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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Linen Fabric

Linen fabric is some of the oldest in the world with its history going back thousands of years.  It was so valuable that it was sometimes used as currency in ancient Egypt, and mummies were wrapped in it as a display of wealth.  Linen is made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of the stalks of the flax plant, so one could really consider it a vegetable.  Flax can grow in various climates, but it does best in cool, damp environments, so planting depends on where it is being grown.  Once it’s planted, it lives for one growing season and is ready to be harvested in approximately 100 days.  After the stalks are harvested, they are allowed to dry out in the open air for several weeks before they go through various processes before finally making it to weaving.

Linen is a terrific fabric to wear during warmer weather because its porous texture allows air to move through the fabric, helping you feel cooler.  It can also absorb up to 20% of its weight in moisture before feeling damp, unlike cotton that gets heavy from perspiration.  Finally, it keeps its shape much better than other fabrics.  On the down side, it wrinkles – badly.  With all these benefits and only one (but a big one) drawback, how can you incorporate linen into your wardrobe while still looking crisp and sharp?
  • Avoid folding linen garments and instead hang them.
  • Don’t jam linen garments into an overstuffed closet.  Instead hang them in a closet with plenty of room. 
  • Linen garments aren’t the best to pack for vacation, but if you are set on taking one we suggest folding it carefully, packing it last, pulling it out of your suitcase as soon as you arrive, and iron the garment using a buffer cloth to avoid shine either while damp or using plenty of heat and steam.
  • Try using a clothes steamer to relax deep wrinkles.
  • Either hand wash linen garments or use the gentle cycle on your washing machine.
  • Don’t dry linen garments in the dryer.  Instead, lay flat on a towel to dry and gently pull the seams to properly shape and smooth. 
  • Remember, the more linen is worn and washed, the softer and more flexible it will be. 
But of course, if all of this seems like too much, Shores will be happy to take care of your linen garments for you.  Simply drop by one of our three locations, and we’ll take it from there.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Wedding Gown Alterations

There is no such thing as the “perfect” wedding gown; that makes us sound like such pessimists, but the truth is that even the most beautiful of gowns needs a tuck here or a hem there.  So you have “the one”, and now what?  Here are a few tips to turn "the one" into "the perfect one":
  1. If you purchased your gown at a bridal salon, they will most likely provide alterations.  If that isn’t an option, be sure to do your due diligence and select a tailor or seamstress that specializes in bridal gowns. 
  2. Set up fittings with at least 2 and preferably 3 seamstresses before committing to one.  First, it will help you get a feel for pricing.  Second, you may connect better with one particular seamstress.  Third, you will learn something from each seamstress because they all view and tackle a gown differently.  Be sure to communicate your expectations clearly during your meetings.
  3. Wedding gown alterations should be finalized four weeks prior to your wedding date, so that means, given that most gowns require 2 – 4 fittings, you’ll need to begin moderate alterations roughly three months from your wedding date.  If your gown requires substantial alterations, then we recommend adding an additional month.
  4. Bring all undergarments, shoes, and accessories to every fitting.  This will ensure a proper fit and will also allow you to see your ensemble in its entirety. 
  5. Avoid bringing too many people to your fittings.  Obviously you’ll want to bring your mom, but it’s also a good idea to bring a trusted friend – one that will be honest but kind with their opinions.  Any more than that could create a chaotic atmosphere and lead to too many opinions. 
Of course, Shores offers wedding gown alterations, and we would be happy to assist you with your gown.  But whomever you choose, we want you to be happy with that selection, so if we can help by answering questions or offering advice, then please stop by one of our locations and talk to the manager.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Purse Restoration

I have friends that change purses for every occasion.  I think that’s simply too much work.  I don’t think of a purse as an accessory; to me, it’s more like a necessary tool.  It holds things that I need to function in everyday life – phone, keys, money, small notebooks (one for work and one for volunteer work), things Gray needs for school, Jolly Ranchers.  Basically my purse organizes my life.  So, I like to find an all-purpose, good-quality purse that I can use for pretty much any occasion, and when I find the right one, I hang onto it until it no longer conveys the nice, crisp, tidy image I’ve worked so hard to earn.

Recently, Brian sent me a text with some photos of a few purses he’d had restored.  My first question was, “When did you start doing that?”  In my head I was kicking myself for not asking him about the Michael Kors bag I recently donated because it was showing lots of wear.

Restoring leather and suede bags is not an easy process; it requires years of experience, the proper equipment, plenty of space, and sometimes many, many hours.  That’s where our friends at Arrow Fabricare Services based out of Kansas City, Missouri come in.  I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Susie, a third generation garment care expert.  Her family’s business has a fascinating story!  Her grandfather was an immigrant from Poland with expert tailoring skills, and he started the business in 1914.  When her dad came back from serving in the Air Force in 1945, he expanded the business into fine dry cleaning and leather cleaning.  In fact, her dad, at age 91, still comes into work every day.  Her brother now runs the business, and they started caring for handbags 10 years ago.  And just take a look at these results!



I asked how they performed such miracles, and of course, that’s a trade secret.  What she did tell me was that they have 5 different ways they clean leather, they use 3 different solutions, there’s a lot of hand cleaning and wet cleaning, most everything goes to a dye booth (that’s where the magic happens), there’s pressing involved, and their facility is 26,000 square feet.  I was curious as to whether there have been times when they couldn’t restore something.  “Oh sure,” she replied.  “There are times when things can be fixed, and there are other times when we can’t.”  She went on to tell me about a 1970’s leather bag with lacing they received.  The leather was as hard as a rock, and after evaluation they determined that it couldn’t be softened.  They told the customer there was nothing they could do.  “He said to throw it away,” Susie shared. “We will always give an honest answer.  If it’s not worth fixing, we’ll tell the customer.”  But then there was this $49,000 alligator bag that 3 people spent 10 hours on that came back looking brand new.

High-quality handbags are not meant to be carried one season and then replaced.  Your bag likely has unique features and characteristics that drew you to it, and to find something new that fits all your needs is difficult.  Why not let us take a look at your suede or leather purse, handbag, or briefcase to see if it can be revived so that it can continue to serve you faithfully?  Just drop by one of our three locations and let us take a look at it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Caring for Silk

According to Chinese legend, Empress Hsi Ling Shi, wife of Emperor Huang Ti, was the first person to accidentally discover silk for its ability to be woven as a fiber.  The story goes that one day, the empress was having tea under a mulberry tree, and a cocoon fell into her cup and began to unravel.  As she watched the threads, she discovered their source and then began cultivating silkworms and invented the reel and loom.

Today, silk is a soft, luxurious fabric that is versatile, practical, and durable.  Some benefits of silk garments include breathability, regulating body temperature, moisture wicking, doesn’t irritate your skin, no static cling, and can come in a variety of weights.  But with all its advantages, silk can sometimes be temperamental to care for.  Because of that, we’ve assembled a list of tips to help you keep your silk garments looking their best.
  • Always blot, never rub a spill – especially on silk.  Silk chafes easily.
  • Apply perfume, cologne, and hairspray before dressing to avoid color loss and staining. 
  • Make sure your deodorant is completely dry before putting on a silk garment.
  • Use great care when handling household cleaners (especially products containing bleach, alcohol, and chlorine) and products (like hand sanitizer, moisturizer, toothpaste, face cleansers, dish detergent) when wearing silk.  If left on silk untreated, it could lead to color loss or color distortion.
  • Never use bleach or products containing chlorine when cleaning silk.  They can permanently change the color.
  • Store silk garments in a dark area.  Prolonged exposure to sunlight or artificial light can cause the color to streak or fade.
  • Wash or clean all pieces of a matching ensemble at the same time so they continue to look uniform.
  • When it comes to cleaning silk garments, they respond well to dry cleaning.  Washing silk at home could cause shrinkage, chafing, and color loss.
  • But if you decide to care for your silk garments at home, we recommend that you follow the directions on the care label and check for colorfastness before cleaning.
If you are apprehensive about caring for your silk at home, our staff is trained to handle delicate garments, remove difficult stains, and solve problems.  Simply drop your silk garments off at any one of our three locations, and we’ll be happy to take care of it from there.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Caring for Sweaters

I’m always cold.  To combat that, I wear lots of layers, in both the winter and the summer, and those layers typically involve some sort of sweater.  Because my sweaters see lots of use, I make sure to give them the best care possible.

Here’s how I go about keeping my sweaters looking like new:
  • I care for a number of my sweaters at home, but if I ever have a doubt, I immediately discuss it with one of our store managers.  If you are unclear about how to properly care for a sweater, please call or stop by one of our locations.
  • Address stains immediately.  If you spill something, just blot it with a clean, white cloth and then leave it alone until you can get home and address it properly.  If you are dropping it off at one of our stores, point out the stain and let us know what it is.
  • Follow the care label to avoid shrinking or stretching.  Many sweaters are hand-wash only, which doesn’t mean wash in the washing machine on the hand-wash cycle.  Hand-wash means using a very small amount of a mild detergent, gently swirling the sweater around in water in a sink or basin, carefully rinsing, and gently squeezing out the water.
  • Avoid drying your sweaters in the dryer; instead lay sweaters flat to dry.
  • Never hang your sweaters on a hanger from the shoulders.  The weight of the sweater will cause it to stretch, leaving those golf ball dimples in the shoulders.  It is best to fold your sweaters and place them in a drawer.  If your drawer space is limited, then fold them over a strut hanger and hang in your closet.
  • Avoid washing wool sweaters in your home washing machine because wool is especially prone to shrinkage.  If you have a wool sweater that gets wet, let it dry at room temperature away from heat and then brush with the nap.
  • Make note of unraveling and fraying and be sure to secure any loose yarns to prevent further unraveling.
  • I have a couple sweaters that have decorative trims and embellishments, and I do not care for them at home.  Remember that delicate fabrics can stretch, shrink, and pull, while items with decorative trims require special attention.  In these cases, it might be better to trust those items to a professional.
Our managers at Shores are always available to answer any questions you might have, whether it’s related to sweater care or other garments.  Simply stop by or call one of our three locations, and we will make sure you are taken care of.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Real Bride Spotlight – Michelle Smith

Even though Nathan and Michelle attended, both majoring in Business Administration, and graduated from Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, the only interaction they had with each other while there was a few classes together.  It wasn’t until an Alumni Ski weekend at Beech Mountain in February of 2015 that the pair connected and started dating the following month even though Michelle lived in Winston-Salem, and Nathan lived in Crossnore.  However, it seems that fate was on their side because Nathan soon learned he was receiving a promotion and relocating to Clemmons.  But the best part of the story is the reaction from Michelle’s dad.  “I knew Nathan was the one from the moment we reconnected,” she shared.  “He is such a genuine man.  My father immediately knew he was the one, and when dad knows he’s a good one, you trust your heart and run with it!”

How did Nathan propose?

A few weeks prior to New Year’s Day, I heard that the thing to do to ring in the New Year was to go hiking.  New Year’s morning I woke up at 6:00, and we loaded up the car and headed out on an adventure.  But first we had to stop at my favorite breakfast spot – in fact the only place I will eat breakfast – Cracker Barrel.  After we enjoyed our breakfast, having the sweetest and most energetic waitress for it to be New Year’s Day, we headed toward Pilot Mountain.  During our hike, Nathan asked me to reach into his book bag to find his camera case, and the entire time I was looking, I was saying “I didn’t even know you had a camera.”  He told me to open the case and inside was a very fancy little burgundy box.  I started crying and immediately started saying “YES. YES. YES.”  After a hug, I realize he hadn’t actually even asked, so he got down on one knee and asked me properly.  Of course, I said yes. 

What was the date of your wedding?

October 22, 2016

Will you tell us a little bit about it?

We got married at the Overlook Barn on Beech Mountain, North Carolina. We chose this venue because we both have a dear love and connection for the mountains of North Carolina, and we chose fall because we both love that season.  Unfortunately, it ended up being 30 degrees with 40-50 mph wind gusts, so it felt more like the dead of winter without snow.  We planned on having an outside ceremony, but with the crazy weather, we moved it inside the barn that morning, which made everything a bit hectic but it turned out just beautiful and no one froze or blew away.
 
 
 

My bridesmaids wore plum dresses with nude shoes. The groom and groomsmen wore navy tuxes with a raspberry bow tie and brown wingtip shoes. I love deep, bold colors and wanted to blend, but stand out from the beautiful fall leaves.  Nathan's father sang and played guitar for our first dance. Our song is "Thinking Out Loud" by Ed Sherran. 

 

Will you tell us about your gown?

My gown came from Southern Bride in Yadkinville, North Carolina.  I purchased both of my prom dresses from Southern Bride, so I didn’t even think about going anywhere else.  The dress I chose is actually the very last of 4 dresses I tried on and not even one that I picked out myself.  Being a southern girl, I love lace so that is what I thought I wanted; however, the prom dress I wore my senior year of high school was just magical.  Anna, my consultant at Southern Bride, after showing her a picture of my dress went and picked out the dress that I purchased. It was an absolutely perfect mermaid style and as soon as it was all laced up, and I turned to look in the mirror with tears of joy in my eyes.  I knew it was the one for me!

Why did you choose Shores to clean and press your gown?

I met Brian at the Marry Me wedding show in Greensboro this past year. Being a first time bride I knew nothing about what to do with my dress after the wedding. Brian was so informative and easy going that I knew I was set on Shores based off their wonderful customer service, easy going employees, past customer reviews, ratings and accreditation within the wedding society.

Are you planning on cleaning and preserving your gown now that the wedding is over? Will you keep your gown or resell it?

Yes, I am having my dressed cleaned and preserved. I am planning to keep it.



Photography - Ben Hill Photography, Falls Church, Virginia
Cake - Hazel's Treats & Such, Clemmons, North Carolina
Wedding Dress - Southern Bride, Yadkinville, North Carolina
Bridesmaids Dresses - David's Bridal, Winston Salem, North Carolina
Flower Girl Dresses - Handmade by Michelle’s cousin Stephenie Thomas
Catering - Gadabouts Catering, Banner Elk, North Carolina
Flowers - Arrangements by Angela, Mocksville, North Carolina
Coordinators - Austin Wright & Cortney Morgan (friends)
Videography - Eyez N-The-Skyz, Newland, North Carolina
DJ - Carl Griewisch, Banner Elk, North Carolina


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Inspect Your Cleaned Wedding Gown

One week after Kayla got married, her mother-in-law kindly took her wedding gown to a local cleaner to have it cleaned, repaired, and preserved.  It was a big deal to her mother-in-law to have this done, and she took Kayla’s dress to the same cleaners she had used 30 years ago for her own wedding gown.

Kayla received word that her gown was ready, so she picked it up and took it home.  Because her gown needed a small repair, she decided to open the box to check out the work.  Thankfully she did because inside that box wasn’t a gown that was meticulously cleaned and preserved – no, while it was her gown, it was just as dirty as the day her mother-in-law had dropped it off.  She immediately took the gown back to the cleaners and asked that they refund her money.  The owner said it looked like it had been placed in the box completely untouched.  She said he apologized and offered to clean it, but she was too upset.  She took the dirty gown and started looking for another cleaners, but this time she ‘Googled’ ‘wedding gown cleaners’, and Shores popped up.  She immediately felt the difference when she walked through the doors of the Winston-Salem Shores location.




“I met with Brian, who explained the process Shores would use to clean the gown,” she shared.  “Then he suggested that I come back and look at the gown after it was cleaned but before it was preserved and boxed.”  “That’s something we offer all brides when they drop off their gown to be cleaned and preserved,” explained Brian Harrell, General Manager of Shores Cleaners.  “We want them to take a look at the gown to make sure they are happy with the results, and if they aren’t, we’ll address their concerns right then.”

Kayla shared her story with us because she doesn’t want other brides to go through what she went through.  Her parting words of advice are:
  1. Don’t just look at the cost involved in having your gown cleaned.  Spend the extra money and take it to someone that specializes in cleaning wedding gowns as opposed to any dry cleaner.
  2. Be sure to look in the box before they seal it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to take it back if you’re not happy with the results.