Friday, September 4, 2009

66 year old stains!!

I mentioned somewhere that over the summer I created a World War II Navy Nurse uniform for a client from PA. Yup, she trucked down here numerous times for fittings all the way from Pennsylvania! Brenda's her name and re-enacting is her game. I really like her a lot.
Anyway, I made the 6 gore skirt and the jacket for the uniform and Brenda located the blouse, tie, shoes, hose and hat, much of it on the internet. The hat (or cover in military-speak) is a vintage piece from the '40's and had some staining on it. The way this particular cover is constructed, there's a heavy white cotton piece shaped to the frame that can be removed and washed. This is what was stained and by the location of the stain, it seemed it was probably rust from the (removable)emblem that is mounted on it.
Not sure about how fragile the fibers might be on something this old, my miracle dry cleaner was a little reluctant to use harsh cleaning fluids on it to remove the stains, but guess what! I got them out!
So, how did I get them out? I soaked the cover in cold water mixed with a generous scoop of an oxygen based cleaner. It soaked the first time for several hours and the stains were obviously moving, so I mixed up a new batch and soaked it overnight. When I came in the next morning and checked it, all that was left was a very faint discoloration of cream against white. Actually, all the fibers brightened so it looked a lot whiter overall. To see where the stains used to be, you'd have to know where they were.
The now stainless cover is on its way back to PA where it will be worn with the rest of the uniform at a Dwight D Eisenhower celebration this month in Gettysburg.
I have all sorts of stain removing tricks; it needs to be a bagful since different fibers and different staining materials require different solutions. If you have a stain removal question, please feel free to contact me...I'll be happy to share!

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