if an item has a musty smell that I just wasn't able to budge (usually only on pre-1920s items) But if you buy from an estate sale and need to freshen clothing yourself, the best thing for smelly vintage clothing is fresh air. It works for musty and mothball smelling clothing.
I personally do not recommend any of those sprays like Fabreeze. They usually only just cover the smell, and they leave behind a chemical smell. Days or weeks later, the original smell may return. I learned that the hard way. Several years ago I tried those sprays when they first came out. They did work to cover the smell. But I did receive a few letters on certain items arriving with musty or mothball smells, after I thought I had banished them. See, the sprays wear off, and the smells come back out again in certain items, especialy after they have been bagged and shipped and possibly gotten warm during shipping. Heat will reactivate old smells if you don't get them out totally. Maybe those sprays work better now than when they first came out, but spraying vintage with those items will leave a residue on the clothing which may affect delicate items over time.

If your item is musty smelling, it probably has mildew in it which needs to be killed or else it will continue to make more smell. Those sprays just don't kill those spores. Any clothing that is washable should be washed in hot water. Items that cannot be washed should get the fresh air treatment. I sometimes leave items outside for a few days to get rid of musty, mothball or old storage/attic smells. Mothball smell will take a longer time to get rid of. I've recently found that humidity helps get smells out when you hang the items outside. If the item ends up feeling a little damp, I just throw it on low tumble in the dryer and it comes out very nicely. Steaming may get out smells too, I'm talking about steaming in a shower. Hang the item in the bathroom and turn on the shower very hot, shut the door and let the steam fill the room. Let it hang in there for awhile, after the steam cools, open the window for a few hours. You may try a hand steamer to get out a smell, but that would probably take awhile to do, and you don't want to breath in the smells that come out of it - there's nothing like smelling 50 year old BO smell! It is so strong it will gag you. Spray a little vinegar and water on smelly underarms, but only on washable fabrics that will dry without laving a ring.

Dryel and other at-home dry cleaning kits for your dryer - yuck! I've used Dryel, and it leaves a coating on the clothing, which many people have an alergic reaction too. I used Dryel several years ago on some musty wool skirts that I bought. I ended up with a rash all the way up the inner side of my arms. If it doesn't bother you personally, then go ahead and use it. It doesn't work for getting out old stains and dirt, but it may freshen some clothing. But if you are planning to resell the item, then don't use Dryel because it may affect your buyer. Also if you are selling, don't store your items with dryer sheets in them either, and please, don't ship your item with a dryer sheet in the box! Yuck, that may also cause bad reactions to people who are allergic, or bothered by the strong smell of dryer sheets which is very concentrated. You may enjoy the smell of clothing fresh from the dryer after a dryer sheet has been used. But the smell on a sheet is so strong, and stored in a box intensifies the smell even more.

On items like purses, hats and shoes, I have sprayed them with scented Lysol with great results. Lysol kills any germs, and removes any smells from mildew, mothballs etc. Really smelly items will still require fresh air and may need spraying over a few days. I had a bunch of really smelly old hats that came out of an abandoned house. I tried every kind of spray and steam and Ozium in a steam room. Nothing worked until I sprayed them with Lysol and put them outside. I had to kill that mildew to keep the smell from coming back.

On heavier coats and furs, I have also sprayed Lysol up inside of the linings to freshen them too.

Cleaning Vintage Clothing Part 1

Vintage clothing, of course, shouldn't be treated like regular new clothing. Even though the pieces were strong enough to last 50 or more year, they still need special treatment when cleaning or storing. The tips here are how I handle my own vintage clothing that I sell and that I collect and wear myself. Everyone who sells or collects or wears vintage clothing has their own way of handling vintage, so this is not the be-all and end-all of care instructions. It works for me. Each week, I'll focus on a different type of care, cleaning, repairing, storing etc. I may go back to previous tip posts to revise or add info that I've forgotten.

Cleaning - You need a basic knowledge of some fabrics to know how to clean vintage clothing. Cottons, nylons and polyesters are usually pretty safe to handwash. I rarely put vintage in the washing machine, because you never know how a garment will come out. Some pieces may look and feel perfectly strong and durable, but get them wet, and they may fall apart, even if you handwash them. It's just something that you cannot predict, even after handling vintage for years now, I still get a piece that will unexpectantly fall apart when I wash it.

If it's just a light cleaning that you need, some cool water in the sink or tub with some Ivory soap is fine. Rinse it well and either lay flat or hang to dry. I had a 2nd shower rod down the center of my tub for hanging vintage to dry. Each morning I usually had to move clothes just to get into the shower to clean myself! Sturdy cotton, nylon & poly pieces will be safe in a dryer on low tumble.

Now, if you have stains that won't come out in a light soak, then I suggest Biz which is safe on nylon, polys and cottons. The exception would be for cottons that have heavy or intricate dye designs, or metallic dye, any of which may fade in Biz or in just about any soak anyway. But your basic cotton prints will be fine. Biz is a powder and it can be bought at Kmart, Target or Walmart. I usually melt some Biz in a little very hot water, and then lower the temp to a warm water that I can put my hands in. Fill the tub for several like-color items or wash a single item in the sink. Sometimes the dirt comes out immediately, and you'd be amazed at how much dirt comes out of some items. I've had great success soaking nylon tulle prom gowns in the tub and those always seem to hold a ton of dirt. Again, you may see immediate results and be able to rinse out the item in a short time. But other items may have more stubborn stains and require longer soaking. I've soaked some things in Biz for several days, adding more Biz and more hot water. If it is a pure white item that you are having trouble returning to pure white status, you might add a teeny bit of bleach in the water and Biz. This usually does the trick for stubborn browning or yellowing. That's for all-white items only now, no prints or other colors in the white. Biz is great for white linens and for Victorian or Edwardian white clothin. I don't recommend adding any bleach with those though very old items, because the fabrics may be too delicate for that. Wetting linens in Biz and water and then hanging them out in the sun does good for whitening too. Again, after a Biz soak and very good rinsing, hang dry or lay flat to dry. Tumble dry on low for lightweight things like nylon.

If you have a specific stain that you want to get out of any cotton or nylon item, fold the item with the stain laying on the top and set the item in a sink or pot. Put hot water in the sink, just enough to wet the item and leave the stain floating on the top of the water. Then poar dry Biz directly onto the stain in a little pile, and leave it to soak. The dry Biz will soak up a little of the water and make it's own paste on top of the stain. This usually works to draw out the stain within a few hours, then just rinse and dry.
Don't spend too much time on a single stain, sometimes they just won't come out. Even if you make it fade a little, you should feel some sort of satisfaction. Remember, that stain may be 50 years old, it's gonna be hard to get rid of it now, especially if the previous wearer was unable to get it out 50 years ago. Some stains just won't budge or come out completely. I'm not a fan of Oxyclean. It does work on most stains, but never use it on silk or rayons, or bright prints. I just prefer Biz.

Underarm stains - If it is an old stain, most likely it is not going to come out. Certain fabrics are permanently discolored by perspiration and will just be impossible to clean. Cotton, nylon and poly soaked in Biz usually clean up fairly well. Dry Biz (as described in the folded soaking method above) directly on the under arms may clear up more stubborn stains. Rayons and silks are the type of fabrics that turn and fade from perspiration so they don't usually clear up as well. Using deluted white vineger on a washcloth and dabbing the under arm may help a little. If the rayon or silk is colorfast you may be able wet the under arms a little more, but be careful! Dry cleaning may help, but like I said, if it's very old, or if it has actually changed the fabric, it won't be much help.

Cleaning Rayons & silks - Most are handwashable if you are careful. The exception is creped rayon/acetate. Most cocktail dresses are made of this fabric, tons of little black dresses are made of this fabric. In the 1930-40s the weave was a little looser, more textured. By the 1950-60s, it was a tighter neater weave. Most of these later pieces are lined in acetate taffeta. The problem with these crepes is they pucker like crazy when they get wet. Most will shrink several sizes and loose their shape. I've heard people claim to have washed and re-shaped crepe dresses, either they weren't really rayon/acetate crepe or else the people were exagerating. It would take a great deal of patience to reshape, plus the crepe tears easy when wet. They'll never be the same size again, and if they have an acetate lining, the crepe will pucker up all along the seams where it is attached to the crepe. The crepe will also end up several sizes smaller than the lining. Creped rayon/acetate is definately a dry clean only fabric. To test if your item is this mad-shrinking fabric, wet a little spot inside of the hem or inside of the lining, just a tiny wet spot will pucker immediately if it is crepe.

But light colored solid silks and silky-like woven rayon (like lingerie rayon) can be soaked with care. I would not wet silks that are dyed dark colors or that have printed designs. Those colors are going to run when you wet it. Some people say that you can soak a silk item in vinegar to set the color and then wash it. But I have never tried that. For light washing, you can use a little Woolite in cool water for washable silks and rayons. Something else that I've used on delicates is Eucalan - http://www.eucalan.com/ - which is really made for sweaters, but is also recommended for delicates. It has fabric conditioners and it is no rinse. Good for light cleaning, but it does not work on stains. For items with stains, you can soak washable silks and rayons in Biz too, but after melting the Biz in hot water, add cool water before you add the item. Test for colorfastness or watch it closely as you put it in the water. You may see a little bit of color come out. If the color in the water is different from the color of the garment, it is just dye residue and it should be fine to continue soaking, you may have to change the water after a few minutes. But if the water turns the color of the item, then it is the dye itself coming out, so get it out of the water right away, that means it is NOT colorfast and will fade in color. I don't soak silks in Biz very often, because it can be harsh on such a delicate fabric. I usually only try it if the item is a 'lost cause' to begin with, something that I would probably sell as-is because of stains. But I've been surprised how some silks clean up. I've also been surprised by some silks falling apart in the water. That's not the Biz fault though, that would have happened with any cleaner or even in just plain water. Some fabrics are just rotten, even if they don't appear damaged.
I've also used my Biz paste soak on stains on washable rayon and silk items, including a 1930s silk satin Harlow gown, with nice results.

Dry cleaning - The only thing that I can recommend is checking the cleaners in your area by asking them if they handle vintage items. You might want to remove any special buttons from your vintage items before leaving them at the cleaners. Ask how they handle items with sequins and rhinestones. Ask what their policy is if they damage your item. I would limit the number of times that you dry clean vintage. The chemicals can be harsh on some older fabrics, so do it sparingly.

Buying vintage with stains - don't buy anything stained unless you are pretty sure that you can get out the stains, or unless it is super cheap. In the beginning of my stock buying, I bought tons of stuff with stains, thinking that I'd find a way to clean them. Now for me, I just don't have the time to spend hours on a single garment anymore, so I usually pass up things that look like a big project. But you may have some fun with a project like that, and it is very satisfying to make a lost cause a fabulous addition to your wardrobe. Take a before photo so that you can share your glee and pride over your cleaning skills to anyone who compliments you when wearing your magically cleaned item. If you are buying from a dealer, a vintage shop or even a thrift shop, and you point out the stain to the seller, don't believe the seller if they say 'oh that stain will wash out very easy' - if it's so easy to wash, they should have washed it themselves. Otherwise they should be selling it for a discounted price, not full retail. Don't pay for stains. I clean everything to the best of my ability, and I discount my items according to any stains that I couldn't get out, and I point them out in my discriptions. I don't try to pass anything by my buyers, but I've come across dealers who either don't look over the items closely enough before they price them, or else they are trying to pass damage/stains by the buyers. The only thing that I wouldn't wash is something that is already unwearable. On Victorian and Edwardian white items, sometimes I wash them, and sometimes I sell them as found, which I mention in the description. With those items, some people want them nice and white to possibly wear, and some people like them with the natural aging. So I sell them both ways.

Wow, this is turning out to be a very big essay! There's probably alot more that I could add, but this is what I have for now.

Online Vintage Communities

There are several Vintage Clothing communities online that you can join, or visit to glean info on vintage. Each one offers different information and environments.

Vintage Clothing & Accessories forum on ebay - http://forums.ebay.com/db1/forum.jspa?forumID=92&start=0
Most of the participants on this messageboard are ebay sellers. Here people post pictures or questions about their latest finds. The regulars there know their stuff and are quick to reply with a friendly response. You don't have to be an ebay user to read the posts, but you do need to register to reply or to make posts yourself. You don't have to be a seller to ask questions here either, anyone is welcome to reply with helpful info or to post questions about your own items. This is probably the most active messageboard on vintage that I have seen. I check it out 4 or 5 times a day to see what's going on. I usually lurk, but I reply occasionally when I have some info to add. The messageboard is a friendly community with only an occasion spat or the passing troll, just ignore that.

The Vintage Fashion Guild - http://www.vintagefashionguild.org/
Founded by a group of vintage clothing sellers who combined their knowledge to create this online resource. It provides a timeline, history of hats, shoes and hairstyles among other things. Also a guide to help indentify furs and ethnic dress. A very useful resource that they offer is the 'Label Resource' with a collection of images of designer labels, the eras that those labels were used, and brief designer history. Their online resources are available to everyone, no need to join. You do need to sign up for the basic membership to view and participate on their messageboard. They also have a paid membership with benefits for vintage clothing sellers, membership is by approval. I am not a paid member. I did sign up for the basic membership and I have checked out the board a few times.

Fashiontrac - http://www.fashiontrac.com/
Another group of vintage clothing lovers and sellers formed this group to provide fashion information. It has a seasonal newsletter with fashion trends, vintage events, auctionhouse vintage sales, featured sellers and a public messageboard. It's past newsletters are archived online, so there's some good info to check out there. Each season they have an indepth look at the fashion shows and report on the upcoming trends. Membership is free with no signing up at all, unless you'd like to receive their next newsletter by email.

Here are 2 Yahoo! vintage communities that I just joined - I'm brand new to both, so I can't comment on them very much. They both look to provide a nice, friendly helpful environment for vintage lovers.
Corsets & Crinolines - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/corsetsandcrinolines/

Art Deco Living - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vintagedeco/
Vintage clothing and accoutrements of the Art Deco era

If you know of any other online vintage communities, please let me know about them, I'd love to check them out.


Vintage Clothing Article

Here's a nice article about vintage clothing with a decade to decade breakdown of what's hot and what's not. I was asked to contribute to the article along with Vintage Vixen and Rusty Zipper.