Vintage Dress Rescue

Featured Member Post

[Editor's note: I recently came across some dresses of my mom's from the late 1950's and passed them on to my daughter. Luckily, they were still in perfect shape. So when I came across this post by Harpa and how she is working to restore her own classics, it melted my heart! - Kathy]

My friend inherited some lovely vintage dresses this summer.

I have taken on the task of restoring them, something I really looks forward to. There is no pressure, I just take one at a time, when I can and feel like it.

I decided to start with this one:

There is nothing wrong with it per se. It's in very good condition and the rabbit skin at the top is absolutaly beautiful.

It's very dirty though and frankly more than a little smelly.


It has clearly been washed up to the fur trimming at the top, which has resulted in the brown tidal mark you can see on the second picture.

It could probably be cleaned by a fur cleaning specialist, but that it not really practical for a young lady that lives in a place where no such cleaning is available. It is also extremely expensive and might not be good for the delicate vintage fabric.

So I decided to remove the fur trimming, wash the dress thoroughly, and then add some snaps to the trimming so that it can be removed before washing in the future.

I don't own a seam ripper. I broke mine many years ago and I keep forgetting to buy a new one. The village shop does not carry them and when I'm in the city I always seem to forget them.

But sharp nail scissors are just nearly as good.

The dress is from New York and it's approximately fifty years old.

Now, the fur trimming is off and the washing is next - wish me luck!

Do you want to know how it went? Read about it here.


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