Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Caring for your Handmade Items [A Guest Post]

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Today's guest post is from Maire, of EatBreatheBlog.com.  Maire is going to share some tips for caring for the handmade gifts you are giving and/or receiving this Holiday Season and beyond... enjoy!

How to care for your new creations!

Crafting hits a peak in the holiday season. Whether you are making creations for yourself or others, many DIY opportunities arise. However, being able to make someone a homemade gift doesn't mean you necessarily should.


Luckily, I haven't received any true crafting disasters and I don't think it happens that often. The more common mistake, I feel, is improper use of homemade items once they are gifted. Personally made gifts don't often come with care instructions; little details like "not dishwasher safe" or "dry clean only" don't always get translated when they should. This leads to people accidently ruining the presents. Follow these steps on how to care for your homemade garments so that you can better protect your precious creations and spread the word to others.

The Right Stuff
Pay attention to your fabric selection. Go for items that are stain resistant or can go in washers. Avoid mixing easy care fabrics with difficult ones. The next owner is likely to not notice the difference and care for it incorrectly. If you do use a variety of fabrics in a project, then include specific (and realistic) care instructions. My grandmother used to write instructions on a scrap of fabric with a felt pen and sew it in the garment.

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
When it comes to caring for homemade garments, construction is half the battle. Sometimes projects can take longer than anticipated and it's tempting to begin using shortcuts. This is a bad idea. Shortcuts in stitching and assembling will show in time and you don't want to be the one caught with her apron down. Don't get lazy when you're making something--you'll only have to repair it later.

The Devil in the Details
Items that have delicate bead or embroidery work can be difficult to care for especially if they are antique. The best first step for intricate/antique items is vacuuming. Cover the hose of your vacuum with mesh or a piece of nylon stocking. Begin with the nozzle an inch or two away from the object and then move closer. This should be able to remove a surprising amount of dust, especially with a strong vacuum. Before washing, figure out the type of fabric and check for color fastness. Dab a wet white cloth (or cotton swab for small areas) on to a section of the colored fabric. As you dab, look for any color transfer. If dye appears on the white cloth then the object is not colorfast. If an item is of particular value and you cannot determine the type of fabric it is made of then consult your local art museum.  Most museums have a textiles curator that can certainly help you out.

Maire blogs on behalf of Sears and other quality brands and is mildly obsessed with crafting. She can also be found constantly baking red velvet cupcakes and walking her dachshund puppy. *Read more of Maire's work here.

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Here is some info on Caring for your SoChick! Handbags and Accessories:
TheSoChick Chick's Guide to Caring for your SoChick! Items

XxOo~ Melissa

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