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Old 01-08-2007, 06:20 PM   #1
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Default Whitening old lace on a dress

My mom saved my First Communion dress, which I also wore to my aunt's wedding at the time. This was about 27 years ago. The lace on it has yellowed and I wondered if anyone out there knew if there was a way to whiten it without ruining it? I thought bleach might ruin it; I don't remember what it is made of and I don't have it in front of me, but I think it is like a crepe material. My oldest makes her FHC this spring and thought if it fits her, it would be cool (at least I think it would be) to wear it then.

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Old 01-08-2007, 06:59 PM   #2
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I know this sounds really wierd but my son wore his dads christening outfit and my mother in law told me to soak it in buttermilk to make it whiter. I soaked it for an hour or so. Like I said - wierd but it worked! I also did this with the christening gown my daughter wore - it was my moms. Hope that helps!
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Old 01-08-2007, 07:06 PM   #3
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My neice is going to be baptised in the dress my sister and I wore, so we were just talking about this the other day. I will tell my sis to try buttermilk! Thanks!
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Old 01-08-2007, 07:31 PM   #4
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My mom asked me if I wanted her wedding dress from when she married my dad (in 1966). Not that I could EVER fit into it, but it will be something nice to pass to my daughter one day. It had been hanging in countless closets, in smoky houses, dusty houses, etc. for over 30 years when I got it. It is raw silk (A-line) with lace bell sleeves (very Jackie O). I soaked it in my bathtub with Oxiclean. Let me tell you, almost immediately the water started to change color. I needed to soak the dress like 3 times, but it is exactly the color it was on mom & dad's wedding day. Before the cleaning, it was the color of a tea-soaked towel.
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Old 01-08-2007, 09:56 PM   #5
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Just make sure the fabric is water safe first! Fabrics like acetate can not be soaked. Thus dry cleaning.
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Old 01-09-2007, 05:16 AM   #6
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I have an old christening gown and a lace top that were given to me and are in the same condition (yellowed and aged). I took them to ask my drycleaner about cleaning them, and she said that on vintage fabrics, the drycleaning chemicals could (and probably would) cause irreversible damage. She recommended I take them to a local quilt shop and ask them about how best to clean them, as the quilt shop frequently handles vintage materials. Now that being said, I haven't made it to the quilt shop yet to give you any more information, but that was the cleaner's recommendation.

Good luck and let us know how you clean it!

ps_ I think it would be cool for your DD to wear the dress, too!
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:48 AM   #7
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I would say try a quilt shop too!
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Old 01-09-2007, 07:08 PM   #8
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I wore my Mother's beautiful cathedral length mantilla veil when I got married. I purposely picked out a dress to go with it ... it's absolutely stunning with this incredible lace all around the edges. When we took it out it of the box was badly yellowed ... we took it to a cleaner that specialized in "restorative cleaning". It came out nearly perfect! When I brought it to my fitting the bridal store owner said to me it was the most beautiful, intricate work she had ever seen. She wanted to know where I got it and when I told her it was my Mom's she said I was a very lucky girl as it would cost a small fortune to purchase something like that! I strongly recommend you take it to a professional. Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2007, 09:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicsmom
I know this sounds really wierd but my son wore his dads christening outfit and my mother in law told me to soak it in buttermilk to make it whiter. I soaked it for an hour or so. Like I said - wierd but it worked! I also did this with the christening gown my daughter wore - it was my moms. Hope that helps!
Yes this does work. The place where I work manufactures christening wear and we got some fabric and lace that was yellowed. It came in a shipment from overseas and we tried the milk and it did a pretty good job. I would not have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself.
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:13 AM   #10
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You can do baking soda and water too. It won't hurt it.
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:10 PM   #11
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The buttermilk that has already been mentioned works great and you can squeeze real lemon juice on it and let it dry in the sun.

As someone said make sure it is washable.
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