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.”


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!

Restoring Vintage Gowns