Saturday, September 19, 2009

HELP! Christening Gown Repair

Because I LOVE to launder vintage linens, I recently offered to help my sister-in-law, Linda -- help revitalize a nearly 40-year old christening dress AND coat. We were doing fine...we first soaked it overnight, then soaked it in got snowy white and even the lace looked fabulous.But, I realized there was a small tear in the intricate cutwork of the embroidered hem. (just not enough fabric to hold the threads together).

I managed to repair that tear -- but then, I noticed there was also a small tear in the lining bodice. This one really has me stumped. What worries me is that I'm not sure what fabric was used for the lining. I could remove the lining. I thought about ironing on a fusible knit interfacing -- but I'm afraid this lining fabric will not take the heat. Any suggestions? Debra Justice -- WHERE ARE YOU?? This is my official "SOS"...


  1. Rita,

    I cannot get a clear picture of the fabric or tears. When I blow up the pictures they become very blurry.

    In the 1960's, many christening gowns were made out of fine cotton fabrics, such as batiste, lawn and English/Indian muslin. Does this feel like any of those fabrics? I am not Debra and she would definitely be the expert to ask how to do this. I would *not* use the fusible knit. ;) I would try to identify the lining fabric and then patch it with the same type of fabric, or replace with with a similar fabric. Part of this depends on the end goal for this dress. Is the goal to preserve the original design, fabric, etc. or, is the intent to simply get is usable once again. That should help you decide what method you chose to do your repairs.

    Here's hoping that Debra chimes in...I would like to hear what she has to say, too. :)

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  3. Hi Again

    Now, that I'm looking again, it looks like that hole is up on the bodice near the sleeve. If that's the case, do a tiny little patch where you turn the edges under and whip stitch it place with tiny stitches. Try to make the patch the same shape of the hole but a bit bigger (1/4" all round would do it). It will show off your workmanship rather than have a square that would be too obvious - the next generations would be laughing at this job, and we don't want that!