By The Clothes Doctor

Good Intentions Can be Costly

Recently, I had an opportunity to restore some heirloom doll clothing circa 1900… 

The items required restoration as someone with honorable and good intentions attempted to clean by hand washing. The results of home hand washing – blue dye from a silk dress “bled” on some of the clothing. Upon close examination, all items contained multiple stains, some needed sewing repairs.


After discussing the risks in attempting restoration, I proceeded with painstaking care using restoration techniques passed down over the past 80+ years, the doll clothing was deemed a “beautiful restoration job.”



When dealing with heirloom items it is best to consult a professional – Good intentions can prove to be costly.














From time to time we clean mascot outfits from various corporations. “Hamlet” is cleaned several times per year. The key to cleaning these unusual pieces is often learned in what not to do. For example, a thorough cleaning by traditional methods would result in Hamlet being in several pieces and unrecognizable. Hand cleaning, using painstaking patience, with time-learned and proven techniques for each component item results in a happy, clean “puppy.”

By The Clothes Doctor

Check Your Outdoor Furniture

As spring moves to summer, sitting around the pool will soon be the order of the day.

Caution: Check outdoor cushion covers and furniture for mold and mildew.

After or during winter storage if any residual moisture was or is on items, as temperatures rise it promotes growth of these noxious pests. It is incredible how quickly problems develop. And the bad news is -unless the problem is discovered quickly the damage can be irreversible. What appears to be discoloration is often mold and/or mildew.

Note: drycleaning will NOT correct the problem— Wet-cleaning using oxidizing agents is the only answer and unfortunately, can cause color fade.

Check often and early for signs of these very visible enemies.


Restoring Vintage Gowns

Cleaning and restoring vintage gowns provides an opportunity to preserve a piece of family history-or if handled improperly, create a heartache.  So ask questions!

How will the piece be processed? What are the risks in processing? Will fabric be damaged in cleaning? If “yellowed” can this be corrected? How will the item be packaged?

By the way, here are answers to the last two: If my gown is yellowed, can it be corrected? – Yes, but not by dry cleaning. Wet cleaning is required to correct yellowing. How will my gown be packaged? – Only with acid free paper, and perhaps a lignin free (archival) box. (Lingin is a natural substance found in wood pulp that gives off acids as it deteriorates).

As in any restoration project communication is the key- Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Avoid Damaging Expensive Holiday Clothing

Holiday Celebrations always feature great food and good cheer. Unfortunately both often find their way to our finest holiday attire as unwanted “decorations.

 For the proper “Do’s and Don’ts” of how to deal with these unwanted guests, check out the demonstration on KMOV’s Great Day St. Louis here:

Restoring Vintage Gowns