Storage suggestions for heavy garb

Often, when you make a houppelande or other voluminous garment, you'll find your closet hangers are not up to the task of supporting the garment.  Most hangers are challenged at anything over a pound or two, and even the heaviest plastic hangers will give out around 5 pounds -- the weight of an average winter coat or raincoat with liner.  Furthermore, a heavy garment hung on a clothes-hanger will get stretched at the "shoulders" of the hanger, where all the weight distorts the fabric.

So what to do?  Here are some suggestions:

Better hangers.

Heavy wooden hangers, with "shoulders" half an inch wide or wider, are available from fancy stores (such as Hold Everything) or specialty stores (such as Bed & Bath.)  Instead of paying $10 per hanger from one of these places, check out your local thrift store, such as Salvation Army, Goodwill, or local charities.  They will often have baskets of hangers, wire, plastic, and wood, available.  I get my wooden hangers for 25 cents each from the local Jr. League thrift store.  Sometimes they are old, and have entertaining slogans from tailors or cleaners on them, such as one promising to clean a suit for ten cents!

Weird hangers.  A company called sent me an email about their product, which has little rods that you extend along the shoulder of the hanger itself, so that you don't get stretched out pouches where garments hang around the corner of the hanger.  Haven't tried them myself, but might work for sweaters and such, except that you'd need a much wider closet than usual.

Sew loops into your clothes.  (by Margo Anderson)

One thing I find really helpful is to sew hanger loops into your clothes.
On a wide, open neckline, such as that on an Eizabethan gown,  I sew a loop at each shoulder seam that is just long enough to slip over the hook on the hanger. This prevents the shoulders from slipping off.  For full skirts, I lay the skirt flat and mark for loop placement at the front and back at the points where the notches on the hanger are, then sew in loops about 3" long. For full heavy skirts attached to a bodice, I sew loops to the waistband, if there is one, or to the skirts side seams at the waist point, and make them long enough to come up over the shoulders of the hanger like suspenders.
I usually use 1/4" or 1/2" twill tape for these loops, but any strong tape that isn't slippery will do.  (CV note: I've used satin ribbon for this as well; as long as you have strong hanger notches, or hook them over the neck of the hanger instead of the notches.)

You can make loops for heavy sleeves, also, in this fashion, with the loops near the wrist, but not so long that you can see them when wearing them.  -- RM Koske

Fold your garb over the closet rod.

This takes up a lot of space, but solves the fabric distortion problem.  Simply loop the garment over the (dusted!) closet rod as if it were a towel on a towel rack.
Make sure your closet rods are strong enough (by Elizabeth Young):  A useful idea is to replace the (possibly) wooden closet rods with the appropriate diameter of galvanized electrical conduit pipe. Enough heavy garments on a plain old (even hardwood) rod and the rod either breaks or develops a lovely catenary curve and falls out of the holders on the wall.

Put your garb in a chest.

Fold it gently and lay in a chest.  Don't pack too much in, or you'll get heavy wrinkles.  A few light wrinkles will work themselves out with wearing.  If you don't have room for a chest, see if your garb will fit in one of those under-bed storage boxes that you can buy at any Kmart or similar store.

Use skirt or pants hangers

Another thing you can use for heavy skirts is slack hangers, a pair of slats about 1.5 x 8" or so that
open up or clamp together and hang like a normal clothes  hanger.  I didn't like skirt hangers for my mundane (nice wool professional looking) skirts because the weight of the  skirt hanging from two clips pulled the waistband out of  shape.  If you fold the waistband in quarters and clamp in the slack clamp it stays nice.  I fold to a front half and a back half, then fold the back half to the inside on the basis that if I pick up a couple wrinkles there are sitting wrinkles anyway and the front stays smooth.  Works fine. They are available in packs of 2 or 3 in the closet accessories section of the discount stores for only a few $$.  I like  the wood ones with the grooves in the inside best for wool but if you have something that might snag they also come  in plastic.  -- Otelia d'Alsace

Good luck!
All material © 1999-2000 Cynthia Virtue Email Author with comments
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