Velveteen JSKs Restoration: The Cleaning (Red Dress)

Project 13, part 2 – It Doesn’t Always Work (Part 1 here)

She’s really so lovely!

Welcome back to Mukashi no Sewing! This week I spent cleaning the red velveteen dress, which was…if not precisely a failure, certainly not a success either. More on that later, but first let’s talk about the process! You can see here that when the lace is compared to a piece of printer paper, it’s quite a bit darker:

But still freaking gorgeous! I’m such a sucker for torchon lace.

I was hoping to change that! Red is a notoriously fugitive dye, so job one was to spot test the tip of one of the waist ties to see if immersing this bad boy in water was even an option. Waist ties are often used for testing colorfastness on lolita dresses because not everyone wears them (they tie around the back in a bow to add definition to the waist, which not everyone wants or needs), and because a small bit of damage on one is easily hidden.

Not pictured: my deep anxiety.

When you have a dress with a printed pattern, you can see if the dye migrates from one area of the print to another. With a solid color dress, you just blog the wet fabric with a white paper towel and see if anything comes away.

We stan colorfast dyes in this neighborhood.

Luckily for me, the dye was solid, so it was time for the next test! This dress has a removable ruffle at the neckline, and before I went scrubbing on the whole dress I wanted to test my methods on the ruffle. The velveteen part of the ruffle is entirely hidden when the dress is worn, making this as safe a test as possible.

The ruffle in question.

I started with my usual cool water bath with some Delicate Wash from The Laundress mixed in.

Not pictured: more severe anxiety about how this will go.

Nothing happened. I mean, just nothing. So, on the advice of some fellow lolitas, I moved to Oxyclean! I haven’t used it before, but everyone I know has had great luck with whitening and brightening. I made a paste of it with hot water, and let it sit on the ruffles for about 6 hours as recommended before thoroughly washing it out.

Oxyclean gets weirdly crusty as it dries, it’s a very unsettling texture. Maybe that’s why you’re supposed to wear gloves? LOL.

Then it had to dry for almost 48 hours as apparently cotton velveteen LOVES retaining moisture and I was terrified of putting it away damp in my closet and bringing it out later only to find mold. Living in the boggy Pacific Northwest means a lot of vigilance against mold and mildew!

Sorry for the blurry image here! Also really glad I tested the ruffle first…

And…nothing. Ok, well, not nothing. The nap of the velveteen was crushed slightly be the experience, and it was now lighter and less vibrant than it was originally. The lace, however? Exactly the same.

Pictured: absolutely no change

So…I went back to my source material, and…argh.

Should have looked at this first!

Definitely off-white lace. In other words, this wasn’t lace yellowed from ageing, this was always intended to be a pleasing ivory. Siiiiiiiiigh.

This was a much-needed reminder to me to be more vigilant with checking primary sources before assuming I know what’s going on! Luckily thanks to my foresight I didn’t harm the dress, and the slight discoloration on the ruffle insert isn’t visible when worn. But at the very least I could have saved myself quite a bit of work by more closely examining the photos of the dress from its release, and realizing that it didn’t need to be cleaned! 😀

The black velveteen dress does have ACTUAL stains on the lace, but thanks to this experience I’ll be working on spot-cleaning those only, rather than trying to wash the entire dress! 🙂 So join me next time for what is hopefully a less pointless excursion here on Mukashi no Sewing! ❤

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6 thoughts on “Velveteen JSKs Restoration: The Cleaning (Red Dress)

  1. Rae I love this beautiful velvet dress 👗, absolutely gorgeous.
    I can picture you wearing this during the Christmas season!


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