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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Caring for Your New Year’s Eve Dress

I look for any excuse to purchase a new dress, and a new dress for a New Year’s Eve party is an absolute must.  The things I love about New Year’s Eve dresses – specialty fabrics, sequins, embellishments -- are the things that make them so difficult to care for.  In thinking about where we will wear our party dresses – a crowded gathering that includes food, drinks, and dancing – it is likely that a spill will occur, and the last thing you want is for something like that to put a damper on your evening.  So Shores has put together a few tips to help little mishaps not turn into catastrophes. 

•    If you’ve not yet purchased your dress, consider purchasing one made of synthetic fibers (say polyester) instead of one made of natural fibers (say silk).  Water-based stains like beer and wine stand a better chance of coming out of synthetic fibers.

•    Make sure you know what fabric your dress is made of; this will tell you whether you can perform an emergency do-it-yourself treatment.  If your dress is silk, then leave the spill be.  Anything you try to use on silk to remove a stain will more than likely leave a ring.

•    No matter what, never rub a stain.  Instead, gently blot the area with a dry, clean white cloth or napkin.  Rubbing will cause the components to go deeper into the fabric’s fibers, will make the stain larger, and many times make it more difficult to remove.

•    For water-based stains from things like coffee and tea, simply blot the area with a clean, white cloth and let it dry.  It should come out when it is cleaned per the care label’s instructions.

•    Use water and club soda sparingly on spills, and never use either on oily spills from things like greasy foods, salad dressings, and makeup.  Water and club soda can cause stains to spread and dyes to sometimes bleed.  Simply blot the area and then let it be.  Oily stains are easily removed during the dry cleaning process. 

•    If you carry a stain remover pen in your purse, make sure you know what fabric your dress is made of before using it.  While these many times work safely on washable clothing, they should not be used on dry clean-only clothing or certain fabrics.

As with any garment, we recommend you deal with any stains and spills as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove.  If you are dropping the dress off at Shores, be sure to point out the stain and let us know what it is.  We’ve also mentioned many times about not putting garments away without first being cleaned.  This is especially true with a party dress.  Even if you didn’t notice, it is likely that something was dribbled or brushed on it somewhere, plus it probably has a bit of perspiration on it if you enjoyed a little dancing. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas Sweaters

Best I can tell, Christmas sweaters became popular in the 1980’s, but over the years they have continued to grow in popularity.  In fact, Amazon reported an increase in sales of 600% in 2011, and it seems that no one is immune to this trend.  In fact, celebrities have even been caught on camera wearing them.

These days Christmas sweaters come with all kinds of bells and whistles – literally.  Besides those with jingle bells, there are some where you can have your picture placed in a frame sewn on your sweater; with Christmas lights that actually light up; with ornate buttons; with pompoms, sequins, and ribbons; and even garland and tinsel.

We always advise that you never store a garment without cleaning it first.  Even if it looks clean, things like body oils, perspiration, and invisible stains are there and will attract moths and other insects.  That advice applies to Christmas sweaters too.  Just think about where you are wearing them – to parties where you can spill food or drink down the front, while cooking a holiday meal, or out shopping.  All these environments will provide an excellent meal for insects.  But perhaps because of all the embellishments on your sweater, you are hesitant to clean it on your own.

That’s where Shores comes in.  When you drop off your Christmas sweater, a qualified member of our staff will inspect it, looking for tears, broken buttons or embellishments, and stains.  They will also determine which method of cleaning will be best for your sweater.

Since it is the beginning of December, you’ve probably already pulled your Christmas sweater out so that you can get plenty of wear out of it this season.  But after Christmas, when you are ready to store it away, drop it off at one of our Shores locations so that we can give it a good cleaning.  That way, you’re sure to be able to enjoy it for years to come.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Fine Table Linens

I have two groups of table linens.  The first group I consider to be everyday linens – they are the ones I use when it is just a casual evening with close family or when friends with small children join us for dinner.  All of my everyday table linens are black, and that is on purpose.  My everyday dishes are square and white, so the contrast makes a nice looking table.  But those table linens are black also because they tend to not show imperfections.  Because they were relatively inexpensive, I typically care for them myself.  Besides, most five year olds don’t care if they are perfectly pressed.  If one of these items gets ruined – whether because I do something wrong caring for them or because I cannot remove a bad stain, I can easily replace them.

My second group of table linens, well, I consider them to be priceless, and they typically show up for special occasions and holidays only.  Many came from my grandmother, are quite old, are made of delicate fabric, and some are even hand embroidered.  If one of these were ruined, I would be devastated.  That’s why I would never attempt to care for them myself.

At Shores, we carefully inspect and pretreat by hand all fine table linens.  During inspection, we also determine which cleaning process, dry-cleaning or professional wet-cleaning, will safely clean and restore the fabrics to mint condition.  Once cleaned and professionally pressed (many of them by hand), we hang them with tissue in the folds to reduce creases, and if you prefer, we can also hand-roll your cloth.

The holiday season is quickly approaching.  Don’t wait until the day before Thanksgiving to pull your fine table linens out for use.  At least two weeks in advance, gather all the table linens you plan on using, and be sure to carefully examine them under good light.  Make certain there is nothing that needs to be addressed before your gathering – look for stains, frayed edges, and tears or holes.  Address any problems that you encounter.  But also, if they haven’t been used since last holiday season, you will need to have your linens dry cleaned and finished again.  You wouldn’t want your guests to wipe their mouths on a dusty cloth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Oriental Rug Care

A few weeks ago, we offered tips for caring for area rugs.  While an area rug is defined as a rug that covers only part of a floor in a room, not all area rugs are created the same.  Many times companies will label an area rug as an Oriental rug, but to be a true Oriental rug, it must be hand-knotted in Asia.  Likewise to be a true Persian rug, it has to be hand-knotted in Iran.  Hand-knotting is both a skilled and time consuming process where individual knots are hand-tied to create the pattern and pile of the rug.  True Oriental and Persian rugs are valuable because of both durability and artistic factors.  In fact, in June 2013 at Sotheby’s auction house in New York a 17th century Persian rug, known as the Clark Sickle-Leaf Carpet, sold for $33,765,000.

The everyday care for these two types of rugs is the same as for any other area rug – use a good rug pad, rotate it annually, vacuum it regularly, leave your shoes at the door, and have it professionally cleaned every 12-18 months.  But we would like to add two additional pieces of information to this care list.
  • While it is important to clean all spills quickly, it is also important to use caution when selecting the cleaning solution.  We recommend avoiding oxygenating carpet spotting products.  Many times these products contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide, so if the area isn’t rinsed thoroughly, the product will eventually pull the color from your rug.
  • Cleaning an Oriental rug can be challenging.  They are typically made of goat or camel hair, wool, or silk and are complexly knotted, so they require delicate care.  While we always suggest choosing a rug specialist that is IICRC certified, it is especially important here as well has having the proper training to provide the best care for your Oriental or Persian rug.

If your Oriental rug is in need of cleaning or if you have a question about Oriental rug care or rug cleaning in general, contact any one of our locations.  We are here to help.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Caring For Area Rugs

British actor, Martin Freeman once said: “I've never been to a festival. I'm a creature of habit, mashed-potato comfort, I like rugs…..”  I like rugs too – a beautiful rug on hardwood floors can be almost like a painting – and the centerpiece of a room.  A good quality rug is a substantial investment, so you want to be sure to keep it in prime condition, and vacuuming alone isn’t enough.

Here are things that you can do to keep your beautiful rug looking beautiful for a long time to come:
  • Every rug deserves a good quality rug pad.  Not only will it protect the floors underneath your rug, it will also prolong the life and beauty of your rug. 
  • Protect your rug from excessive wear, fading, and sun damage by both rotating it annually and by using window coverings to limit sun exposure.
  • Never place potted plants directly on your rug.
  • Vacuum your rug regularly to remove abrasive dirt, allergens, dust mites, and hair using a CRI-approved vacuum cleaner.  Use caution when caring for the fringe.  Be sure to lift the edges of the rug up to clean underneath the fringe, and never use an upright vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from the fringe.
  • Leave your shoes at the door.  This simply prevents dirt from getting any further than the front or back door.
  • Clean all spills quickly.  Begin by blotting the spill with a clean, white cloth to keep it from spreading.  Lift the rug up and again blot the area to keep it from seeping through to the backing.  Then call a professional rug cleaner to ensure there is no permanent damage.
  • Finally, have your rugs professional cleaned every 12-18 months and possibly more often if you have pets.
At Shores, we use an exclusive 6-step process when caring for home rugs.  If your area rug is in need of special attention, contact your nearest Shores location.  You can drop it off, or if it is more convenient, we’ll be glad to stop by and pick it up for you.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What to Wear to a Fall Wedding

I think dressing to attend a fall wedding is a difficult task.  The weather varies greatly depending on location, and here in the south, I’ve seen sunny and 80 in November.  Fall weddings are the ones where I really hope that the invitation spells it out for me; I closely examine that thing looking for words like ‘semi-formal’ or ‘black tie’.  If the invitation doesn’t plainly state the attire, then I look for the venue and the time of the event.  For instance, I’m going to wear something rather formal to a 6:00 p.m. wedding being held at The Crystal Ballroom and a simple, pretty dress to a church wedding being held at 2:00 p.m.  So here are a few tips to help if you receive a read-between-the-lines wedding invitation:
  • This is an obvious one but never wear white, cream, or ivory.
  • Try to find out what color the bridesmaids will be wearing so you can avoid that color as well.
  • When in doubt overdress; it is far better to be the one that is overdressed than the one that is underdressed.
  • Wear comfortable but cute shoes.  Clearly you don’t want to wear flip flops or casual shoes but make sure your shoes can withstand plenty of standing and dancing.  Uncomfortable feet can put a damper on a fun-filled evening.
  • Modesty is the best policy.  If your grandmother would cringe, then odds are that it’s not a good choice.
  • Take a wrap or shawl.  It might be warm when the event begins, but as the evening continues on it can get rather cool. 
As the year has moved along, we’ve also addressed What to Wear to a Winter, Spring, and Summer wedding.  If you are looking for additional help, please check out those blog posts.  Finally, when the big event is over, don’t forget to have your ensemble properly cleaned before putting it away.  Your dress may look clean, but some stains may not show themselves right away and will then darken with age.  Plus dirt and food are invitations to insects.   

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meet David King

In 1977, David King started his career in the dry cleaning industry thanks to a personal friend that took an interest in him.  Almost 40 years later, David still loves it as much as he did the day he started.  What keeps his interest?  “There is always something different and challenging that pops up every day,” said David.

A recent change and challenge came in October when Shores moved its in-house wedding gown cleaning operation to its High Point location.  “It’s been a great move,” said Brian Harrell, General Manager of Shores.  “David’s attention to detail on wedding gowns is astonishing.  He is able to remove spots and stains that I would have thought nearly impossible to remove.”  One recent gown had large black marks all the way up the side hem, mainly from floor dirt and grime though they also included alcoholic beverage and food stains.  A combination stain like that is difficult enough on an everyday garment, but it is especially difficult on a fragile, delicate, and special garment like a wedding gown.  “I cannot tell you the countless hours he spent on that dress,” said Brian.  “But now it’s spotless.”  That’s not an end to David’s talent.  He particularly loves working on old, vintage pieces.  One of his favorite memories is when he was able to restore an old, vintage wedding gown to the point that the customer didn’t believe it was the same dress they dropped off.

Of course, he’s seen his share of challenges too – like a sequin encrusted evening gown.  But even that’s no match for David.  Knowing that he can make a customer happy simply doing something that comes easily and naturally for him, like removing difficult stains on a special garment, is what pleases him the most.

“Dry cleaning has been my life” said David.  “I honestly can’t see doing anything else.” 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How To Not Over Pack

Back in November, we shared with you tips on how to pack a business suit to minimize the number of wrinkles it receives during travel.  One of the reasons for wrinkles, we mentioned, was over packing.  I always pack too much, and we have a trip coming up soon so these tips are just as much for me as they are for you.  Hopefully it will help us both pack only what we need, keeping our bag underweight and our clothes arriving in good shape.
  • Consider your destination.  A beach vacation requires different clothing than a trip to Alaska or a Mediterranean cruise.  Think about what you will be doing and the types of clothing you will need for those activities, especially if you are taking a cruise.  Many cruises have formal nights, and the number of nights typically depends on the length of the cruise.  The definition of formal also varies depending on what line you are cruising on.  Here’s a great article to help you decipher some of those codes and figure out the number of suits or dresses you might need.
  • Check the weather.  If the forecast shows a warming trend, you may be able to leave the heavier items at home.  But always pack a waterproof jacket; they can be rolled and will take up minimal space.
  • Mix and match.  This is especially true for longer trips.  Reusing pieces to make new outfits will give you a varied wardrobe while saving space.  Consider taking a lot of white, navy, black, and beige.  Try to also limit your shoes by choosing one or two neutral pair.
  • Roll your clothes.  This will both take up less space in your suitcase and reduce wrinkles.
  • Make the most of your space.  Tuck your toiletries, socks, and small items inside your shoes or in the corners of your suitcase.
  • Finally, wear your heaviest clothes and bulkiest shoes on the plane.  Then you don’t have to worry about finding space for them in your suitcase.
Enjoy your trip, and when you return home, Shores will be here to help you sort through all those dirty clothes.  Just drop off at any one of our locations, and our Certified Master Dry Cleaners will expertly clean and finish your garments and have them back to you when promised.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Real Hero’s Spotlight: Cleo Harold Rowley by Christen Fry

In 1944, three years after the United States joined the fight in WWII, Cleo Rowley was faced with the same circumstances that many other young men faced at the time.  After graduating from high school, he had wanted to become professionally involved with golf, but instead he bravely enlisted in the United States Air Force.

On May 5, 1944, Mr. Rowley arrived in England.  He had wanted to be a pilot, which was an extremely popular goal for many young men at the time, but instead he trained to be a tail gunner in the B-24 bomber.  Mr. Rowley was included in the airborne troops that were part of the invasion of Normandy, France, known as D-Day; however, as there were not enough planes to carry all of the available crews, Mr. Rowley was not able to fly a mission on D-Day.  His first combat mission was flown on June 20, 1944.

Mr. Rowley regularly wrote to his family and kept a journal of his experiences during the war.  Below are just a few entries we’d like to share with you:
  • In an entry from July 11, 1944, he writes, “Today is my twenty-first birthday.  But it is just another day to fly a combat mission.”  That day he flew his fourth combat mission – seven and a half hours long.  
  • In an entry related to his sixth mission, he wrote that they were bombarded with heavy anti-aircraft fire, known as flak, and the right tire was blown out of their plane.  Because of this, they were not allowed to land at their home base field, and instead they were redirected to a nearby field.  This was to keep the main landing strip clear of planes that could crash and clog the runway.  Luckily, the pilot made an excellent landing with little damage to the plane and no crewman injuries.  
  • On his eighth mission, July 24, 1944, there was heavy flak and ground field artillery, and their plane sustained multiple holes as a result.  While in the bomb bay, a plane in his group exploded after receiving a direct hit.  Mr. Rowley noted, “The plane that exploded was to the front and to the right of our plane.  The air was full of plane parts and I watched in horror as I saw it fall to earth.”  Only one crew member survived the explosion.
  • On November 21, 1944, Rowley flew his 27th mission.  There was heavy and severely accurate anti-aircraft fire, which resulted in losing three generators for three of the aircraft’s four engines, and the plane was forced to abort the mission.  Mr. Rowley’s crew made it back safely, while the alternate aircraft that took over their position in the formation was shot down while going over the target.
December 23, 1944, marked the date that Mr. Rowley and his crew completed their combat mission requirements.
Cleo Rowley was discharged from the United States Air Force in October 1945 at the rank of Staff Sergeant and returned to Michigan to be with his family.  He is remembered as a humble man and was very proud of his service in the Air Force, always carrying a copy of his discharge papers with him in his wallet.  After he passed in January 2015, Mr. Rowley’s daughter, Sarah Pennell, became interested in preserving the jacket and uniform in order to keep a bit of family history intact.  “Hopefully, generations from now, our family will be able to get a feel for what Dad did in the war.  We have been using Shores as our cleaners exclusively for years.  The wonderful, personal service is a big plus for us.  I wouldn't think of taking Dad's uniform and jacket anywhere else to be preserved. I know it is in good hands,” Mrs. Pennell stated.

Mr. Rowley’s WWII uniform and his journal of the events are some treasured artifacts that his family generously shared with us to help know him better.  We are grateful for the opportunity to pass along his legend of bravery and sacrifice for our country.  We are also thrilled that his family trusted Shores enough to allow us to help preserve these treasures.  We consider it an honor.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

I think dressing to attend a summer wedding is the easiest of all the seasons.  Even if no dress code is indicated on the invitation, you can take a look at the venue and the time of day and pretty well figure out which direction to go.  Most of the time, I am able to break it down into these two categories:

Before 4:00 p.m. – Go with a summer dress -- it can be fun, but not too revealing or too short.  Avoid wearing black or white, and instead choose summer colors.  If the event is indoor, wear a higher heel pump or sandal.  If the event is outdoor, choose a lower, wider heel sandal for comfort and to avoid having your heels sink in the grass.

After 4:00 p.m. – It can be a bit tricky here depending on the venue.  But an indoor evening summer wedding typically calls for a cocktail dress in a lighter-weight fabric.  You can wear black but avoid wearing a solid black dress without any additional color.  Again, avoid anything too short or too revealing.  If it is outdoor, an evening wedding still calls for dressier fare.  Consider taking a wrap or shawl in case it is windy and be mindful of your shoe choice given the terrain.

Of course, there are always exceptions.  That’s why it is important to know a little bit about the venue.  We recently attended a Saturday morning wedding that was held at a downtown museum.  When we left our house, I was a bit afraid that I was overdressed for the occasion.  Not at all – it was one of the most elegant weddings I’ve ever attended, and my blue-green chiffon crinkle cocktail dress was just the ticket. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Clothing Alterations

A few years ago, I had a bad alteration experience.  I’ll skip the details but will tell you that basically I went from pants that were a bit too big to pants that I could no longer wear because they were so poorly altered.  It was my own fault really; I failed to properly do my homework.

If you are in need of some clothing alterations and have no idea where to find a qualified seamstress, here are a few suggestions to help you.

• Check review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews for alteration specialists in your area. 
• Ask around.  Word of mouth is great advertising but a word of caution here -- don’t just take one person’s word.  Ask several folks, and once you decide on a seamstress, ask to see samples of their alterations.  Examine the quality of the work closely.
• Most high end clothing boutiques work with qualified seamstresses and tailors.  Find out where they send their clients for clothing alterations.

After you find your alterations specialist, test the waters.  Don’t take a prized garment first thing.  Instead, have them do something simple that you aren’t too attached to.  Check the quality of their work, and gauge your comfort level.  If you are pleased with the final results, then move forward.
When having clothing altered, keep these few basics in mind.

• Pant legs fall to the top of the shoe, but the fabric doesn’t touch the floor.
• Jacket sleeves fall to the bottom of the wrist bone on the thumb when arms are resting at the side.
• Gentlemen, shirt cuffs fall ¼ to ½ inch lower than the jacket sleeve.
• Always try on the garment with the shoes you plan to wear with it. 
• Finally, talk openly with your specialist.  Tell them what you don’t like about the item.  Give them an idea of what you are trying to achieve.  Most importantly, ask for their input. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tips for Selecting Quality Garments

Have you ever purchased a garment and have it look not so great after a few washings?  Did you think perhaps that you did something wrong?  Whenever I have a problem with a garment, the first thing I do is make sure I followed the care label.  Unfortunately, care labels aren’t always accurate, meaning that the label may not address different trims or color lines.  It is possible for a faulty care label to be placed on a garment.  If you have a special garment, you may want to consider entrusting it to a professional.

These days it’s so hard to know what to purchase and what to avoid, given all the fabric types and options out there.  But before you go shopping again, there are a few things you can keep in mind to ensure that you are getting what you are paying for.  Before heading to check out, ask yourself these questions about the item:
  • Does the garment have a FTC Care Label?  In 1972, the FTC launched the Care Label Rule, which requires manufacturers to label their clothing with instructions for at least one safe cleaning method.  All garments sold in the U. S. must have a care label, or it is considered unfair and deceptive.  Unfortunately a care label doesn’t automatically mean you won’t have any issues caring for the garment.  If ever in doubt, bring the item to one of our Shores locations, and we can answer any questions you might have. 
  • How well is the garment made?  Check the seams to make sure they are both properly sewn and secure.  Look for more fabric in the seams to allow for alterations.  Check the button holes to see if they are properly bound.    
  • Are all the buttons, hooks, and zippers sewn on or in securely without any loose threads?  Does the zipper go up and down freely?
  • How does it look on the hanger?  Does it drape the way it was intended?  Is everything even?
  • Is it lined?  If it is, the lining should not be sewn in too tightly but instead hang with a bit of give so it doesn’t rip or tear.  Make sure the lining does not hang below the hemline.
  • Finally, is there trim or beading?  If so, make sure it is sewn on securely.
If you are like me, then you get attached to your clothes.  There are a few things you can do to make sure your wardrobe lasts.  First, buy the best quality you can afford.  Good quality clothing typically lasts longer than cheaper garments.  Second, always properly care for your garments.  Sometimes it is easy to provide the proper care at home.  But other times, when the garment has special fabrics or embellishments, it is important to ask a professional, like Shores, to provide that proper care.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Caring for a Hero's Legacy: Military Uniform Preservation Tips

Connecting to your history is an experience worth preserving.  Many important events in our ancestors’ lives had outfits to match.  Here we’ll share some advice to help you keep them in shape.  Properly caring for and preserving your loved one’s military uniform, whether they served on the Western front in WWI or more current conflicts in the Middle East, will honor their legacy of heroism for generations to come.

When dealing with fragile fabrics, it is important to remember you should not do anything you can’t undo.  You should wear white gloves when handling these articles, because even the oils from your fingers can cause deterioration of the fibers.  Remember that fabric is sensitive to light and humidity.  While it is important for uniforms to be stored as clean as possible, attempting to clean them is only something a certified preservationist should take on.

“Working to restore vintage military uniforms and other family heirlooms has been one of the greatest honors I have had as a professional preservationist over my 40 year career,” says David King, Garment Preservationist for Shores Fine Dry Cleaning in High Point, NC.  When it comes to meaningful and rare items, such as military uniforms or flags, you can trust that Shores Fine Dry Cleaning can safely clean and preserve them for a lifetime.  You will be glad to know that we rely on our extensive knowledge of antique garment and vintage fabric restoration, and apply the same techniques and preservation materials recommended by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., to extend the life of these special pieces of history.  As with any of our preservations, you always have the opportunity to view your treasured piece before it is boxed, ensuring your happiness with the result of our actions taken towards its restoration.

Restoration and preservation of military uniforms can range in price from $150-$250.  When you are researching companies to handle your heirloom, beware of those that require you to sign a release or disclaimer.  Also, it should be a red flag if they are not familiar with fabric restoration processes, or if they don’t allow you access to inspect your pieces after the restoration, prior to boxing.  If you are unable to have your uniform professionally preserved by a restoration specialist now, there are ways to prolong its life until you are able to have it professionally restored.  “I would first recommend removing the uniform from its hanger, and wrapping it in pre-washed, unbleached muslin cloth, or in a 100% cotton sheet—no tissue, no boxes.  The uniform should be placed out of the light in a climate-controlled environment, such as a bedroom closet,” says Brian Harrell, Garment Restoration Specialist for Shores Fine Dry Cleaning in Winston-Salem, NC.  He adds, “It also isn’t a bad idea to keep this and other important heirlooms near each other in order to quickly remove them in the case of an emergency, like a fire.”

In the coming months, we will feature some of the uniforms that we have had the opportunity to restore and preserve, and the men that wore them, in a series titled Real Hero’s Spotlight.  Stay tuned for some grand adventures.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wedding Dress Care and Preservation

You invested a lot of time looking for and a lot of money in that perfect wedding dress.  Now that it is in your care, there are a few things you need to know.

Before the big day:
  • Hang your wedding dress by the loops inside the gown, which are connected to sturdy side seams.  Never hang it by the fragile shoulder seams, which could stretch or sag.
  • Order Shores Perfect Day Emergency Care Kit, which includes pins, needles and thread, solvent, scissors, buttons, and blotting towel.
  • Make sure there is a care label in your wedding gown.
  • Know your gown’s fabric in case of a spill.  A spill on an artificial fiber is much easier to remove than a spill on a natural fiber such as silk.

During the big day:
  • Keep safety pens on hand so that you are prepared for a broken bustle loop, torn strap, or broken zipper.  Full-service bridal salons often put several safety pins into the underside of your gown for just such incidents.
  • In case of a spill, Shores recommends that unless it is large and noticeable, that you leave it alone.  If you must try and remove a spill, here are some tips.  On a synthetic gown, if the stain is water soluble (such as coffee, mud, blood, tea), dab the spot gently with cool water and let air dry.  Do not rub it.  Rubbing hard will damage the finish of your gown.  Silk and rayon gowns are water-sensitive and you could leave permanent water spots.  We suggest you camouflage spots with something white and harmless such as baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder.  If the stain is oil based (such as grease, lipstick, makeup), then we recommend leaving these alone until you can get professional help.

After the big day:
  • Do have your wedding dress cleaned and preserved as soon as possible after the ceremony.
  • Never store your wedding dress in plastic bags or vacuum-sealed, plastic wrapped containers.  Plastic emits fumes that can yellow your gown, and it can trap moisture that leads to mildew.
  • Choose a wedding gown specialist that will guarantee and personally process your gown.  Never entrust your gown to someone that sends it away to be cleaned.
  • Ask the specialist what precautions they take to protect delicate trims and decorations on your gown and how the cleaner guards against latent stains.
  • Inspect your gown personally before it is put into the preservation container.  The container should be a completely acid-free, museum-quality, archival wedding chest lined with fabric or acid-free tissue paper.
  • Don’t store your gown in an attic or basement where there are extreme changes in temperature and humidity.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What to Wear to a Spring Wedding

Spring seems to be wedding season, with the two most popular months in which to wed – June followed by May.  In January, we posted a blog entitled “What to wear to a winter wedding”.  In it we outlined how you might decipher a wedding invitation if a dress code isn’t specified.  Since we are quickly approaching the spring wedding season, we thought it might be appropriate to visit this topic again for warmer weather suggestions.

If the invitation suggests casual dress, we don’t recommend shorts and flip flops.  A fun sundress or slacks and a top will do nicely.

Semi-formal weddings call for a cocktail dress for evening weddings and a nice dress or suit for daytime weddings.

A black-tie-optional spring wedding would call for a dress a bit more than a cocktail dress but not to the point of an evening gown.  If you choose a short dress, you could go for a more elaborate style.  If you go floor length, keep it simple.

Black tie weddings mean long dresses, typically in darker colors.  Here’s a good guide -- your spouse or date will be in a tuxedo, so choose something that will flatter it.

If the invitation doesn’t include a dress code, you can do what we recommended in our last post – investigate the venue, check for a theme, and take a look at the time of day.  But if you still can’t figure it out then your best bet with a spring wedding is to go with a simple cocktail dress for evening weddings and a nice dress or suit for a daytime wedding.  That’s taking the middle of the road, and sometimes that is your safest bet.  Oh, if you need any clothing or gown alterations for the wedding, swing by one of our Shores Cleaners locations.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Board Member

Brian Harrell, General Manager of Shores, had the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for a conference with the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists (AWGS).  What is AWGS, you may be thinking.  It’s a non-profit trade association, tested and endorsed by the Association of Bridal Consultants, Green Bride Guide, and The Wedding Planning Institute, of specialty cleaners.

Members of AWGS must be certified to ensure that wedding gowns and heirloom textiles are cleaned according to established museum standards and preserved in archival-quality materials.  More importantly, each member of AWGS is required to honor the written international guarantee of every Certified Wedding Gown Specialist.  If you return your wedding gown preservation to any one of the members, including Shores, your gown will be inspected and pressed at no charge.

During the week-long conference, members met with wedding industry experts, toured local cleaners, presented a long-time member with an annual award, and elected officers.  One of the incoming members of the Board of Directors is none other than our own Brian Harrell.  “This is a great opportunity to network with some of the best preservationists around the world,” said Brian.  “The knowledge shared in this setting is unmatched in quality and quantity, as it pertains to restoring and preserving wedding gowns and other vintage items.  I am honored to have been selected to represent Shores Fine Dry Cleaning and look forward to serving on the AWGS board for the next 3 years.”

We too feel honored that Brian has been selected for this important role, though we are not surprised.  Brian has spent the last 18 years representing Shores quite well – working hard, leading by example, staying up on the latest technology, and making our customers happy.  We can confidently say that both Shores and the AWGS will greatly benefit from this new relationship.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Professional Wet Cleaning

Before I started working for a dry cleaning company, I had no idea how they cleaned my clothes.  All I knew was that I dropped them off dirty and wrinkled, and when I picked them up they were clean and crisp.  And while I am no cleaning expert (that’s what Brian, Mike, and David are for), I’ve learned a few things over the years.

For instance, did you know that not everything we clean is dry cleaned? We also offer professional wet cleaning services.  What is professional wet cleaning, you ask.  It is the practice of cleaning dry clean only goods in water.  I need to insert a caveat here – professional wet cleaning is not like doing laundry.  We don’t throw it into a washing machine with a little bit of detergent and then tumble it in the dryer.  It is a specialized process that requires precise training, the proper equipment, and specific supplies.  There are about 10 steps involved in professionally wet cleaning an item from classifying the garment to picking the right cycle with the appropriate amount of detergent and conditioner to finishing it with the correct amount of tension.

So why might one choose to wet clean something instead of dry cleaning it?  Actually, there are several reasons:

• Some garments simply cannot be dry cleaned due to things like decorative embellishments and fabric composition
• Water soluble stains are easier to remove in the wet cleaning process
• Some garments, like knit shirts and khakis, respond better to professional wet cleaning
• White garments appear whiter and brighter

Our Winston-Salem location reports that they professionally wet clean approximately 20% of their garments.  I asked Brian if he likes this new technology.  “I do,” he said. “There are benefits to professional wet cleaning like it doesn’t produce any hazardous waste, it is great at stain removal which translates to fewer sorry tags, and it gets whites more white.  These days it is becoming more and more popular, and you can now be a Certified Professional Wetcleaner.”
What does all of this mean for you?  As a Shores customer, you can take pleasure in knowing that we are constantly evolving, we are doing our part to be more environmentally friendly, and we have the means to address any garment-related problem you might have. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How to Properly Make a Bed

For years, my mom ironed their sheets.  She’s long since stopped that practice but I believe if she had the time, she’d probably continue.  And while she no longer irons her sheets, she’s still incredibly particular about having a properly made bed.  Here’s how she taught me to make a tidy bed:

• She recommends using fitted sheets on the mattress.  She believes when properly done, they can look just as nice as a flat sheet without the chance of coming undone.  The corners must match perfectly, and there should be no wrinkles.
• The flat sheet is next.  Be sure the finished side is facedown so that the bed looks nice when you pull the sheets back.  Line the top of the sheet up with the top of the mattress and the middle fold with the center of the bed.  Then make it smooth all the way to the bottom, tucking the end between the mattress and box springs.  Be sure there is no bunching.  The sheet should lay flat between the mattress and box springs.
• Tuck the corners.  Go to one side of the end of the bed.  Take the sheet draping from the side about a foot from the end of the bed.  Lift it up almost creating a V and tuck the lower drape under the mattress.  Repeat on the other side.
• Do the blankets in the same manner as the flat sheet.
• The comforter or duvet varies according to the type of bed and cover.  Just make sure it is centered and looks smooth and nice. 
• Sleeping pillows are put in the pillow cases and are aligned properly so that the corners match and there is no bunching.  Always place the hem side of the pillow case facing out.  Top with any decorative pillows.

If you like an incredibly tidy bed, one way (besides following my mom’s method) is to have your sheets professionally laundered and finished by Shores.  Shores Cleaner's basic bed linen cleaning includes washing flat and fitted sheets in quality detergents and hot water to remove most soils, perspiration, and impurities. Sheets are then pressed on a roller press. Your bed linens are washed, pressed, and returned in 3 days ready for your incredibly tidy bed.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What to Wear to a Winter Wedding

A number of wedding advisory web sites say that if you want your wedding guests to dress a certain way, indicate the dress code on your wedding invitation.  If you don’t specify the dress code, then be sure the design and tone of your invitation indicates the level of formality you are shooting for.  That can be hard to decipher.  I always appreciate it when a couple includes a suggested dress code on their wedding invitation.  Words like “Black Tie”, “Semi-Formal”, or “Cocktail” are very helpful to guests.  But what if there’s no suggested dress code on the invitation?  Here are some suggestions to help you figure out what to wear to a winter wedding:

Investigate the venue – Where will the wedding ceremony and reception be held?  If everything is indoors, then you won’t have to worry about getting cold.  Just consider covering up with a classic overcoat or pretty shawl for arrival and departure.  If the location is at a historical site or museum, the dress would be more formal than if the reception is being held in the church’s fellowship hall.  If any portion of the event is being held outdoors or in a heated tent, consider a warmer cover and ditch the strappy sandals.

Time of day – Evening weddings tend to be more formal than those set earlier in the day.  If the invitation says ‘black-tie’ for an evening wedding, then it is customary to wear a floor-length gown.

Is there a theme – If the invitation doesn’t include a dress code or indicate a theme, then the design of the invitation can say a lot about a wedding.  Embossing and calligraphy tend to signify a more formal wedding while digital printing and a more relaxed font can indicate a more informal wedding. 

It is also acceptable to wear a cocktail dress to a black-tie affair, but keep the color dark.  For afternoon weddings, a simple cocktail dress, a nice dress, or a skirt and sweater are perfectly acceptable options.  If the invitation says ‘semi-formal’ for an afternoon wedding, you can still wear a cocktail dress but choose lighter colors.  There are day time weddings in the winter, but they are much more common in the summer.  If you receive an invitation for a day time winter wedding, a simple dress will work nicely.

Whenever I am in doubt for a winter wedding, I always go with an old standby -- a simple black dress with a pearl necklace and strappy sandals.  And I always take comfort in knowing that folks will be focused on the bride and not remember what I am wearing.