Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cleaning and Caring for Chiffon

Since many of us now have the Ann Taylor Factory chiffon ruffle shells, I wanted to do a quick post about caring for them (see also AN forum). The one that I own from 2009 is now pilly and stretched out from wear, but the material is completely different from the Factory ones. Hopefully the same thing won't happen this time around.
Shells in Soft Pewter, Dusty Mauve, Mud Bath, and Deep Blue

Fray-Prevention: The edges on the chiffon ruffles are raw-cut, but don't seem to be fraying or unraveling. If yours are coming apart, or if you want to do some fray-prevention, try using Fray Check along the edges (thank you Janelle for the rec' a looong long time ago).

I've used it below. You can see it makes the edges a little darker (where my finger points), but it does work.

Washing: These tops are machine washable, but avoid tossing them in with your jeans and hoodies. When washed against rougher fabrics, delicates can get "worn down" fast and the chiffon can get snagged on zippers.

I don't wash delicates until after many wears. Washing (regardless of method) will usually make garments look a little more worn, but sometimes you need to machine wash to reshape an item after it's been stretched out from wear. What I do:
1. Turn the garment inside out
2. Place into a small mesh baggy
3. Wash on the delicates cycle, machine dry low for a few minutes, and then lay flat to reshape.
I found this 3-piece mesh baggy set for $6.99 eligible for Free Super Saver Shipping. You may also find these at your local dollar store (saw them at Daiso) or Bed Bath and Beyond.

Readers - please share your tips for cleaning and caring for delicate tops!


  1. thanks for posting this! For the longest time, I've AVOIDED buying anything with chiffon because hand washing with woolite just seemed to make things look limp and dingy =P

  2. Thank you for this post. We all have this problem of properly taking care of our delicates. I always put them in mesh bags as you mentioned in the post, it seems to help. J.Crew tops I acquired (real silk) with raw edges seemed to do poorly on holding up after washes, but Loft tops (polyester) did just fine. The AT tops doesn't look like the type that'll fray easily. Fingers crossed. I'm not sure if I like the effect of "fray check". though. Yes, it stopped fraying, but it looks like something got spilled on it. Reminds me of the old "pantyhose repair trick" - clear nail polish.

  3. Thank you! The mesh bag is a great idea! I spend so much time looking after all my things, I just hate it when anything gets ruined by incorrect cleaning. I've compiled a guide to storing and cleaning because I was so fed up of ruining so many things in the past.

    I have a fantastic cold, delicate wash cycle on my machine which is works really well so that's what I use as infrequently as possible. Agree with you about not washing too often.

  4. Thank you for the great tips Jean! I'd recommend inside-out hand wash for this tops.I'd also like to recommend this lingerie wash from Nordstrom. I've been using it for years and the smell is amazing. It works really well for washing lingerie but also love to use it to wash any other delicate garments. It works like a charm, the best for hand-washing cashmere too and a little goes along way:

  5. Oh are so fantastic! Thank you for the post!! I am very careful with my items and when in doubt- wash on cold and delicate and "fluff" dry :)

  6. great tips, just what i needed!:)

  7. Thank you for this post, Jean! This is just what I needed. I think I've told you before. My laundry habit is pretty bad. I wash everything after one wear. Although I didn't order any of these shells but I will definitely keep these tips in mind.

  8. Great tips - I've never thought about using mesh bags!

    PLG - I'm the same, I wash everything after one wear (at the most, two). I'm just afraid of things smelling after a while :P

  9. Technically supposed to stick bras in a mesh bag too but I always forget! Only until my bra gets really tattered I realize my mistake lol. Your warnings on how your previous shell got pilly is making me wary though.
    I really like Claud's suggestion on a lingerie wash! Never heard of that before and the price is pretty reasonable.

    LOVE the colors of your shells! Makes me wish I ordered more while I had the chance. =0(

  10. Thanks for all the tips! I love using those mesh bags for things like sweaters too. Very delicate or thin tops and blouses though, I handwash myself lol >.<

  11. This post is so helpful! I'll have to remember to wash my tops this way as well.

    I bought the chiffon ruffle tops at the AT outlet today too and overheard an SA telling another lady at check out that the chiffon tops (a different style) that she bought aren't machine washable even though the tags said they which the lady actually thanked her for that info. I LOL'ed out loud like an idiot.

  12. Thanks for the useful tips. I will bear them in mind especially the one abouting turning the item inside out - great tip!

  13. these are great tips and i never knew about Fray Check before. thanks so much for sharing!

  14. I am bad at following the care instructions and tend to throw everything in the washer and dryer so my clothes are not in very good condition. That habit has to change. Luckily my washer has a handwash function so I will have to use it more often and avoid high heat in the dryer to extend the life of my clothes. I would prefer to airdry them but it is not possible sometimes.

  15. Thanks for the advice, Jean! I just throw stuff in the wash on the "hand wash" cycle...jeans, tops, whatever! I thought since it was "hand wash" it was ok to do that. I will start washing my jeans and pants by themselves. Thanks for the tip! :)

  16. Nice post!!I wash my delicates items by hand !!it doesn't take a lot of time since it's an habit !!

  17. great advice!!! i agree with giving it a few wears before throwing in a washer. i've learned that the very hard way! i use the same delicates bag, i love it!

    great post, Jean!!

  18. This is the best stuff ever for washing delicates

    This one is the powder version

    and this one a liquid wash

    It gets out absolutely any stains and keeps clothes looking pristine.

  19. I adore your blog, Jean!

    Quick question:
    I was only able to get the shell in XSP at my local AT outlet (Houston area) and was wondering if I'd be able to shrink it a bit. I don't want to compromise the chiffon, but I could benefit from the shirt being more fitted. Thanks!

  20. I went to buy this chiffon ruffle but sadly it's no longer 40% off at the factory store. Plus they're running low on colors and sizes. I don't know if I should wait for the next sale or just bite the bullet :/

  21. I have a bad habit of just throwing everything in the washer & dryer and taking my chances, but since i started to buy more ruffly/delicate tops & sweaters, I've had to pay a little closer attention. Thanks for sharing your tips... I just find it hard to find places to 'lay flat' items on to dry, especially if I'm washing many in one load.

  22. Hello! I was reading through some of your old posts and would love to hear more about fabrics (what are your thoughts on synthetics?) and care of clothing, as this is an issue I think about a lot!


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