The Sewing Place

The smell of vintage fabric... tips please

Marga - Sewing Chanel-Style

The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« on: June 07, 2019, 05:46:42 AM »
I recently bought vintage fabric for a Chanel Inspired jacket but it was a big dissappointed.  Instead of being very happy with my treasure  :fabric:, the smell is killing me.  :S
Anybody tips to get the 'old, dirty, dust, deprecated and stuffy' smell out of it?  Intensive washing is not an option.  The bouclé woolen fabrics, I mostly use, are very delicate.

Marga - Sewing Chanel-Style
"Never underestimate the power of a lady with a sewingmachine"

Iminei

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 06:30:56 AM »
I was given some old quilting fabric (by my (ex) mil) which had that old musty smell ...
I found that it simply being out in warm air got rid of it after a while ... Dont know if this will help you but ???
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again

snoozi soozi

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 08:03:58 AM »
Eeuww, stinky fabric. I would suggest a good airing in fresh air, or perhaps dry-cleaning? Surely even the most delicate of fabrics can be dry-cleaned.....
👓 changing the world, one stitch at a time

SewRuthieSews

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 08:13:59 AM »
I was going to suggest fresh air as well. Perhaps peg it to an airer and put that in the garden.
If you've got a way to protect it (car port, gazebo, sunshade) maybe leave it out for several days

I've heard that wrapping/stuffing with newspaper can help, as can drier sheets but they didn't make any difference to a leather handbag I had which smelled of cigarette smoke. I gave it away in the end as I couldn't bear the smell.

wrenkins

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 08:38:56 AM »
If you can obtain some activated charcoal which is often used as a food additive/food supplement it can be used to cleanse and de-smell anything! (It's also used for drug overdoses because it absorbs everything).
It can be expensive because it's trendy at the moment but if you can find a source to get it cheap it might be worth it. Ask your pharmacist if he/she could order you some low grade stuff.
Fashion fades, style is forever!

Greybird

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2019, 08:44:04 AM »
I've found that although fresh air helps, it doesn't get rid of deeply ingrained mustiness. Washing or dry cleaning is the only option. That said, if the smell is of mothballs, even dry cleaning doesn't work. I haven't found a way round that one yet. If the fabric is too fragile even for dry cleaning, it isn't going to be practical to use it.

Holly Berry

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2019, 13:32:01 PM »
My friend who used to make curtains professionally, says that curtains should never be washed, but instead hung out on a frosty day.

Perhaps try putting in a freezer for a while then hang out to try and replicate the frosty day. Worth a try.
Procrastination get behind me

Catllar

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2019, 23:23:45 PM »
I keep my fridge smelling nice with a small bowl of bicarb, so wondering if locking your fabric in a bag with a good sprinkle of bicarb  for a few days might help?
If life gives you lemons, add to gin and tonic !

Roger

Re: The smell of vintage fabric... tips please
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2019, 11:15:18 AM »
Dancers often spritz costumes with vodka to remove unpleasant smells form performing environments - smoke, sweat etc.
Envii Kit fresh - I was very surprised by this one - I used it on a jacket I like to run in but cant wash, and it slayed all the wiffs!

Good luck :)
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132