After finishing the christening gown on time for its great occasion, I knew I wanted to enter the gown in my largest local state fair, the Puyallup Fair. I hoped it would do well, but I was also worried about setting my expectations too high, because a piece so large and showy would be under extra scrutiny from the judges. And after the success at the Evergreen State Fair, my expectations were high indeed.
The night before I planned to take the gown to the fair, I began to iron it, only to discover that my iron was dirty: it had left a large brown stain down the front of the gown. Disaster! At this point I honestly stopped caring about the fair; my top priority shifted to restoring the dress for my brother and sister-in-law, no matter what had to be done or how long it would take.
Martha Stewart’s web site offers easy instructions for cleaning an iron, which worked perfectly; my iron was soon sparkling clean again and I resolved to clean my iron regularly (or at least before the next fair). However, my first efforts to clean the dress stain only made it worse, so I chose to take a break and start again in the morning.
The next day I soaked the dress in OxyClean for an hour, hand rinsed it, then soaked it in Linen Wash for about half an hour, and rinsed thoroughly again. To dry the dress, I rolled it in towels to remove most of the excess water, then ironed it until it was perfectly smooth (and mostly dry), and finished by hanging the dress outside in the sun and breeze. Much to my relief, the dress was as good as new, no sign of any staining. Maybe even better than new! It’s good to know that the dress is washable (at least by hand; I wouldn’t dare put all that lace in a machine) in case future babies who wear it are not as tidy as my niece, or if it meets with another accident.
Fortunately the fair was accepting entries all weekend, so the dress was able to enter the fair after all, and the wait for the results was on. We celebrated the Evergreen State Fair results with a traditional fair scone slathered in raspberry jam; would the Puyallup Fair yield a Scone of Victory or a Scone of Consolation?
As it turned out, the line for scones was so long that we gave up and returned home sconeless … but not ribbonless:
- First place
- Best in Category (gold ribbon; Needle-Made Lace class)
- Reserve Grand Champion (lavender and white rosette; Lace/Open Work division)
At this fair, Hardanger embroidery is entered under the Lace/Open Work division along with bobbin lace, needle-made lace, tatting, lacy crochet and lacy knitting, which creates quite a bit of competition for those Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion rosettes. I’m thrilled about the ribbons it won, and they’ve done a nice job displaying the gown. (A cute baby to show off the dress never hurts!) I look forward to reading the judges’ scorecard at the end of the fair.