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Stinky patterns
Need advice about airing out patterns
Marie367
Marie367  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/7/13 9:33 AM

Ok I bought a bunch of Kwik Sew patterns off Ebay. Most are old-20 years old. Most are classic styles and I got 20+ for less than a dollar a pattern-yipee! Apparently, however, they came from someone's basement. Gee they smell musty. I can't see any water damage or mold on them but they really smell. They came in plastic bags and I put them in my basement which is dry and does not smell. I can't hardly stand to be in the same space with them.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to get rid of the smell? I might have to wait until summer to air them out.

PattiAnnJ
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Date: 2/7/13 10:25 AM

It would be a bit difficult to hang the pattern pieces in the sun, so try putting them in a closed tote with an open container of baking soda.

You could take the contents out of the envelopes to help the airing out.

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“I don’t give them Hell, I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s Hell.” — Harry Truman

"Improvise, adapt and overcome." - Clint Eastwood/Heartbreak Ridge

Karla Kizer
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Date: 2/7/13 1:11 PM

I've heard of people having good luck layering smelly patterns between sheets of newspaper, and sealing them in a bag for a few days. I'd be inclined to put some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag, too, I think.

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“Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.” -Robert Heinlein and Ann's father. Thanks for the reminder, Ann.

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The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'



DonnaH
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Date: 2/7/13 2:30 PM

In addition to the previous suggestions, you could try fabric softener sheets (put a few in a bag w/ a sheet and seal for a few days) or Febreeze.

But I think the last would be a bit labor intensive - I'd want to hang the pattern sheet to spray it - and doing this w/ every single sheet of tissue might be too much work.

The baking soda sounds the best to me, though.

JKimes
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Date: 2/7/13 4:02 PM

The baking soda works. A friend gave me a set of Vogue sewing books she found at the thrift store. They were so musty I got congested just being near them. I put them in a garbage bag with a bowl of baking soda and sealed it up for a week. The smell is barely detectable now.

Juliette

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Elona
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Date: 2/7/13 4:50 PM

I have had excellent results from getting out a big cardboard box and putting into it a flattish little bowl filled with about a quarter of a cup of dry, plain ground coffee, like Folgers, right out of its can.
Then I take the patterns out of their envelopes (throwing away any plastic wraps or bags!), and open them out enough so that, loosely folded, they and their envelopes fit into the box--not crowded--and Scotch Tape the box closed for a couple of weeks.

For me, this has worked every time.

Coffee can be pretty magical for a lot of mysterious stinks and smells.
-- Edited on 2/7/13 4:51 PM --

Marie367
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Date: 2/7/13 5:08 PM

Good ideas all. I got some great patterns so I want to be able to use them but I can't even stand to trace them right now. I think I will try baking soda and maybe the coffee. I never would have guessed coffee. So, I think I will try both.
Thanks so much!

Mufffet
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Date: 2/7/13 5:21 PM

I know I have said this before. If there is a musty smell there are mold spores there - the smell is not self-generated. I would toss 'em and start fresh. It isn't a good thing to intermix musty stuff with good stuff, and it is worse for your health to allow the proliferation of mold spores. As soon as some moisture or humidity get to these items, even if you have gotten sort of rid of the smell, the spores will again come to life and cause more trouble. Short of burning the paper - it is bad. You can try all sorts of things, but unless you have a Gutenberg Bible it isn't worth it.

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mssewcrazy
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Date: 2/7/13 5:22 PM

Carpet sprinkle is cheap and I have added it to baking soda for some extra aroma when combatting stinky smell in something. I would definitely get rid of the plastic wrap and put them in something like a pillowcase inside the container and sprinkle whatever around and on the bottom of the closed up box or container while they marinating. When they don't stink as much you can start airing them out (open container) on nice days if you have a porch or garage. I've only gotten a couple of stinky ones but it is annoying. Those kwik sews are so good. I am becoming a big fan of the auctions on these.

beauturbo
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Date: 2/7/13 6:14 PM

I think if something smells like mold, it most times, just is. And then it can also contaminate anything else at your house it, anyplace near, by mold spores.

But since they are sewing patterns and made to be ironed and take heat from a hot iron, if you can't see any mold at all, you could always try opening them all up and ironing them all one by one very good, and long, with a really hot dry iron, and seeing if that seems to do any good, including even the pattern envelopes. That might kill off some mold spores, I'm not sure, but would not hurt your patterns any, and you could still use them afterwards if you wished. Also don't use same plastic bags for them afterwards either, use brand new ones instead. You could try that maybe.

Old patterns, always seem to have some kind of smell to them though,to me, if old enough, just because glue even used to hold pattern envelopes together, and also if much older, even the printing on them sometimes. If some old 1920's pattern or something like that, I actually even like the smell coming off them, when I go to iron them, before cutting them out and using them a lot of times, but that does not smell like mold to me at all either.

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