Thursday, 17 July 2014

Secrets of a Not So Domesticated Goddess



Ever heard the saying You don't own it till you've washed it? Probably not, I made it up. When I'm rummaging through rails of stock at some vintage fairs I'm often put off by ominous looking stains and by the distinct whiff of Febreeze, a tell tale sign that the seller hasn't been arsed to wash their stock. If that's how they present their clothes how sure can you be that they aren't trying to flog retro-looking modern tat with the labels cut out or shoddy items with fag burns, broken zips or missing buttons?


I wash almost everything I sell, which can be a bit of killer, especially on days like yesterday when we come home with the motherload of vintage goodies.


Everything stained or particularly grubby gets soaked in Oxi Fabric Stain Remover from Poundland.  I add a measure to 4 litres of hot water, leave the offending garment to soak for up to an hour and then chuck it in the washing machine (on a cool wash). It works on everything from 1940s wool suits & delicate lace cocktail dresses to shirts like this 1970s one, hideously grimy around the collar and cuffs.



I don't waste money on washing powder, I use soda crystals. They are cheap (70p a kilo at Wilkos), kinder to the environment and don't have a fragrance. My pet hate when buying second hand clothes is the hideous washing powder so many people use, a stink my friend Sarah describes as a tropical garden on steroids. 


Don't roll your eyes - I didn't figure this out until years after I'd left home - only wash white clothes with other white clothes - no off-whites, creams or white with a print or a coloured trim. This guarantees your whites stay white and not dingy grey!

Wearing: Strappy top I made from a vintage tea towel with a 1970s block printed Chelsea Girl wrap skirt (Tin Trunk Vintage)

I line dry everything if I can and this Summer is proving perfect for it. If the weather isn't dry then I'll use clothes horses (bought from jumble sales) and dry our clothes indoors. The tumble dryer (inherited from Jon's late Mum) is a last resort for bedding and bath towels - no clothes go in it, ever!


Fancy a sneak preview of just a few of the beauties we've found this week?  All washed, ironed and ready to wow the crowds in Liverpool this weekend.


Midis and minis from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.


A few of the jackets, blouses and skirts from the 1950s & beyond.

...and maxi dresses to die for!


...and that's not even the half of it, there's some incredible 1960s menswear (including a tapestry Regency-style frock coat) , hats, bags, shoes, belts, dressmaking patterns from as far back as the 1940s...but I've a jumble sale to go and help at and a campervan to pack so I'm all out of time.


See you next week!

PS Check out our finds HERE, Jon & I were Finders of the Fair at Stockport's Vintage Village this month.

65 comments:

  1. You've inspired me to wash most everything in the machine too, on a cold, gentle cycle. Then I hang the good stuff to dry; the tees, undies and towels go in the dryer. Looks like a fabulous treasure trove for your weekend ahead, Vix. There's a brown print maxi skirt with my name on it. Love your top and skirt too, xox.

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  2. I beg to differ - I think you are more domesticated than you reckon! I am always surprised at vintage sellers who clearly haven't made any attempt to wash their stock; it gives vintage a bad name, and leads people (albeit idiots!) to think everything old must smell or have stains. Thank goodness your customers get a better service!
    Ooh, your amazing treasure trove of vintage stock looks just wonderful, I'd like a good old rummage through that pile on your sofa, and as sad as it sounds, I do love to see a washing line full of colour!
    Love your Indian skirt and the Mona Lisa top, and the fact that you are managing a smile while doing the ironing - there's a woman who is happy in her work, and it's great to see!
    Good luck at Speke Hall, bet you'll have a fab time! xxx

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  3. very Cinderella! In fact, I love this motto and thanks for washing tips!

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  4. Fallen for the bottom left pink & blue 'top'; what size?
    Also eyeing up your washing machine...keep thinking we'll need to update ours, then it sorts itself out again. If that Hotpoint deals with your piles of vintage goodies then that sells it to me! (Better tell that to HotP!)
    Have a fab time in Liverpool & big hug to Alex!
    Z xx

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  5. Yes, indeed, "tropical garden on steroids" plus "Febreeze" = the distinctive atmosphere of a flea stall! On the other hand, there's the delight of discovering a treasure trove of lavender scented linens recovered from some grandaunt's cedar chest!

    I love the smell of Tide-washed towels flapping on the line in summer sun!

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  6. you certainly work hard for your living, proof you love it!! Gosh you found some beauties this week!!I love the top you made from the tea towel!

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  7. Now you see, if all of these clothes were in my size (which doesn't happen unfortunately, I would be tempted to ask you to do a job lot for me lol. I especially love the 2nd and 4th dress and the dark blue maxi, I would love twirling around in them on a lovely day like today. Have a fabulous and prosperous few days V xxx

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  8. I so wanna go shop at Kinky .... in love with most of your stock and tbat yellow dress ..
    thanks for the tips but i dont think we can get soda christals here . Love you !

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  9. Thanks so much for this tip! I really could have used it before I spent $150 to dryclean 4 vintage dresses with intricate beading on them and sequins. I just about died when they told me the price when I picked them up. Also I've had difficulty getting some of the smells to come out of some items that I've bought at estate sales.

    I can't believe you can even wash a suit jacket! I would have thought the seams would come apart since often they are just glued.

    I'm assuming you don't wash anything with wool though.

    I'm writing down the Oxi Fabric Stain remover for sure.

    Thanks for the tips!

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  10. just about anything can be washed in the machine, just don't put it in the dryer! I even wash non-human hair wigs that way, in mesh bags on gentle! I do send anything lined or with shoulder pads, or to be on the safe side to the dry cleaner. To get rid of that smell, hang the clothes outside in the shade. Sweaters and old slips can be washed in the sink. Anything I buy second hand gets washed before I wear it. If something have a hole of stain, put it in the discount pile!

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  11. great tips there ,I am going to try out ,what smashing finds you have there , have a good weekend Vix x.

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  12. Great finds and so were the vintage finds in the article. I particularly like that penguin and those sandwich cakes are very original.

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  13. What a great haul!
    I always wash everything I buy to sell as well.
    Especially from the thrifts---there is a certain thrift store smell that clings to a garment no matter which thrift you got it at. Sometimes it takes me two washings to get it out. And sometimes it is combined with that tropical detergent smell you talked about. Geh! Well, you are a vintage dealer with integrity, Vix, and your customers can be sure they are getting clean, authentic vintage for sure!

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  14. Now that is what I call a haul!!! Plenty of stock for you there, which is lucky. Thanks for the washing tip too as I'll have to look out for that stain remover as Monkeychild's school socks get really grubby. I always line dry our stuff as well - you can't beat the rough feel of towels dried outside! xx

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  15. What a fantastic haul Vix, I can see five things there that I'd like. Can't imagine you selling pongy threads anyways. Soda crystals eh, I might try them out, already using Aldi stain remover-cheap as chips for a bucketful. Have a great weekend, you're bound to sell loads with that sensational stock. xxxxx

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  16. It´s been a wonderful read!
    It has been great to take a peek at the process.
    I also stand by the premise, that you don´t own it
    until you wash it. I have to say, that for me it´s also part of the pleasure! Believe it or not, hoho!
    I wish you loads fo success next weekend!!!

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  17. Thank you for all your very helpful tips, lovely and gorgeous vintage goddess! I'm making notes to myself - I have no clue about all this stuff. Have a great time in Liverpool - hugs to Sandra! :) xxx

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  18. Such a lovely lot of vintage goodies you guys got!!! <3

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  19. What a great haul. I love the 4th dress and the 1st skirt - shame Liverpool is so far away. x

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  20. I am dying gushing oohing and awing over those fabulous pieces that will be up for grabs in Liverpool! OMG they are gonna love you guys! Seriously Vix the stuff just POPS!
    I think sellers who wash and mend their vintage stock really know what they are doing. Why sell something that is broken if you can easily fix it and how hard is a wash and mends really? I always love it when sellers do this. I

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  21. I wasn't done but blogger is acting up. LOVE YOU!!!

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  22. The people of Liverpool are in for a treat this weekend - so many lovely dresses! Thanks for the tip about the stain remover, will have to try that out x

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  23. I wish I could look as happy whilst I'm ironing, it has to be my most hated chore, you make it look like your favourite thing! Agree with you about washing everything, only ever came a cropper with acetate, which shrank badly, and now avoid it like the plague! What a fab haul of stock you have there, some of those prints are amazing, and that Chelsea Girl maxi is beautiful!

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  24. Such great tips from one who claims to be so undomesticated! I have to say I am one of those guilty of greying my whites. And agree with you on tumble driers - clothes you care about should never go in them. Your vintage goodies look amazing! Lucky Liverpool!

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  25. The black swirly kaftan immediately reminded me of my mother! she wore them a lot, the more sparkly and noisy the better, with sandlewood perfume and lots of red lipstick and nails, hair in big plaits. Thanks for the washing advice, I have a bag of soda crystals doing nothing so now they have a purpose!

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  26. oooh no to Febreeze - just one whiff and I'm thinking 'what are you trying to hide?' - and yuk to cheap air freshener sickly fragrances. Having said that I use 99p bottles of Zoflora like its going out of fashion. You can dilute it to super subtle levels and it does for everything from room freshener to trad disinfectant things - even a tiny bit in your washing machine rinse/fab conditioner thingie. I'm addicted to the hyacinth one.

    I don't mind dry cleaning with a lot of airing inbetween for the Misters suits as I live in fear and dread of clothes moths. For me - its baby shampoo and handwashing for anything fancy. But beware of old sequins - they can dissolve.

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  27. That truely is the mother load!

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  28. Does it say 'Wilkos' soda crystals? I've never heard of them but I'll certainly have a look for them. I finally got round to buying 'Salt of the Earth' deoderant which I'm sure you recommended. I test drove it on the hottest days this year and I love it! No smell and no sweat either.
    Have a great time in Liverpool! xxx

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  29. Sweet vintage! I've never even heard of soda crystals??? Must look into it. Certain stains on certain fabrics make me nervous... So I usually just point them out and state that I didn't attempt to remove it.

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  30. Oh I am positively drooling over that teal and gold dress in the top photo group and that blue floral maxi skirt in the next group. AND the skirt you are wearing. THAT is my very favourite as I adore block printed cottons.

    And how cute is the top you made!!

    It is no surprise to me at all that you wash all the items you sell and make sure everything is top notch. You have integrity, skill and knowledge. I hope your weekend sale goes really well.

    xoxoxo

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  31. Ugh, I loathe that washing powder smell too!
    Mmm, that tea towel top is taking it to another level!!! It's just fabularse!
    I think I have the same iron! Got to have a decent iron, dammit!
    Love Helga xxxXXXxxx

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  32. I think I want everything in the first picture!

    Question about the Oxy-clean, what about zips? some stuff I had said absolutely do not put in anything with metal zips or catches....

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  33. of mini dresses not the washing line pic that has pink frocks in it!

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  34. What a good haul, hope selling goes well. I have never thought to use soda crystals instead of washing powder but they sound like a good option

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  35. Guess what's on my shopping list... thanks for the recommendations! Love your Mona Lisa top and skirt, you even make ironing look glam! x

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  36. Oooh, I love the things on the washing line! That orange patterned blouse is also in my local Oxfam!!!

    I love your advice! Thanks for sharing!x

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  37. Okay ... time for a confession ... if I go to a charity shop or second hand shop I often can't bear to even look through the clothes much less buy any of them. And the reason is the smell ... which I find quite stomach churning. But I think you may have just got to the bottom of it. It must be the overpowering essence of Eau de Febreeze.
    xx

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  38. I think you know that I love hanging on the clothes line, but come winter I'll have to find a clothes rack if I can. :)

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  39. The array of colours, fabrics and prints of your vintage fashion hauls is fabulous. I love that orchid coloured dress hanging on the clothesline Perhaps it's because I'm on the other side of the pond but I hadn't heard of Poundland, Oxi Fabric Stain Remover and Soda Crystals. I think it would behoove me to look for them. I love your laundry tips. I confess to recently using a tumble dryer, but not on the blouses I've blogged about (so far anyway). I'm really good at shrinking things.
    Best of luck at the Speke Hall Vintage Festival.

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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  40. It's amazing how easy it is to do washing and ironing when you're motivated and not coerced! Your stock looks fabulous!! I always wash everything with the most gentle products too.

    Have a wonderfully successful sale!! In the meantime, you look stunning. Love that arm bracelet. :-) XXOO

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  41. Hello Vix, You have some beautiful clothes to sell. That Speke Vintage Festival sounds like a blast. You do an impeccable job with your clothes. Everything so fresh for the buyer. No one can accuse you of being lazy! You are amazing!

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  42. A vintage seller that doesn't was their clothes is just a sign they don't really care about their business - I love seeing all the pretties on the washing line!!

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  43. I use soda crystals to clean my silver cutlery, well plated. Bowl, foil, 2 tablespoons washing soda add cutlery and boiling water. Outside as it makes fumes! After five minutes all nice and shiny.

    Washing soda also cleans washing machines and dishwashers on a hot wash, fab stuff.

    I use Lidl washing liquid, cheap and no smell but I am going to try soda crystals.

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  44. I can see where I've been going wrong with the washing, I put whites, vague whites occasional black socks in together and commit other laundry crimes! I'm going to have a go with the soda crystals, if it can get rid of teenage arm pit/man sock whiff I'll be sold on it - good luck at the weekend too, your stock looks flaming awesome (don't know if I can make it) and you looking gorgeous too btw!

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  45. http:www.dri-pak.co.uk/laundry-cleaning-tips.html
    - they also sell dolly blue for keeping your whites white!!

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  46. looking as lovely as ever, I do like your tea-towel top, what a great idea!

    So many gorgeous clothes for Liverpool. I'm quite in love with a couple of them.

    My late grandmother used to use soda crystals. I can remember eating them when I was little :(

    Have a perfect weekend xx

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  47. Damn! Typical - you are in Liverpool this weekend and I am miles away from home. Hope you have a lovely weekend.

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  48. I'd have to vote this as one of my most favorite outfits on you. It is stunningly divinely goddessy gorgeous.
    I love your conscientious way you do business Vix. That's why you're on top...that among other things.

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  49. I wash every item before I stick it out, it's paramount! I want to perhaps transition to selling clothes so I love the tips in this post. Will try some of these out :D

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  50. After ruining one perfect chiffon evening gown from a simple hand washing in delicate soap, I swore off washing my vintage items ever again. The gown shrank and shriveled up like as if I blasted it wish fire! Maybe I'll send my vintage goods to you to be cleaned? You've got the magic touch!!!

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  51. Looks like the people of Liverpool are in for a vintage shopping treat. Such great pieces there. I'm sure giving everything a wash help you guys stand out as sellers of the best quality. I imagine washing the items would certainly make everything smell better, but the garments must inevitably look better too. You are so cute and smiley, and even make ironing look like a fun thing to do.
    xo

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  52. Hi Vix - I have a dress to send you for your stall. I bought it for me but it doesn't fit xx It's a pretty black cocktail dress that looks 70s. can you email your address to janemclark@hotmail.com

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  53. oh yes - i put my second hand clothes from the bags directly in to the washing machine! i washed leather and fur too..... the typical 2.hand store smell is to awful.
    but my pet hate is this heavy drugstore smell on some people if i meet them while hiking in the woods! one moment you have trees, grass, flowers and mushroom in your nose and then - uuaahhh - a explosion of cheap perfume, to much washing powder and aftershave......
    you look beautiful while doing your washing!
    xxxx

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  54. Just had such a mega catch up on your blog. It feels like I haven't read your writinfs in forever and has been such a joy to see you in all you vintage fabulousness xx

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  55. After having had some very good luck at thrift stores this month, I was telling a friend that you know which store you bought something from by the smell. I confess that sometimes I will wear something I've purchased secondhand without washing it first, but it depends where I found it.

    My eye went to the green/blue/brown print mini dress in the upper right hand side of the collage. What a fab colour combination!

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  56. I've never tried washing with soda crystals before,that's quite a price difference with washing powder.Good luck finding new homes for that latest amazing haul! x

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  57. this is truly the motherload of vintage buys!

    good luck on selling! (to me as well. we are all about leaving for our first flea market this year ...selling at the r'n'r flea market. probably it's too hot for tourists and berliners to go shopping ...)

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  58. Been looking for a good post about how to wash vintage - thanks! Still stuck on how to deal with sequin 80s stuff but reckon I might try hand wash with the crystals. Any tips on sequin laden stuff would love to know!

    Wish I was up in Liverpool to go to your event.

    Kelly
    vintageoxford.com

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  59. Haha! That made me laugh! Heard that saying? Probably not because you made it up! Funny. Mind you, a lot of Vixisms go on to become the law. I quoted you TODAY! 'Vix says, if it doesn't make you feel fabulous, it's got to go.' Also last night at a party, people were asking me about you, isn't she glamorous and doesn't she have a wonderful figure?!' See, you're a famous goddess. Love this tip, am definitely go and get some of that. I love a colourful washing line and all your stock looks amazing. I need something by KM soon! You look gorgeous in your ironing outfit, that Mona Lisa top is great. Xxxxxxx

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  60. That Mona Lisa dress is wicked !!

    Love from France,
    Lorna

    Http://lornasharp.blogspot.com

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  61. What a haul! I would love to spend the day perusing all of those great pieces. Enjoy your week Vix! Thanks for the bday wishes. xx

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  62. I have been watching Dawn O'porters TV show "this old thing" and it's so strange to hear people are afraid of vintage cause of the smell or that people got dirty and sweaty inside it, but I guess if you are a good seller, there is nothing for the buyer to worry about! Most of my things are bought from the "chazza" so definitely they get washed, especially the fabric I pick up from there. They always smell terribly before a good wash! I don't have any of my own tips, but drying things inside out is a must! The hot Aussie sun bleaches everything!

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  63. Thanks for all those great washing tips, Vix. I've recently discovered Oxi-Clean soaking with the advent of my tablecloth dresses and I never use the dryer for my clothes. They all line dry inside or outside as the weather permits. I'm so impressed of your care for your vintage wear to sell. Lucky customers. Now to look for washing crystals. Never heard of them before.

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  64. Firstly I feel terrible I haven't been popping in a lot lately. Things have been hectic here with my brood. I loved this post and it's all that dissimilar to what I do. I don't use washing crystals though but I do use a environmentally friendly washing powder that is scent free. I too can not stand washing powder fragrances, besides the scents give me allergies. I love all the minis you've scored, I'm rather obsessed with wanting to find some fabulous minis at present, the two have sent going to cut it, I need more. Hope you're well beautiful Vix.

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xxx