By Lynne McGuire
Show dog bows
and specialty dog bows are
not cheap items to buy for your dog. Some bows require
extensive handcrafting and sport beautiful keepsake
embellishments and this is reflected in their price. I
am sure that you want your bows to last as long as
possible. Perhaps you have a favorite bow that is
looking rather wilted and little worse for the wear. Can
these bows be saved? They sure can! Use the following
information to take care of your bows so they last as
long as possible, and to
rejuvenate your show dog bows
when they are looking worn and limp.
Taking Care of Your Bows
The tiny latex bands
on the backs of your dog bows cannot be easily
replaced when they break, so the goal is to prevent
the bands from breaking and deteriorating. There is
no need to double your bands over when putting the
bow into the topknot. I use very small bands on my
bows so that you will not have to do this. This
saves a lot of stress on the bands. Store your bows
in a bow box with a snap down lid. This can be a
plastic case with a tight fitting cover. This
keeps your bands from drying out prematurely and
"aging" quickly as bands left exposed to the air
will deteriorate in strength and break easily.
Once again, storing
your bows in a divided bow box will extend
the life of the bow. The case also keeps your bows
from becoming smashed, and it separates the colors
to keep them clean. When using hair spray on a
topknot, try to shield the dog bow from overspray
with your hand if you can to avoid a filmy, dulling
finish to your bow. This is especially important
with glitter dog bows which have a special finish
applied to them. Hair spray will cloud this finish
and subdue the shine of a glitter dog bow. Also,
glitter dog bows tend to be like little "Velcro dust
magnets" and you must store them in a quality
container to protect them from becoming contaminated
with "foreign bodies".
Most of my
dog bows have a Swarvorski crystal or vintage
rhinestone center. These crystals can easily be
cleaned if they become dingy from exposure to
hairspray, dust, and whatever. To clean the
crystals, use a cotton tip q-tip that has been
dipped in alcohol and gently rub the surface of the
crystal stones. Be careful not to catch and bend the
setting prongs holding the stones in place. let the
stones air dry and they will sparkle like new.
Cleansing Your Bows:
all, I would like to warn against washing any bow
with a flag backing on it. A flag backing is the
extra piece of ribbon on the back of any bow, that
is cut with a "V" cut or a decorative cut. You
cannot wash these bows without loosing your fray
protection that has been applied to your bow flag.
If you have a bow with a flag backing that is dirty,
and you would like to salvage it, the best thing to
do if you are going to wash the bow is to cut the
flag backing off short enough so that the cut ends
no longer show beyond the bow back loop. You can
seal the cut edges with clear finger nail polish and
that will take care of any fraying threads after you
cut off the flags. You can wash any "dirty" bow to
prepare it for a new life by doing the following:
Wash your dog bows in a
solution of cold water and liquid Woolite.
Dunk your bows in and out of the water
gently using your fingers to work the
solution through your dog bow. If you are
washing dark color dog bows, do not include
white or light colored bows as you may loose
a tiny bit of color in the wash and it could
transfer to the lighter bows. You do not
have to wash the bows very long, just long
enough to work off the old stiffener and any
dinginess on the bow.
Rinse and blot your bows dry
on a paper towel or any soft towel, never
squeeze or wring the dog bows as you may
alter the bows construction and symmetry.
Let your dog bows air dry
before attempting to re-form them and
re-stiffen them. This may take about 24
5. Re-Forming Your Dog Bows:
You do not have to wash your dog bows to
rejuvenate them. If your bow simply needs re
stiffening, proceed to this step. If you have a dry
clean dog bow, take your dry bow and thread the loops onto a
fat dowel stick to open and support the loops. The stick should
not be too tight into the loop, nor should there be
a lot of free space. I like to use about a 1/2"
dowel or form to hold the loops open on a full size
6. Re-stiffen your dog bows:
by applying a commercial fabric stiffener while your
dog bows are on the stick forms. Let the stiffener
dry completely in between coats, and turn the sticks
in between coats to prevent sticking. You will
probably want to apply 2 coats of stiffener, letting
each coat dry before applying the next. You may
purchase this stiffener at almost any craft store.
7. Misc. Information:
Never wash a glitter
dog bow....period. Do not attempt to
apply stiffeners to them either as they have
been coated with a special finish
not get along well with other finishes.
Never wash my silk
show dog bows.
All directions apply
to the care of and renewal of Doggie
handcrafted satin or grosgrain dog bows.
washable sewing grade satin ribbons and
grosgrains exclusively, and I never glue my center
embellishments. Glued on center
embellishments will not withstand washing
your dog bow. I would not encourage you to
wash another bow makers dog bows as I doubt
if they would hold up to the wash. I have
been rejuvenating my bows using these
techniques for many years, and have always
had very nice results with my bows.
Avoid washing a dog
bow with a printed pattern on it.
The best kind of bows to wash are satin
ribbon dog bows. Gold under lays on your dog
bows will wash fine and will not slide on
the dog bow if they have been attached
properly. My gold ribbons are permanently
attached as an underlay..
The inside loops of my
dog bows will never fray even when
washed, because they are heat sealed.
Washing a dog bow that has had all cut ends
fray treated will cause the dog bow to fray
and unravel especially on the insides of the
loops. You do not have to worry about this
happening with my dog bows...they will even
survive a washing machine without fraying
ends, although I only recommend hand washing
your dog bows.
my dog bows! HERE
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