Packing goods well is very important. When the
buyer opens an item they do not expect to get a garment so creased that
they are instantly disappointed. However there will be some
wrinkles, especially along the fold lines, for after all it is a vintage
item and creasing is time dependant. An item that has been packed
up for 3 days in transit in the post will likely take as long for any
creases to drop out.
Do give the garment a chance to drop out as most
creases are time dependant damage due to the cross links bending within
fibres and forming new positions. If there is still a lot of creasing place
the item in a steamy shower or
bathroom or use a steamer or kettle minus the lid in the same room.
The fibre cross links are weakened by the steam and reform in new
positions, hopefully their original flat position.
I'll assume your item is clean and in good condition
before you even think about packing it.
Cleaning was discussed on the
previous page, but
one thing that won't hurt it would be to check it for dust, fluff and
lint bits, especially if you have cleaned it, but left it hanging for a
while. With wool or velvet garments in particular you can
gently and lightly vacuum the item with the special upholstery brush
provided with your cleaner. You can also cover the nozzle end with some
pantyhose leg and use that if you have no special attachments.
Finally either use a special lint remover or wrap scotch or sellotape
around your hand generously and carefully run the tape down the garment
to drag off stubborn fluff. If you use the hand method be generous
with the tape and throw away and renew it to get efficiency and a clean
lint free surface.
Do not make the mistake of ironing any item just
before packing. Press the item the night before or about 8 hours
before packing it.
The chances are if you press just before packing you
will add an element of moisture when you do the pressing, particularly
to thicker fabrics that wick moisture. This moisture combined with residual warmth in the garment will actually cause
some wrinkles, if you immediately fold the item up into a small space.
that point the creases become heat set as the cross links in the fibres
bend and reform into new, but now crooked positions. Leave the item to air thoroughly from all angles by
hanging it up from a door frame with air surrounding it.
Velvet likes a steamy atmosphere best of all and
should never be pressed unless you have a purpose designed velvet needle
board or a piece of plush velvet kept solely for the purpose of pressing
other velvets. A needle board prevents the pile of velvet or
velveteen from being crushed. They can be bought from good
haberdashers and usually cost at least £25. I've always preferred
those on a soft back that can also be rolled up and used in awkward
parts of the garment.
The cheaper alternative is to keep a piece of velvet
fabric, place it on your ironing board and press the garment pile
into the velvet so that the two layers press pile into pile. A
jacket will be much harder to press this way than a dress with a loose
lining. If in doubt, take the garment to be professionally steamed
at a cleaners or first try hanging it in a steamy shower room. If
you make a mess of pressing velvet and flatten the pile you have usually
caused shine and pile damage that is permanent. Under rather than
over press velvet and try also the freely steaming kettle minus lid
Devoré velvet or
burnout style used to be called broderie chimique andis best pressed with the pile sinking into that special pressing velvet
cloth described above. Needle boards can damage the sheer elements
of devoré fabric and snag and create pin holes. Always try out
pressing techniques on inexpensive items that you have no love for.
Velvet boards can be obtained at internet haberdashery supplies stores.
Note - sometimes this is also called voided velvet.
Many sellers ship goods in waterproof Tyvek envelopes and place
these in a box. This is important because if the box gets wet ink
can run on a box and damage goods if they are loose inside.
For the same reason any handmade labels should also be placed in a
sealed plastic bag or suitable envelope and kept separate from the
All sorts of boxes can be used, but you can use
special postal boxes, special garment boxes, hatboxes and lower down the
market even unused pizza boxes. The main difference in
boxes will be more important if the item is to be stored long term in a
box or is just being used to transport the item to its destination.
The more professional and upmarket you see your
service the more attention you should pay to the packaging.
Designer evening gowns from earlier eras may have an original box which may be
4ft or so in length. Otherwise obtain boxes called archival storage
boxes from a supplier such as
The Container Store who produce a variety of boxes up to 40 inches
long and also sell acid free tissue paper.
You might also
investigate Heritagegown.com who provide a service suitable for
bridal gown preservation and also sell buffered and unbuffered tissue
paper. The price of specialist boxes might seem to
eat into your profit, but anyone who has spent thousands of pounds or
dollars expects at the very least the original designer label box or a
brand new box. If you feel a couple of pounds or dollars on a gorgeous
piece of ribbon and perhaps an artificial flower will add to the
flourish and style of your wrapped up vintage item go ahead and do that.
It's a good idea
to ask the buyer if they are willing to pay more for deluxe packaging,
and if they are what you must offer them is a deluxe packaging service.
That means new quality acid free tissue paper worked
in every fold as you fold the garment, a ribbon, a tyvek envelope, bubble wrap or shredded paper
or polystyrene bits to fill in air gaps and stop the item floating
about, then a quality box. Corrugated shipping boxes may suit the
garment price range you work in better than archival boxes as long as
they are for transporting the item rather than storing it. An
item that is fairly snug in the final box won't flop about and over
If you do your best to pack items well, they will
arrive in reasonable condition and buyers will be pleased and spread
good words about you. The main thing here is that you think about
packing it and do your best to make the package do a good job. A browse
at the Heritage Gown Site will give you information and ideas about
storage and preserving your precious items long term to a museum
standard. Other suppliers do of course exist, but this will get
It really would be impossible for any garment to
arrive totally crease free unless it were door to door courier delivered
on a hanger in a garment bag. Sometimes telling the buyer that
creases will happen during transit will reassure them. Using a
flyer with some hints and tips on caring for the item when it's
unwrapped will be sufficient to set their mind at rest.
The unexpected will floor them so make an effort to
restore their confidence before they make that unnecessary phone call
which wastes their time and yours. The last thing you want is for a
buyer to have a sense of disappointment when they open up the box.
Try to think of the last time you had a tooth extraction or head injury.
You felt reassured didn't you that you were given a detailed leaflet
with symptoms to look out for and what might happen and how to deal with
it, but also what was normal to expect.
Consider adding little touches like a "thank you for
buying vintage from me" card, but just make sure it isn't going to
damage that precious item by bleeding if it gets wet. Or you could add a leaflet about the
costume history of the era they have chosen their item from, or even a
list of websites or booklist to help them research the period or the
designer or brand. Try imagining making the recipient feel as if
they received a wonderful much wanted gift from you, rather than a
purchase. Make them want to contact you for repeat business or to thank
This gives you a personal bonus and a little fillip of a job well
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