Victorian Era Nightgown Restoration: The Cleaning (Stage 2)

Project 3, part 4 – Cleaner, but Still With Missing Buttons! (Part 1, part 2, part 3 here)

This post is in no way sponsored by Vintage Textile Soak… (but if they want to reach out, they can contact me here!)

Welcome back to the Victorian Era nightgown restoration project! A few days ago my order of Vintage Textile Soak arrived, so I was excited to see how it would work. The instructions said that items could soak for up to 24 hours so I decided to let it go as long as I could. I mixed up the powder in a bucket (6 gallons of water is really heavy!), and poured it over the nightgown in my tub again. I started the soak at 10am, and let it go until 7:30am the next day. The next two pictures are a little dark because the only post-processing I’ve done is to change the White Balance to auto on both of them, and crop them slightly. This way you can really see the difference without any editing changes!

10am, the soak begins! The nightgown is pretty yellow, and the water is clear.
7:30am the next day – the nightgown is white, and the water is distinctly yellow!

I’m totally blown away by how well this worked! It didn’t damage the fabric in any way, and all my mending remained intact. The buttons also seemed unaffected. The initials on the inside collar were somewhat faded, but fortunately remain visible. All the spot stains were either completely removed, or faded to the point of not being able to see them from a normal viewing distance, and the general yellowing was almost completely removed.

Here it is still wet, fresh out of the bath.

The collar and cuffs, in particular, were a really pleasant surprise – you’d have to get uncomfortably close to the person wearing the nightgown in order to see the remnants of the stains that were formerly quite visible.

We’d better be REALLY good friends if you’re standing this close to me!

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan now of Vintage Textile Soak, and will definitely be using it again should I end up in possession of further antique garments that are both capable of being immersed in water and in need of a good wash. 🙂 I was definitely a little dubious about wearing it before with as many stains as it had, but now I’m very excited to model it!

Pictured: not me modeling it.

Instead, however, you’ll have to wait a little longer for the reveal, as I ran into another roadblock! I had purchased antique buttons on Etsy (thanks to a reader’s suggestion!) with the intent of sewing them on for this blog post. (They were from the late 1890s, so still Victorian-era, although nearly 40 years past the period of this nightgown’s construction.) I assumed that because they were listed as being 9/16″ that they were actually that size…but when I checked them just prior to sewing I found that they were in fact 10/16″ (5/8″)! What the heck!? It’s my own fault for not checking them immediately, so at this point I can’t return them. They’re really pretty, so I’ll just save them for another project, and I’ll be certain to measure the new pair I’ve just purchased as soon as they arrive. So I will see you next time, when (hopefully) I will have replaced the missing buttons and can pose in my backyard doing my best Victorian maiden impression!

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8 thoughts on “Victorian Era Nightgown Restoration: The Cleaning (Stage 2)

    1. I honestly couldn’t stop giggling imagining someone just sidling up waaaaay too close behind me and making some kind of comment about the faint stains there! 😂


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