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Care and Feeding of my Doublet, Corset, etc.

Some Useful Tips on Caring for your Pendragon Costumes Leather Garment

Leather ages gracefully and can last a lifetime with proper care right from the start.

  • When wearing your garment, avoid use of perfumes, essential oils, lotions, hairsprays, etc.  Wearing an undergarment layer (shirt or chemise) will add years to the life of your garment.
  • If camping, or living a “rennie” lifestyle—we strongly recommend careful packing in Rubbermaid tubs for the traveling months!  This keeps your costuming safe from the elements and the critters we all live with on the road.  But, when in a stable living environment . . .
  • Whenever possible, hang leather garments on wide or padded hangers to maintain their shape. 
  • Remember leather has “memory.”  So, be sure the shoulders are hung square, and picadilles are arranged flat before allowing your garment to become squished into your closet (or Rubbermaid tub).
  • Never store leather goods in plastic or other non-breathable covers.  Instead, use a breathable garment bag, or an old shirt or robe to keep dust to a minimum.
  • Remove salt deposits from garments (and footwear) by sponging with clear water, then follow with the above treatment for wet or damp leather.
  • Smooth or top grain leather can be treated with a conditioner yearly to restore flexibility and proper moisture levels.
  • Suede (and nubuck) can be brushed with a suede brush or a terry cloth towel to restore the nap.  But never brush it while its wet.
  • Wrinkles should hang out while the garment is on a hanger.  If ironing is required, set iron on lowest setting, use a brown paper bag as a pressing cloth on right side of the garment and a quick hand to prevent overheating and shine.  Do not use steam!
  • To prevent mildew, protect leather from excessive humidity.  To avoid loss of natural oils, protect leather from excessive dryness.

  • Never use caustic household chemicals to clean leather.  One leather expert advises to never use any product on your leather you wouldn’t use on your own skin!

  • Avoid leather preparations that contain alcohol or petroleum distillates, such as turpentine and mineral spirits.

  • Use of Mink oil or other animal fats will darken leather.  Animal fat can turn rancid.

  • Use of Saddle Soap will strip the leather of the natural oils it needs to remain supple and fun to wear.  It’s for saddles!

  • The safest product to use, to clean your leather products of minor soiling, is a mild dish washing soap, with water, using a clean white cloth.

  • All products designed to be used at home should be tested on an inconspicuous part of the garment.

  • We always discourage dry cleaning of the leather:  we've seen too many come back different colours, or chemically weakened.

For Non Leather Items:

  • Shirts, skirts and pants: Cold water wash, gentle cycle, line dry if possible.  If not, tumbling dry won't hurt anything as long as you don't cook it.  The men's shirts will shrink a bit, no matter what, but the dryer, or hot water, or extreme agitation while washing will create more shrinkage.
  • Our standard brocade items (skirts and breeches) do just fine in a machine wash/dry world---in fact I prefer them after a washing, 'cause it makes the pattern in the brocade weave more three-dimensional.  But, dry-cleaning is okay on those, too.
  • And the all fabric doublets, Anne Boleyns, Desree dresses, etc. are okay to be dry-cleaned, although it's best to keep that to a minimum.  For most people, (especially ocassional patrons) barring awful icky weather, mud, etc., once a year is more than enough.  

For Leather, Leather and Fabric, and Fabric corsets (including Corseted items like the Corset Dress and Corset with Bustle):

  • Most of the notes about about caring for leather apply to the leather corsets.
  • For the interior, Febreeze can be used to remove any odor.
  • All of our corsets contain metal boning, so they cannot be machine washed. Touch up cleaning with a damp cloth is fine.
  • Make sure to hang your corset so air can circulate around it completely after you wear it. Don't put it away wet!
  • For the fabric sided corsets: the pattern printed on it is certified by the printing company to be set and should not fade or run.
  • Sweat stains may bleed through, if you wear your corset out in the heat or sweat profusely. You can wet the area and rub the fabric against itself until the stain is removed.
  • The all fabric items can be dry-cleaned, when necessary. Make sure the cleaner is aware that the boning is metal.