beads

How to look after fabrics adorned with beads and sequins

How you care for adorned fabrics depends on what type of fabric is used and the number/type of sequins/beads attached.

Some adorned fabrics are washable, but others are dry clean only. If adornments are attached with glue, this can melt in dry cleaning solutions. Therefore, always check the garment label to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Avoid cleaning the whole garment where possible

Every time a garment is cleaned, loose fibres and embellishments are rinsed away. Washing and drying can also cause fabrics to shrink. Therefore it is best to minimise the amount that adorned fabrics are cleaned and to try to prevent dirt/stains accumulating in the first place.
 
Freshening
Air the garment for a few days.
Use a fabric freshener spray on the inside of the garment (do a patch test in an inconspicuous area first). The adorned areas should not be sprayed as the adornments could go dull).
For garments that can tolerate water, areas that are not adorned can be cleaned with a lint free cloth dampened with a water and mild detergent solution. Finish by wiping with a clean lint free cloth dipped in water. Air dry.
 
Spot cleaning
This method is only suitable for fabrics that can tolerate water. Carefully remove any solid residues with the edge of a dull knife or a spoon. Use a cotton wool bud dipped in a mixture of mild stain removal product and water to remove the stain. Then rinse this with another cotton bud dipped in water. Blot with a clean lint free towel then air dry.
 
If you spill water on to a non-washable garment:
Limit the damage by drying the garment as quickly as possible. Gently blot excess water with towels or kitchen paper, repeating the process until all the moisture has been removed. To dry - circulate a gentle flow of cool air around the garment with a hairdryer set to a cool setting – do not point it directly onto the garment.

 

If you have to clean the garment

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Check the care label advice and then follow the appropriate guide below.
 
Dry cleaning
Adorned garments often need to be cleaned at a specialist dry cleaner, which is expensive.
Use a reputable dry cleaner that specialises in caring for evening gowns and wedding dresses.
If possible, provide the dry cleaner with off-cuts of the adorned fabric to test before cleaning the garment.
Make sure the dry cleaner uses the ‘F’ (hydrocarbon solvent) cleaning method or Green Earth dry cleaning method.
If the garment has metal decorations, you can ask the dry cleaner to ‘foil’ the decorations so they won't crack or tarnish during cleaning or ask for the garment to be hand-cleaned. Some cleaners will remove the decorations before cleaning a garment and then reattach them.
 
Hand washing
If the garment can be hand washed:
Do up all zips, buttons etc and turn it inside out.
Fill a clean bowl/sink with hand-warm (maximum of 30°C) water and put in the correct amount of washing detergent. Ensure you use a gentle detergent that is designed for delicate fabrics.
Place the garment into the water and wash using a gentle plunging/swishing action. Avoid rubbing the garment as too much agitation can bend or break the beads/sequins.
Rinse the garment in several rinses of cool water – until the rinsing water is clear.
Gently squeeze the water out (do not wring).
 
Machine washing beaded/sequined garments
If the garment can be machine washed:
Do up all zips, buttons etc and turn the garment inside out.
Put the garment in a mesh laundry bag or pillow case before putting it in the machine.
Wash the garment on its own (in case the dye runs) on a very gentle wash cycle at a maximum of 30°C using a detergent that is suitable for washing delicate fabrics.
Set the spin cycle on the lowest speed to prevent damage.
Check for embellishments that may have fallen off during washing.
 
Drying
Lay the inside out garment onto a clean, dry and lint free towel, then roll it up and gently squeeze to remove excess water. Repeat this using another dry towel if necessary.
Gently turn the garment right side out and air dry it on a flat surface.
Never put beaded/sequined garments in a tumble dryer as the sequins could melt and the action of the drum can cause damage.
 
Removing creases
Garments that are decorated with beads and sequins should not be ironed. To remove creases, either:
Turn the garment inside out and use a clothes steamer (only for fabrics that can be washed). Keep the steam wand 30cm away from the fabric; or
Hang the garment in a steamy bathroom.
Always allow the garment to dry completely before wearing to avoid creating more creases.
 

Repair

If you see a loose bead/sequin or thread, do a few securing stitches to hold the beads/sequins in place as soon as you can. If a lot of beads or sequins have come off, it is best to have the garment repaired by a specialist.

 

Storage

Make sure the garment is clean and aired before you put it away.
Hang embellished garments on strong padded non-slip hangers, ensuring that you use the garment hanging loops to help support the weight. Ensure the garments are not crushed in the wardrobe and use a garment cover to help keep the garment clean.
Alternatively, if the garment is very heavy, wrap the garment in acid free tissue paper, carefully fold and store flat.