Hand embroidery is a beautiful craft, intricately done over many hours and days. In a craft rich culture like India, these pieces become heirlooms passed down from one generation to another. So, how to care for the garments that we love wearing? Speaking with Shreya Mehra, founder Aab Label shares insights on washing tricks for luxury clothes:
Threads used for embroidery are often in contrast to the base fabric colour. Thus, it is a good idea to spot clean the stains using a damp muslin cloth or a mild fabric shampoo. This will prevent the thread colours from bleeding on the base fabric. This is a good way of caring for light coloured garments and those with multi-coloured hand-embroideries.
Avoid Regular Wash
To extend the life of a garment with delicate handwork, do not wash frequently. Especially those pieces which are worn in layers or are season-specific can usually be worn a few times before they need a wash.
After a few wears, wash the handcrafted garments at 20 degree Celsius or below with mild detergent. While a hand wash is suggested to maintain the delicacy and softness of the fabric, a delicate wash cycle on the machine can serve as a substitute. However, a hand wash ensures that bright colours don't bleed, and the garment doesn't fade.
If the stains are stubborn and don't go away with spot cleaning, dry clean is recommended. This will ensure that embroidery thread colours don't bleed and ruin the garment while the stain is also removed.
Alternatively, stubborn stains can be pre-treated with a stronger stain remover before the whole garment is washed in cold water. However, before experimenting with any kind of stain cleaners, it is suggested to try a small patch on the reverse side of the garment to ensure no damage.
Air the Garments
A good trick to maintain the freshness of garments even if worn in layers is to air them. Once you've worn a garment, try hanging it in the fresh air for 20-30 minutes before you store them in your wardrobe. This will prevent the moisture from being trapped in the weaves of the fabric which can cause odour. Storing a well-aired garment helps increase the life of our favourite pieces.