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Tips on Keeping Your Dance Costumes in Great Shape

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Fri, Mar 02, 2018 @ 13:03 PM

Purple fabric Satin Stitches.jpgDance team 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 then they end up neglecting their costumes. Because I have always wanted the best for our Satin Stitches’ 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.

Generally speaking, you cannot simply go to your favorite discount department store and pick up a new costume, like you can a new T-shirt or a pair of socks. Whether you purchase your costume from the Internet or from a local source, if your costume falls into disrepair or you are worrying more about odors and underarm stains than your routine, your performance may be hindered!

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.

For years, I have published a “Hot Costume Care Tip of the Month” as part of our Satin Stitches monthly e-News. Additionally, we have assembled many 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 costume selection and repair. I welcome you to take advantage of all of this free information, it may help to extend your costume’s life!

Please recognize that spot-cleaning is often the only laundering option for many fabrics used in dance costumes. To prevent permanent costume damage, take proactive steps to eliminate soiled 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”.

If you have followed my blogs over the years, by now you should be aware of a product that I endorse: FRESH AGAIN®, an odor eliminator that can help to preserve your performance costumes and keep them smelling new. I have personally tested it for safeness on all types of costume fabrics and trims and have not once been disappointed! The product is also safe with sensitive skin. This product has been used by theatrical companies, costume rental companies, police departments and fire departments with their garments that cannot be dry-cleaned or washed. And unlike other products on the market, there is no added fragrance.

Bottom line: Don’t neglect your dance team costumes! Keep them smelling fresh and in good repair. That way, you can retire your costumes when you are tired of them rather than being forced to, because they won’t last another performance.

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. If your dry-cleaner asks you to sign this waiver – be advised that the best plan is to NOT dry-clean your garment!

I trust Loctite® super glue – I have tested it with the dry-cleaning establishments that we use, here at Satin Stitches for the permanent attaching of rhinestones and beads.

Additionally, I’ve recently been hearing that dry-cleaners have been using an industrial washing machine set on ‘delicate’ and have been using this for garments labeled with the laundering instructions of ‘hand wash only’. DO NOT allow this, as your performance costumes could suffer. ‘Hand wash only’ should indicate that you should spot-clean and possibly quickly immerse your costume into water to release any soiled areas, keeping the water away from possible troublesome trims that if soaked in water, could lose their integrity.

Please be very cautious with the laundering of your dance costumes. Refer to the many blogs and articles that I have written that will help you with this caution.

(Submitted for March 2018 issue of Minnesota Dancer)

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

Tags: Costume Care Tips, Minnesota Dancer Magazine

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