Can you make lace and rhinestone less itchy?
February 21, 2015 7:28 AM   Subscribe

My wife has to wear a bridesmaid's dress that has lace and rhinestones in the neck, sleeve and shoulder area. She finds it quite itchy. Do you know a trick for making it less itchy?

It will be a summer wedding, but indoors. It is not possible to wear a different dress. Based on the design of the dress, it is probably not possible to sew in a slip or liner.

Although she might stop noticing the discomfort (sensory adaptation), the fabric seems rough enough that it could lead to visible irritation. Any tips for making such fabric softer?
posted by KevCed to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
Best answer: I'd suggest discreet application of an anti-friction product like Band-Aid Friction Stick. It's an invisible silicone layer typically used to prevent blisters from ill-fitting shoes rubbing you the wrong way; similar products are used by runners to keep shirts from chafing their nipples raw to bleeding during a marathon and the like.

I can't guarantee this would fix the itching, but it's worth the couple of bucks and a test run!
posted by Andrhia at 7:34 AM on February 21, 2015 [9 favorites]

Best answer: After years of wearing dance costumes, nope, no magic solutions. If it's unbearable, the only option is to sew a lining underneath / wear something under it. Maybe she'd be able to find some tights that closely match her skin tone and cut them up? Would be fairly straightforward to do arms like that.

Examine the underside of the material closely and see if she can work out the bits that are most irritating and see if they can be modified?

Otherwise it's a case of put up with the irritation and hope the resulting rashes don't last too long.
posted by kadia_a at 9:02 AM on February 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I searched for sheer dance top and found things like this that come in nude. I'd buy a few styles and colors you can find. I have sensitive skin and I'd either wear that or not be a bridesmaid. My skin would turn bright red otherwise.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:10 AM on February 21, 2015

It's probably not easily washable, but it might be possible to wet just the lace part with a damp cloth, to get any remaining starch or other fabric treatments out. I'd try blotting it with a damp cloth that wouldn't transfer lint, rinse the cloth, and repeat a few times. Then do it one more time with water that's had some water-soluble (no silicone) hair conditioner mixed in. Should soften things up a bit and make it a lot less itchy.

Though damaging the lace is a possibility, it's probably synthetic stuff anyway and not all that fragile. Test it out on a small area that's not so visible before doing the rest.
posted by asperity at 9:14 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you checked with a dressmaker to see if a lining would really be impossible?

If the suggestions above don't work, sorry to quibble with you, but it very likely is possible for your wife to wear a different dress, or to replace that lace with something that won't torment her for, probably, 12 or so hours. There's no harm in at least asking the bride (who if she's reasonable, should accommodate).
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:20 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is it just the backs of the rhinestones that are irritating? Or the seams of the fabric? Both? If it's not the entire upper portion of the dress, maybe try moleskin? She could cut tiny pieces of that and stick it to the back of the rhinestones and/or the seams. The adhesive is pretty strong so don't plan on removing the pieces.
posted by Beti at 10:16 AM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is it possible to post a picture?
posted by rubster at 11:04 AM on February 21, 2015

If you find a lining in her skin tone, it's absolutely possible to sew it into the bodice, a seamstress could do this easily.

You'll see mesh and linings added to couture on the red carpet all the time.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:01 PM on February 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions!

This is the dress. Apparently the lace isn't the main issue. Her own wedding dress had a lace upper, and it was comfortable. The rhinestones appear to be the main culprit.

We will definitely look at some of the anti-chafe products. I also like the idea of local liner to cover the rhinestones. When she takes it in for alterations, she will ask a seamstress or dressmaker about a bigger lining.
Great ideas.

Without going into great detail, there has been enough wedding planning controversy. My wife wants to keep things as easy and stress-free for the bride as possible. Asking to change the dress is not an option she wants to consider. It is not clear if other bridesmaids are having the same issue.
posted by KevCed at 7:28 PM on February 21, 2015

Best answer: Ask a seamstress if a layer of illusion lining that bodice would be enough to stop the itch (the rhinestones are probably glued on and that is what she is feeling). At any rate, that will be an easy dress to alter. The trickiest part will be getting a shade to match her skin tone. Very cute dress.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:24 PM on February 21, 2015

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