How To Care For Your Linen Dresses

lilac-5One of my favorite styles right now (as evidenced by Monday's post in this style too...) is Sondeflor's classic dress. It's a timeless linen shirt dress style with deep pockets and beautifully flared skirt, but this season they introduced the skirt in a shorter length and it's so fun and easy to wear. As a petite person I used to be intimidated by longer lengths, so I love Sondeflor's new shorter dresses because they are so effortless. You can also get Sondeflor's dresses made custom to your measurements for a small fee--so if you see a dress you love on their site that isn't in the shorter length, so don't be afraid to message them an ask for a customized dress. I really love linen for so many reasons, like the fact that linen is made from flax and is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics in the world and I just love the look and feel of it. Because linen is a natural fiber it's also lovely to wear in all seasons; it breathes on hot days keeping you cooler than modern fabric blends with polyester and it layers up so cozily in winter months too. Many people seem a bit afraid of linen however, worried about wrinkles and stains or perhaps how much work it is to care for, but let me assure you, it's a very easy fabric to wear and clean. I don't want invest in nice dresses that I can only wear on a special occasion maybe once or twice a year, but a nice linen dress that I can wear on a daily basis is something I want to spend my money on--and I couldn't wear it daily if I was constantly worried about stains! So here's a few tips to help you care for your linen and take a bit of the mystery about linen shopping. lilac-26 lilac-15
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You can machine wash most of your linen! So you should always check the label of your garment for specific advice from the brand, but you don't always need to hand wash linen, most linen can be machine washed on a short or delicate cycle with a gentle detergent. Also always wash in lukewarm--in fact most of your clothes will last longer if you wash them in cooler water and it's also better for the environment! Sondeflor specifically recommends washing your dresses inside out. You also don't need to wash your dresses after every wear--if your dress gets dirty then obviously wash it, but if it's still clean then it is better for the fabric to not wash it until it needs it. Which brings me to my next tip...
Wear a slip! I often wear full slips or petticoats underneath my dresses and it's a handy way to save your dresses from excessive washes and stains. Slips can absorb moisture from your body and be washed often, sparing your nice dresses from both pit stains and unnecessary washes that will wear down the fibers. This is a trick ladies of the past knew well, did you know historically women almost always wore a chemise (or slip-like garment) underneath their corsets? It might seem outdated to wear a slip but it can be really practical and protect your clothing. Honestly I don't know why so many of us gave up slips. With linen dresses I usually wear a Sondeflor cotton petticoat (which is really just a simple slip, it doesn't add volume to your skirts like a tulle petticoat would), they have sleeveless and long sleeve versions. Additionally it's a nice extra layer of warmth in colder months!
Only partially tumble dry your linen. Some brands will recommend not tumble drying linen at all, but I have had good results with partially tumble drying my linen dresses. I don't have a good space outside to hang my linen to dry and the inside of my house is damp/humid (we have to run a dehumidifier in most months) so clothes don't dry well inside either, at least not if they're taken straight out after a wash! So I will partially let my linen dry in my tumble dryer, then pull it out while it is still damp and hang on a padded hanger to finish drying. Hanging it to dry also means you can skip ironing--it will have less wrinkles and a really nice texture/feel when hung to dry.
Embrace the wrinkles. Part of loving linen does mean embracing a bit of wrinkle. I can usually avoid ironing my dresses by hanging them to dry, but still throughout the day wrinkles will develop on my garments with wear. Some styles are more prone to wrinkles than others, but it's just part of the look of linen. One thing you can do to prevent wrinkles while wearing is to use a spray starch, this will help keep wrinkles at bay. If your clothes do wrinkle while wearing but are still clean then you can gently mist them with a spray bottle and smooth the wrinkles away with your hands or lay flat to dry, or again dry them hanging on a padded hanger before your next wear.lilac-29 lilac-14-side
lilac-23I'm not a linen expert and I haven't yet had many major issues or stains to deal with on my linen dresses, but these are the steps I take and my top tips for maintaining some of my favorite dresses. You can always ask questions to your favorite linen shops about their specific care--every brand might have different suggestions based on their style of weaving or the types of dyes they use. Sondeflor has a really thorough guide on how they recommend taking care of their dresses on their site (you can read it here). I hope this post will make you feel more comfortable investing in linen. It honestly is so comfortable to wear, good for the environment, and not at all hard to care for! Linen dresses to me are effortless and comfortable, the epitome of clothes you don't need to stress over but can just throw on and go about your day.lilac-33 lilac-27


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