Help for old quilts, getting the wrinkle out of that dress

  • A dressy dress without frills

    A dressy dress without frills

Published2/21/2009 12:01 AM

Q. I have inherited some precious quilts and need advice on how to keep them. One has some stains and other problems. Can I bleach old fabrics? What is the best way to store the quilts, or can I just put them on the beds? - Suzie B.

A. What a great question. I have a dear friend who is a nationally recognized expert in appraising and repairing old quilts. Her name is Hallye Bone. She travels the country lecturing and teaching and has written a number of books on quilting, and one that is just right for you: "Caring for Your Quilts." This little book will tell you exactly how to launder and repair and then conserve your quilts. Hallye is certified by the American Quilters Society, and so I trust she will be able to save your quilts. If you have trouble finding her book, write to me and enclose $10.95, and I can send this marvelous little book to you.


A. I am very much in need of information about a dress. It's a linen-look, but rayon material. The label says 55 percent linen and 45 percent rayon. But after laundering it, I cannot wear the dress. I can't iron out the wrinkles and don't feel comfortable wearing a garment that looks like I slept in it. I cannot afford to send it to the dry cleaners, and I really like this dress! Please HELP! I shall keep looking for your help. - Southern Lady

A. The linen-rayon blend fabric that your dress is made of was designed to make it possible to have garments that look like linen but don't wrinkle. You should be able to save your dress in this way: Launder it again, but don't let it go through a washing machine. Just swish it out in the kitchen sink and don't twist it. Wrap it in a towel and gently squeeze out the water. Now you can dry it at a medium temperature and remove immediately! This is because the heat sets the wrinkles.

Q. Please recommend a pattern for me. I want to make a first communion dress for my daughter. The trouble is that she doesn't want a lacy or fancy dress, and I am at a loss to find a design that looks special but not frilly. - Lynn A.

A. Children's Corner is a pattern company devoted to classic children's clothing. I found Grace No. 92, view D, which has knife pleats in front and back to give it a lovely detail but no frills. You may find this pattern where you live, or contact Children's Corner at (800) 543-6915.

Tip of the week: Eileen H., of Kirkwood, Mo., writes: "My grandmother taught me how to remove blood stains when I prick my finger: Put a short piece of white thread in your mouth and moisten it with saliva. Now put the thread on the blood stain, and it will dissolve. This only works with your own blood."

• Send questions and tips to Eunice Farmer, 10206 Watson Road, St. Louis, Mo. 63127, or e-mail her at

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