Fab’ Frames (& a holler for help)

Remember that glorious load of kimono remnants I snagged in exchange for a copy of my book-baby?

…here’s my latest kawaii creation:

two lovely frames worthy of displaying my refashioning heroines (Grandma & Tante Uschi)

Grab some scraps & make your own (& help me solve a vintage fabric dilemma)…

Simply decoupage some purty silk fabric scraps onto a couple of old photo frames…too easy! *to create the spirally flowers twist up some scrappy strips, bust out the hot glue gun & try not to burn the crap out of your fingers while sticking ’em onto the frame(s)…

See those bits of gorgeousness up there? A sliced length of what could only have been an obi belt & the sleeve of a toddler size kimono, both hand-painted silk. My idea was to combine these 2 lurvlies into a pretty little shoulder bag however, when I deconstructed the sleeve I discovered…

…a few fossilized friends embedded in the padded lining…ew…but unfortunately the understandable risk that comes along with vintage fabrics. I gloomily trashed the beautiful scrap & any other similar bits I found in the box…sigh…

Right…onto my holler for help:

Stunning as these bits of kimono are they all have that rather pungent musty-mildewy-moldy odor that accompanies vintage fabric. The few bits I’ve attempted to wash became house-fleeingly-foul as soon the water hit them…

I’ve tried white vinegar, baking soda, salt & heat all to no avail and am loath to use any sort of chemical detergents as the fabrics are all delicate hand-painted silks…any suggestions?

I’d love to be able to use these gorgeous bits for more than just ‘unwashable’ projects…

any ideas for other never-get-wet creations are more than welcome as well!


Success! I managed to remove the moldy mildew & freshen the fabric with this 4 step formula


8 thoughts on “Fab’ Frames (& a holler for help)

  1. I’m thinking book covers, fabric covered boxes, hair bows? Maybe you could just store them somewhere airtight with some cinnamon sticks and anise sachets inside (personal preferences).

  2. *Fossilized friends*?! Oh, no, I had no idea!! (I’m glad, now, that the rest of this fabric is stored in plastic bins, in the basement, AWAY from household linens!!! And that when the collection first came into my possession, I ran ALL OF IT through a hot dryer, since we were bringing it from a damp, coastal area to a high-desert climate- the musty scent was driving me crazy, too!) *Sigh* I’m sorry. I have yet to find a permanent solution to the scent, too, although a friend of mine suggested putting lavender dryer sheets, layered with the fabrics, in the bins. I haven’t tried it, due to the allergen factor, but she sells vintage fabrics for a living, and it seems to work for her.

    • No worries my lovely…I’m going to try soaking a small scrap in OxiClean with fingers crossed for a fresh(er) smelling result ;O)
      I’ll also be on lookout for some lavender sheets, or perhaps just make my own with some essential oil as it’s much easier to find in Berlin than scented dryer sheets…

      *The fabric looks pretty awesome as decorative artwork though don’tcha think?!

      • It does look amazing- I’d previously thought of simply framing some of the smallest scraps, but AS a frame, they’re stunning! My husband had a suggestion re: the musty smell…he said that used car dealerships, when faced with a used car that was previously owned by a heavy smoker, place a pan of ground coffee in the vehicle for a week or two! Apparently, the coffee ovewhelms the cigarette scent. Now, this is where it gets interesting- after that week is up, they toss the coffee, and replace it with a pan of citrus peels, and again leave it for a week or two! The citrus overwhelms the coffee, and leaves the car smelling fresh. It’s supposedly a permanent solution! He said that perhaps the effect can be replicated, using a large plastic storage bin, with plenty of space around the fabric? I’d never heard of this, but it’s a thought!

      • Framing the purty pieces is absolutely fabulous too (that was my first little kimono scrap project & it looks gorgeous…)

        My googling has unearthed the actual cause of the offending odor(s)…mold spores (just like in damp houses) & apparently the older they are the harder they cling to the fabric which means a chemical detergent is pretty much the only solution to kill ’em off (they must be eradicated completely or the smell will eventually return) – the coffee/citrus idea is a good one and should absolutely work to remove any remaining odor once the musty mold spores are destroyed.

        I’m on the hunt for a ‘gentle’ chemical detergent today and will keep you posted on my results =O)

  3. hmm… would it be possible to get the pieces dry cleaned? i might be wrong because i hardly ever dry clean things, but i believe there are more gentle cleaning methods some dry cleaners offer. the frames do look lovely, though!

    • I checked into dry cleaning but unfortunately it’s an insanely high-priced service here…the cheapest quote I received was for €10/piece & no guarantee that the smell would completely disappear or the delicate fabric would remain intact…definitely not an expensive risk I’m willing to take…sigh…

      All is not lost, the frames turned out great (the glue really masks the smell) so as long as I can continue to come up with non-washable-never-get-wet project ideas I should be able to use the beauteous bits…

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