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Sep 23, 2011

How to Store a Strapless Dress, et al.


Friends, I have nothing but admiration for Joan Crawford as a movie star, but I couldn't resist this cheap shot.

As you know, the BurdaStyle dress is finished, and Leah will be taking it home with her next week.  Good thing she is, too, because with my recent obsession with The Daily Ditch, it might otherwise end up at my local Goodwill -- or worse.



Now, while not actually strapless -- it's a halter-top dress -- it does present some storage concerns.  Did I mention the straps are removable?



I can't just hang it from a hanger for two reasons.  For one thing, there's nothing to hang the dress from.  I can't just knot the halter and loop it around a hanger; it would slip right off and wouldn't hang right even if it didn't.

Some of you are probably thinking I should sew in hanging loops.  But the weight of the skirt would pull too heavily on the skirt and stretch the bodice out, I fear.

What I'm going to suggest to Leah -- unless somebody has a better solution -- is that she wrap the dress in tissue paper or a towel or sheet, and keep it folded in a box or drawer until she wants to wear it, and then steam or iron any creases out first.  The dress doesn't have to be starched flat, but it does crease pretty easily.  What do you think?

I'd been working on that dress for so long, I almost don't know what to do with myself now.  Of course, we have our boxers sew-along starting in October, but that's not for a while yet.  What's next for me -- or for any of us, really?

Moving right along...


Yesterday, I caught the Daphne Guinness fashion exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and while it's not really my kind of thing, it's a beautifully curated show.  It's bursting with Alexander McQueens in particular, including fantastic accessories, and despite having just opened, there was hardly anyone there.  I just love the FIT museum, and it's always free. 



Now on to today's Daily Ditch.

Remember how I've always said we don't own a TV?  Well, that's not entirely true.  We own two TV's -- cute little Sony portables from the Seventies -- but they've been sitting at the bottom of my bedroom closet for years collecting dust.  They work, but I don't think you can get reception on them anymore without some sort of converter, and how many door stops does one really need?  Reception or no, they get pitched today.  Pity.

I can actually see glimmers of the bottom of my bedroom closet again!





Friends, that's all for today.  If you have any insights in the best way to store a heavy cotton strapless dress, I'd appreciate it!

Happy Friday, everybody!

32 comments:

  1. I'd probably fold it longways and hang it like a pair of pants. Of course, your drawer idea is pretty good, too.

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  2. Now that could work. Thanks, Ginnie!

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  3. Once something is in a box, I rarely use it. Out of sight, out of mind. Thus, I would probably use an adjustable skirt hanger with a scrap of fleece protecting the fabric of the bodice. You could even use a second one for the back or the dress...perhaps rigged with a wire hanger loop to attach it to the first hanger. So you'd just hang it from the main hanger but the second hanger would hang lower and help distribute the weight. How do bridal shops hang up strapless wedding gowns??

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  4. Hi Peter
    I do the same as Ginnie with my dresses - it works quite well. You can fold it at the waist and either hang it over a hanger or use trouser hanger that has clips - just add some tissue paper between the dress and the clip to avoid dents. Although any which way you store it the skirt takes up a lot of room :) I'm starting to think I might need to invest in some of those bags you can suck the air out of to store my may crinolines - only so I can fit more vintage sewing projects into my closet of course.

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  5. I have a couple of dresses that I have put poppers/snaps on inside with the male halves sewn to a padded coat hanger. Depends how heavy it is I guess but might work

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  6. P.S. You are doing such a great job ditching stuff daily!!! When it's all over you'll wonder why you hung on to it all for so long. Hmmm, maybe I should have a bit of a cleaning blitz this weekend.

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  7. I hang my strapless full skirted dresses similarly to Ginnie: I place the bodice on one side of the hangar, with the bar running crosswise exactly at the waistline, and sort of fluff the skirt out on the other side. I put a clothespin at the center to keep it from slipping off. I rarely have to iron creases out at the next wear as all the pressure is at the waistline. Ironically, this works best with wire hangers. Don't tell Joan Crawford.

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  8. Just toss it on a random shelf in the closet. That's what I do.

    I am loving the Daily Ditch. It's very inspiring!

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  9. i store my halter dresses on those hangers that are made for strappy dresses (the ones with the cut-outs on the sides) - just loop the knotted halter around the hook, and then rest the straps in the cut-outs. is that good for the dress? who knows and who cares!

    can't help you with strapless dress hanging, as i don't wear strapless anything. i would assume that a weighty dress would hang best like a pair of pants, though.

    i am proud of you for your daily ditching, but ohhh those little tv's! i love retro electronics, especially tv's & computers & phones... if i were closer to you, i would be dumpster-diving my heart out right now.

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  10. I was going to make ginnie's suggestion!

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  11. I agree the FIT museum is terrific. The school has a *fantastic* bookstore too (across the street and down the block aways) It's probably the only one in NYC that sells shoulder pads and textbooks.

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  12. I'm with Betsy Jane who it actually sounds like is suggesting something different from Ginnie, in that folding at the waist would be folding width- and not lengthwise...using a skirt hanger does work great, because the only fold you're making is on a seam anyway.

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  13. You can also attach long hanger loops to the waistline of the dress, and make carriers (made with thread tacks) at the top of the dress. When you want to hang it, thread the hanger loops through the carriers and onto the hanger. It is not as complicated as it sounds. I have an RTW dress that has hanger loops like this.

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  14. Clothespin it to a hanger, at the top edge of the bodice. Or, use a trouser hanger. Better to hang than to fold, imo. Or, ooh ooh, get one of those faux-sueded hangers -- clothing does not slip on them (great feature when you go to hang up slippery garments, hell on earth to slip them onto the hanger in the first place.) ((I know this because my mother-in-law gave me eight dozen as a Christmas gift one year.))

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  15. I've been known to hang things upside down, so if the skirt is the heaviest part then I might fold the dress lengthwise and use pants clips at the bottom of the skirt. Then the bodice hangs down instead of the skirt. Does that make sense? I only have closet space, not drawer space, so I HAVE to hang stuff.

    You're inspiring me to do some ditching also....I have SO MUCH CRUD.

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  16. I only have one dress like this, thankfully, because it is very structured and takes up a lot of closet space. I actually have it on a double hanger for suits, where the skirt/pant hanger drops down 6 - 8 inches from the coat hanger. The clips on the pant hanger are attached to the back of the bodice, to avoid imprints on the cups. Then the removable strap is buttoned onto the dress and wrapped around the neck of the upper coat hanger.

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  17. Lots of great suggestions for hanging already (I was going to suggest the trouser hangers, clipping at the waist), but what I want to thank you for is your TV comment!

    I've lived a good portion of my life w/o a tv, but I HAVE had one for the past 15 years, and when I moved my Mother in we got cable with lots of channels. She isn't watching it much anymore, so I just downgraded to basic channel lineup, & I do wonder if I'll be willing & able to let it go completely when she's gone.

    I'll deal with it when the time comes, but I thank you for the inspiration! It's nice to no that there are people out there who live w/o the silly contraption :)

    Oh, & I have a few items listed on my local Freecycle - the Ditching has begun on this coast as well :)

    Up with Ditching! You are Inspirational!

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  18. I would also make hanger straps that come from the waist-line. And secondary hanger straps (that are not weight bearing) from the bodice top.

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  19. I would also suggest making hanger straps that attach to the waistline. i was just reading about that in claire schaeffer's couture sewing book!

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  20. Sallie, I was just considering purchasing that very book!

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  21. i use a clip-style hanger. (like this one here http://www.zoomoda.com/zoomoda/images/2009/jul09/hanger.jpg ) If you feel a dress is too heavy and might pull too much on just two clips (or dog-forbid, fall off!) there is usually enough space to add as many extra clothes pins as you need to distribute the weight.
    also, omg we had one of those tvs. lol

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  22. I wear long dresses so I fold them lengthwise and put them on a hanger like Ginnie said. I have been ditching right along with you. Now a couple of things on Craigslist.

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  23. put in hanging loops but attach them at the waist instead of at the underarms. Hang the dress inside out, with the bodice tucked inside. At least, I'm pretty sure that's how my Mum's (1957) wedding dress was stored!

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  24. There was an article by Susan Khalje about hanging a garment on the Threads wesbite a while ago. It included instructions for hanging loops at the waist that split the weight between four points rather than two. You do this by attaching one end of the loop to the front of the garment, the other to the back. It suggested 8" on-grain strips attached on top of the waist seam about 3" either side of the side seams. Hope this makes sense.

    PS Your decluttering is inspiring, and I am nearly ready to donate an embroidered pink silk chiffon shell and blouse that now strike me as frumpy, but that took about fifty hours to make some years ago. I am telling myself a) that if it doesn't make me happy any more, it may delight someone else and b) if Peter the great hunter-gatherer can ditch items,lesser hunters and gatherers should do likewise!

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  25. Sew the hanger loops to the waist seam. I just did this with a dress and it works great. Try it!

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  26. I'm not sure if this is necessarily the 'right' way of storing the dress, but for full skirted dresses (regardless of whether it's strapless or not) I fold the bodice inside the skirt & then hang the dress like a skirt from a skirt press. I never do this for a dress with a circle skirt though as the areas of the skirt cut on the bias will droop under the weight of the skirt & give you an uneven hemline.

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  27. Would love to see the Daphne Guinness exhibition- she is amazing.

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  28. On the strapless dress...I do sew in hanger loops...the are sewn in at the waist and again just below the underarm at the seam, so that they don't "fold" over or buckle or anything like that, but my dresses are for debs and brides so they have a lot of boning in them. I think on this soft delicate number, putting some tissue on top and using either a skirt or pants hanger would work with straps in the back that could loop around the arms of the hanger to hold up the back. I didn't think about it, but this is an excellent question. I'm kinda from the "fold it and put it drawer=out of site, out of mind" school on the folding method. Love your site - it's a blast!

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  29. I sometimes use a clip style hanger - the type you sometimes find with skirts and trousers. With some foam padding in the clips to avoid leaving marks on the dress.

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  30. Another vote for the hanging loops, attached at the waist. I find it very effective, and solves the problem of too much weight on the bodice

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  31. I store mine pants-style like those above. Fold over a trouser hanger.


    Your Daily Ditch got me started the other day... now I can actually walk in my walk-in spare bedroom closet and I have a box of things for Goodwill. :)

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