Luxury Lingerie Care
Above: Layneau Collection. Photo by MoscaStudio
Story and photos by Kaaren Bedi, founder/designer of Layneau.
In my mind’s eye, I see my great aunt gingerly unwrap each piece of her wedding trousseau and lay it in on the bed. Chemises, nightgowns, tap pants and a spectacular robe made from the finest silks with Chantilly lace.
They had been hand-made in France in 1932 and I marveled at the confections. They would be mine — but first I had to know how to care for them.
“When I hand wash my pieces I love using Eucalan — it is very mild and doesn’t require rinsing.” – Kaaren Bedi.
She gave very specific instructions: always fold them lightly, never crowd them in the drawers, use tissue to avoid wrinkles and always, always hand-wash them.
That was years ago and I still have those tender pieces. The silk is still as soft as cloud. Now that I am designing my own collection, Layneau, my customers and fans always want to know how best to care for fine lingerie.
Here are my rules for keeping heirloom lingerie for the next generation:
Fold Rather than Hang
Slips and chemises that you wear often can be hung but are best gently folded. They are best when not crowded or creased. Hanging them stretches out straps and can change the shape of the garment over time if it is bias cut. Hanging also makes it easier to snag delicate laces.
Dry-cleaning vs Hand Washing
Always test the color fastness by blotting on a discreet spot with a damp white tea towel. If the color transfers to the tea towel it is best to dry-clean the garment.
Silk charmeuse gets a soft glow as it is washed — it loses some of its gloss and becomes softer with each passing year.
Fine French laces are most often a blend of cotton, rayon and polyimide. They come from the factory starched. Washing them will change their texture, as it will the silk. Silks get softer and so will the lace.
What to Use
When I hand wash my pieces I love using Eucalan — it is very mild and doesn’t require rinsing. Following the directions I use warm water and just enough Eucalan in the basin. I let it soak for 10-15 minutes and gently press out excess water.
Depending on the piece, I will hang on a non-metal hanger or lay flat on a towel to dry. Never dry wet silk in direct sun light or over direct heat! It will face colors and cause spotting.
After the piece is dry I use steam to remove any wrinkles and freshen up the lace. If you are going to iron the garment always do it with a press cloth from the backside.
Make sure your iron isn’t too hot — too much heat can burn silk or cause color change. Don’t use the spray setting-water droplets will spot and cause ‘halos.’ And always, always use distilled water in your iron.
Luxury Lingerie Care Reminders
Hand wash in Eucalan.
Hang dry out of sun and away from direct heat.
Steam or Iron as needed when dry.
Use distilled water in your steamer/iron
Wring when wet.
Dry in sun or over heat
Spray with water
Iron directly on the silk