We are heading into another Fall season, after a (hopefully) relaxed summer. Now is the time to pull out your dance costumes and check on their condition for the upcoming competition season. Do they need refurbishing? Do they need some minor (or major) repairs? Do they need to be deodorized? Do they need to be cleaned?
Custom dance costumes are an investment. You normally don’t buy a costume for just one performance, so, in order to wear your gorgeous garments for many performances, you need to take the proper steps to keep them in good repair.
Many problems can occur with the longevity of dance costumes, simply because the wearer doesn’t know how to properly care for them and ends up neglecting them. Because I have always wanted the best for our Satin Stitches’ custom designed dance costumes, even AFTER they leave our shop, I have published many articles and blogs to help our clients care for their costumes. Unfortunately, however, sometimes the information is ignored and costumes are neglected. Or if they are group dance team costumes or uniforms, maybe a new person is now in charge of them and hasn’t seen our information?
The most important tip I can offer for the caring and laundering of your dance costumes is to treat your costumes specially. Dance costumes are manufactured out of specialty fabrics and trims that are generally more fragile than the fabrics used in your everyday apparel.
Never machine wash and/or dryclean a dance costume. Generally, dance costumes cannot be laundered by throwing them in the washing machine or sending them to your local dry-cleaning establishment.
Please recognize that spot-cleaning is often the only laundering option for some fabrics. My blog article - Hot Costume Care Tip: Spot Cleaning, describes how to spot clean your dance costume. I have many other blogs that deal with all sorts of laundering/care issues.
To prevent permanent costume damage, take proactive steps to eliminate permanent damage and odors from perspiration in your costumes. Long sleeved dance costumes are particularly susceptible to underarm stains that can affect the integrity of the fabrics and create set-in odors. We have several articles posted to our Costume Care page on our website, including “Girls DO Sweat! Tips for Sweaty Costumes”. An added insight into the laundering of any costume or gown that may have rhinestones or beads that have been glued on…if you don’t know what glue was used, you may have a nasty surprise awaiting you, if you take your garment to be dry-cleaned. Dry-cleaning fluids can disintegrate certain glues, and all or many of your rhinestones or beads could come off. Dry-cleaners may or may not ask you to sign a waiver stating that if this happens, it isn’t their fault. And really, no, it isn’t their fault.
I trust Loctite® gel super glue – I have tested it with the dry-cleaning establishment that we use, here at Satin Stitches for the permanent attaching of rhinestones and beads. If your dry-cleaner asks you to sign this waiver – be advised that the best plan is to NOT dry-clean your garment!
I have published a “Hot Costume Care Tip of the Month” as part of our Satin Stitches monthly e-News. Additionally, we have assembled all of these tips and published them in e-Books, ‘8 Steps to Keep Your Costumes Fresh’ and ‘11 Tips for Caring For Your Costumes’. They are free and available for download on our website. Our other e-Books, ‘7 Tips For Repairing Your Costume’ and ‘5 Costume Budget Savings & Planning Tips’, may not directly address laundering issues, but still include information that can help you make wise decisions regarding your repair and costume selection. I welcome you to take advantage of all of this free information, it may help to extend your costume’s life!
(Submitted for September 2016 issue of Minnesota Dancer)
© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.