wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

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wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby TrickyGuns on Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:45 pm

Im thinking about dropping a pretty big sum of money on a vintage shirt however i'm not a big collector, i just really want to wear the shirt. I only have one experience buying a vintage shirt, it came in the mail in perfect condition but after 2 washes the screen printing chipped and cracked very fast and started the downward spiral. Im not sure if this is because it has been laying around for so long (shirt was made in 89) Or this was an isolated incident and was made poorly to begin with. Do you guys wear your vintage t's, or just display them? If wearing, do you have any tips to keep the shirt looking good?
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby CRAZYBUBBA on Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:15 am

I wear them. I think that clothing is meant to be worn.

Just handwash your shirts and you should be okay. I recently handwashed a stained 50s tee shirt and it held up well, it now looks like new :)
Have vintage Elvis tees? Let me know!
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby jimmyj on Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:16 pm

Handwash or gentle cycle in cold. But it's the dryer that does most of the damage....always hang dry it.

What brand is it?
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby Frank on Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:52 pm

The print probably cracked and peeled because it was stored for so long and dried out. I love when that happens, personally. I wear the hell out of my vintage shirts and just hand wash them if necessary. I agree- they are for wearing and showing off!
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby Johnny65 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:50 pm

Hey TrickyGuns, good question.

I wear any of the tees in my collection that will fit. And always hand wash with some warm water, a little Woolite and a bit of OxyClean. Then just lay flat to dry if it's 100% cotton to avoid any unwanted stretching. If it's a 50/50 cotton-polyester blend then a hangar will work fine for drying as the 50/50's will always dry to their original size, even if it looks like it's stretched when wet.

The thrashing of a washer and certainly the dryer heat as Jimmy mentioned will rapidly shorten the life of any 20+ year old tee.

Good luck!
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby hermosavtg on Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:40 pm

I found a t-shirt from the movie David Lynch movie Wild At Heart once. Dead stock but a bit soiled from storage. Washed it on regular cycle, when I pulled it out it was in tatters. From then on I'm extra careful! Be very careful especially when using Oxyclean, it can cause colors to bleed (i.e. old ringer tees) and can also cause cotton to degrade if used in too high concentrations (will cause burn out effect in spots on old 50-50 blends).
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby Johnny65 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:59 pm

Good point Hermosa. I neglected to mention the intricacies of using OxyClean. I've ruined a couple white tees not paying attention to what I was doing when using it. Specifically, not making sure it was dissolved completely during a hand wash and ending up with pink and blue spots on the tee from the little color flecks the Oxy manufacturer puts in it to make it look pretty. Could never get them out after that no matter how many times I tried. :lol:
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby jimmyj on Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:50 pm

Good points. Regarding OxyClean I did a little post on removing stains from t-shirts here:

http://www.defunkd.com/blog.vintageafic ... val-guide/

For colors it's not as safe as I once thought, but definitely whites no problems.

As for Hermosa's situation with that deadstock tee, I have had that happen to. In fact I currently have a box full of GNR deadstock t-shirts that you can actually tear like a piece of paper. It's sad.

I'm sure Johnny65 can tell us more but, after the ink is screened on the tees they are cured under heat and sometimes they are left too long. Then added years stored in a dry environment and they virtually disintegrate when tugged on.

Oh, luckily the GNR shirts are all the Coma print.
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby CRAZYBUBBA on Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:34 pm

jimmyj wrote:Oh, luckily the GNR shirts are all the Coma print.


:shock:
Have vintage Elvis tees? Let me know!
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Re: wearing vintage shirts- care suggestions?

Postby Johnny65 on Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:43 pm

I forgot about that awesome post you did on stain removal Jimmy.

On the printing process, you're right...there are so many factors involved. Quality of the garment, ink, printing and cure time all play a role in how the tee stands up over time. Preferably if done right, a good screen printed tee should last a very long time with a nice overall fade and patina after 20 to 30 years.(of course it also depends on how it was cared for by the original owner)

A favorite in my collection is a 1987 Iron Maiden - "Somewhere in Time Tour" tee on a Springford 50/50 that's like your box of GNR tees. I can barely wear it because it's about as fragile as a piece of paper from the 1800's. :lol:

BTW...really enjoying this forum.
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