Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let's Talk About Sweat

May I approach a delicate topic? It's a commonly held belief that women don't sweat; they "glow." Not me, readers. I sweat. This is all well and good; it's a natural bodily function after all. But it's a little distressing when one is sweating all over a handmade silk shantung dress.

Like a lot of people, I sweat under pressure. The other day at work, I had to make a phone call that required me to be particularly charming. And convince someone to agree to a fairly major book deal. With my boss watching me. On speaker phone. (I don't know why, but I find speaker phone to be particularly stressful.) I was a little nervous, but it all went splendidly. I don't believe I showed any signs of nerves, but I could feel an anxious, clammy armpit sweat taking over. (I told you this was delicate!) Of course, I was wearing a plum silk shantung dress that shows every little stain.

I later sealed the deal (yay!) and my boss went to give me a high five. It was so one of those "Raise Your Hand If You're Sure!" moments. Readers, I was not Sure.

I started pondering dress shields, which I've seen for sale at the notions store. These little sweat shields come in a surprisingly large variety (sew-in, adhesive, sleeveless, ones that strap on to your bra, etc.). Did you know that dress shields have been around since 1869? They've been made by a company called Kleinert's the whole while.

You can probably guess my question by now: Dear readers, have you ever used dress shields? Are they effective? How do you put them in—by tacking them to the sleeve seam allowances? Help a girl out!

(It's also worth mentioning that Claire Shaeffer writes about dress shields in Couture Sewing Techniques, saying you can make your own by sandwiching cotton flannel between layers of lining fabric.)

Anyway, I'm going to pull a Peter and leave you with a video today. Enjoy!

93 comments:

  1. My Burda sewing book, in the section that explains silk, mentions that you can simply sew cotton pieces to the armscyes of a silk garment (I suppose that means tacking it to the seam allowances, yes).
    I'd go that route. It's likely to be cheaper, and probably all the same effective (although I have no experience with the manufactured ones).

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  2. P.S. And I know exactly what moments like that are like. It happens to me, too.

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  3. This is why I love your blog, Gertie--you aren't afraid to talk about these things! ;)

    I haven't used dress shields yet (though every time I page through Couture Sewing, I do give pause to the idea of making a stack of them!), but am pretty sure next summer I will. Up north, it wasn't so much of a problem (I don't sweat a lot ;), but the summers down here kill me and have ruined a couple of my favorite tops. Bleh. I should just stop being lazy and make or buy some!

    ♥ Casey | blog

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  4. WHAHAHAHA for the video!! I like the variety of your topics VERY much!!

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  5. I was curious whether anyone used these, too! I've been considering making dress shields as well... when you spend a lot of time and care making something you want it to last! I wonder if they're uncomfortable - at the fabric store they sell rather stiff-looking synthetic ones. I like the cotton flannel idea much better!
    So no, never used them, but open to the idea!

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  6. Ooh marvellous - I never knew there was such a thing but I could definitely use them! Raise your hands if you sweat a lot....
    My husband on the other hand can go for days, even weeks, on a single application of deodorant and not get even the slightest bit damp or whiffy. However he says he does sweat behind the knees. Misplaced glands?
    Thanks for raising the topic. I will drop back to read more replies!

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  7. Congratulations on the deal first of all!

    Secondly, this is a subject I've also been wondering about. I have yet to sew with silk (one of the things holding me back has been precisely the fear of sweat!), but even with my cotton dresses, I find a shield would be necessary. Not against sweat per se, but against the ravages of deodorant. I use one of those 48h guaranteed protection guards, which has all but ruined the underarm area of some print dresses, chewing into the fabrics and colours (I dread to think what it does to me, but it does work!).

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  8. I have used them, not the sew-in kind as I wasn't sewing at the time. It's been awhile, so I don't remember how I attached them; knowing me, it was probably safety pins. Yes, they stopped the staining of my clothes, but they rubbed against my underarms and that caused a rash. I have very sensitive skin, so I'm sure that played a part in the rash...I really need to find something that works. The DC area is brutal in the summer and I'm now having horrible hot flashes (yeah being 49!). Any suggestions would be most helpful....

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  9. I've bought dress shields for a party dress I'm making. I don't want to be dancing while afraid to move my arms.
    It's certainly not that women don't sweat, I'm unfortunate in that I'm a heavy sweater (is that how you call a person who sweats? I'm not English). Even in the middle of winter I get wet armpits. This has ruined a lot of shirts already, even simple cotton ones. You'd think I'm sweating acid!

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  10. Ah - well, only those of us who are, ahem, of a certain age, remember dress shields (and actually if my memory serves, I also wore them with wool sweaters to prevent felting under the arms). Yes, they work and I remember my mom's really nice dresses having oval pieces of cotton sewn, as Hana-Marmota says, in the armscye seams of the garment. That being said, my mom had some really nice dressy cocktail dresses that did not, but I think that is because they were late 50's/early 60s style, with an inside strapless sheath and an outside full, long sleeved dress made out of a sheer material, so they would have shown and would have ruined the effect. I won't recall blouses having them already put in but I do recall wearing one of those little Kleinert bolero set ups - but I don't see why anyone should not be able to make and sew in cotton shields in the appropriate areas of a blouse also.

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  11. Wow, what a timely topic. I was just researching dress shields as I'm *hoping* that I'll have an interview within the next couple of months. Even though winter weather will be here by then, I know sweating will be a problem.

    I've been looking into the disposable version of dress shields, but the reviews seem mixed. Apparently JoAnn now carries some by the makers of Hollywood Fashion Tape (never used that either) that sound like they may be a little more fabric-like and less like papery stickers (http://www.hollywoodfashiontape.com/products_behind_the_seams.cfm).

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  12. I never heard about them before but would definitely give them a go!

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  13. Yes, they work. I used to use them all the time when I lived in Florida and wore dry-clean-only garments. I just pinned them in with small safety pins. However you attach them, you want them to be removable--so you could baste them in, or attach small snaps, use double sided tape or whatever.

    You can also prewash silk before sewing. This doesn't prevent the sweat from soaking your clothes but minimizes the chances of a permanent stain. Prewashing may change the hand of the fabric but that's usually ok if I don't have to worry about permanent water spots on the garment.

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  14. I have used dress shields a couple times, and I know other people who have, too. I was taught to just safety pin them to the seam allowances in the armseye so that you can remove them and wash them (and therefore avoid washing the whole garment, such as a jacket for a suit)

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  15. Thanks for asking the question! I'm about to finish knitting a beautiful merino/angora sweater and I've been wondering how it would work. I'm usually very cold natured (hence the warm angora), but I also tend to sweat an "unladylike" amount :-) I think I'll try some removable dress shields (never thought about that option); I can wash them without having to wash the whole sweater every time.

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  16. Yes! I was introduced to dress shields back in the 80's. I used to tack them in. My 16 year old son suffers with this problem as well. I actually sew shields (2 layers of tee-shirt fabric) to all of his tee shirts before he wears them. This makes him feel more confident daily. Sweating under pressure is normal.

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  17. As a costumer I used them all the time--we had a drawer full. We used tiny safety pins to fasten them into the armscye at each end, and removed them to hand wash--they don't go through the dryer. You can use 1/2 versions for sleeveless tops. They work fine, as does a camisole or full slip for body sweat. (Little piece of useless information: Many people don't realize that originally men wore "T" shirts to prevent their shirt and suit from sweat.)

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  18. Gertie, I just love your blog! Thank you for sharing your sewing experiences et al. - especially your videos are very helpful!

    I have bought ready-made cotton dress shields (which means: front and back are the same size and shaping; shaping is symmetrically) for a summer silk jacket, tried to position them appropriately and sewed them onto the seam allowance of the armscyes. BUT: The sweat found its way onto the silk, just beside the shields.

    Next time I will sew dress shields (from cotton and cotton batting) and shape them asymetrically - more fabric to the front, less to the back.

    So, before positioning/ sizing/shaping the dress shields, check out, where exactly the spot of trouble is likely to appear and how small or big it will be ...

    I hope this helps!
    Happy shielding

    Kaeru

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  19. i haven't used thel yet, but then again, i rarely wear silk or something alike... i do sweat a lot though. even in cold winter months! not one antiperspirant has really stopped it, just weakened it. i've had this since i started puberty so now i got smart in what clothes or fabric to buy, i know exactly what fabrics will clearly show sweat stains (steer away from grey t-shirts) and in doubt, i pat some spit on it to see if it stains ;)

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  20. I was just talking about how some vintage dresses had sleeve gussets underlined with absorbent material for dress shields too. The idea seemed smart for a washable frock, but I prefer the idea of removable shields myself.. The idea of water spots on silk or satin makes me avoid them, since I worry about water spot when pressing.

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  21. I've wondered about these too, more for the sweater/pilling issue that Toby mentioned. I'm one of the lucky few who BARELY sweats, even if it's a bajillion degrees out! I was also curious about their little cousins, the 'thigh shields' that I read about in the David Coffin trouser book - meant to help with wear on your trousers! Why not spend some time protecting these garments we spend so much time making!

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  22. no, i haven't used dress shields, although i should (and i have considered them in the past). i sweat a LOT and not just because i am hot or under pressure :( instead, i have an arsenal of antiperspirants that i use to keep the sweats at bay. i will probably get cancer, but at least my underarms are nice and dry amirite :)

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  23. I'm so glad you brought this up! I've been debating this issue with myself for a few weeks now -- I'm making a couple suits, I know I sweat in long sleeves when it's not absolutely freezing, and I really, really don't want to ruin them. One of the problems is that the dress shields sold at the fabric store just never look comfortable, and also look like they'd often ruin the line of a sleeve. The cotton flannel idea is a good one, though, I think I might go with it.

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  24. I've pondered but never used dress shields, but I layer whenever I can. Just yesterday, I stuck a washable tank underneath my dress to suck up the pit sweat. Because I, like you Gertie, perspire with vigor.

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  25. Give them a go! I have used them several times and think they're great. I use the ones from the store that are cotton on one side and a thin plastic on the other. I like this idea, because then you KNOW nothing is going to get through to your garment.

    I just tack them to the underarm seam allowance at either side of the fold with the plastic side against the garment so the cotton side will be against my skin. I don't know how sensitive my skin is or not, but I've never had a problem with them chafing or causing rashes or anything.

    And the feeling of security they give you about keeping your lovely garment clean is such a relief!

    I highly recommend.

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  26. Wow, so many knowledgeable comments!

    Here's a question for you, ladies:
    Would it work to fasten shields inside a bra? I ask mainly because I recently switched to natural deodorant, and it does the "de-odour" part well but I often have damp armpits, like many others who comments.
    But in addition to being concerned for the stain-free future of my shirts, I also worry about the longevity of my beautiful underthings. I must sound neurotic, but I'm sure ladies who have some favourite lacy bras can sympathize!

    So, shields INSIDE the bra: yea or nay?

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  27. Actually, good post. I haven't used them but have considered it because during summer on the Gulf Coast--all eight months of it; we're predicting temperatures in the low 90's today--you can break a sweat just walking out to the mailbox. Doing laundry all the time is tedious and hard on your clothes.

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  28. This is the part where I share something really embarrassing-- But who didn't do embarrassing things in their early teens? I had a favorite shirt that was very fitted and showed ANY moisture really badly. I'd heard of dress shields (not sure where/why I had at that age and time period-- early 90s?) and thought they'd help. So I worked with what I had and stuck a couple of stick on panti-liners to the armpits of my shirt! It served the purpose, I guess, but I can't say it was exactly comfortable ;)

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  29. I've had those moments myself!

    I like the idea of installing the dress shields with snaps. How easy is that?

    Congratulations on sealing the deal.

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  30. Poor you! I hate sweatstains under my arms, it just feels so... wrong. The sweatshields sounds great, but I have to admit to never having tried any. I'm sure this is a lot less enviromental friendly, and less good for the body; a few years ago I stumbled over a little bottle called "Absoloutly Dry". I apply it after a shower, wait about 8 hours (for example while sleeping), wash it off and my armpits don't sweat for about a week. At all. And since it washes off it doesn't ruin the clothes, as I see some readers have mentioned as a problem with guards.
    Most of the time I try to think ecological and natural, but for the great benefit of not sweating under my arms, I gladly throw all else out the window =)Stains under my arms just disturbs me way too much!

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  31. I have never heard of those, but I "sure" do remember many occassions when they would have been helpful....I am definately going to find some because the humidity & heat in Georgia makes them necessary! LOL... Thanks Gertie for not being afraid to discuss such matters! :)

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  32. I made a few sets and use them ALL the time. I just bought a pair from JoAnn's with a 50% off coupon, traced it out on ripstop cotton, serged the edges and viola! My own reusable dress shields. I just pin them in with teeny-tiny safety pins and nobody's the wiser.

    If you needed more protection, you could also add a layer of flannel between to layers of cotton. They wash up great in my lingerie bag.

    I highly recommend dress shields! Their pretty invaluable when you sweat more than glow.

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  33. I have used dress shields, and I hate them. They have a strip of adhesive to hold them in place, and all is just dandy until you try to remove the shield. Then you have to try to pick the strip of adhesive off of the liner. It's a real mess.

    While I like the concept of dress shields, I'm afraid the application of the concept leaves a lot to be desired.

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  34. I just started using dress shields, and only wish I had started years ago. I tend to run hot, so I sweat a lot, and totally understand the particularly troublesome "nervous sweat" that you write about.

    I bought a "starter kit" from Kleinert's about two weeks ago, and just used the disposable ones yesterday in a lovely new Anthro dress. They were very helpful, though I did actually sweat through a bit on one side, but not enough to show through (which would have been the case had I not used the shield). I think I'll replicate the pin-in version myself, as they seem pretty easy to make and would save me a lot of fretting about ruining my lovely tops and dresses with sweat stains.

    P.s. This is the second time this week I've talked about dress shields on someone's blog. I'm glad that this old-school, pragmatic resource is getting some attention. Now we can all be "sure"!

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  35. See, now we want a video showing your solution. Can't wait!

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  36. Very timely topic! I just refashioned a ballerina-neckline sweater and was wondering how to deal with the underarm felting issue [I prefer to wear tissue-thin t's under my sweaters to absorb sweat/ decrease washing of sweater/ increase warmth, but the neckline makes that impossible]

    If these really do work, it seems like they'd save a LOT of laundering!

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  37. Hah, this is relevant to me today, as I'm wearing a beautiful laundered silk homesewn shirt (... from the thrift shop, I'm still nervous about cutting silk myself) and wow, it is an unexpectedly warm day.

    Here is my question: what would these dress-shield advisers suggest for contemporary kimono-sleeved tops, where there is no armscye per se? One of the attractions of dress shields or similar for me is that I could continue to use my beloved all-natural deodorant, which does not stain or damage fabric and does keep me smelling daisy-fresh, but does nothing against sweat at all.

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  38. @Erica
    I am curious about "Absolutely Dry." I googled it and couldn't find any information on it. Can you tell me where you get it, etc? Thanks!

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  39. Brilliant post! Doesn't Joan Holloway suggest dress-shields to her room-mate in series one of Mad Men? What better recommendation could there be?! I could definitely do with some - I love the sound of the snap solution another commenter mentioned.

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  40. Back ( way back ) in the days my teacher told us to always sew shields to the dresses we sewed. If you used your own pattern, they´d always fit regardless. And she told us to use few hand stitches to attach them to seam allowances.
    No sweat stains when you use them. I was told that any absorbent material would do. Just use it double- triple fold.

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  41. We used dress shields in a lot our costume pieces in high school theater. I recall them being uncomfortable, but maybe they were disposable and papery? or too bulky? or poorly inserted? not sure.

    I was recently browsing some vintage 50s dresses in a secondhand store in park slope and noticed that the original owner had safety pinned sweat shields to the armscye, with itty bitty little brass safety pins. Both an interesting bit of history, but also a little gross that the sellers had left them in.

    I think the safety pin route is a good one because isn't half the point that you can launder them more vigorously (and even more frequently!) than the entire garment?

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  42. The only thing I know about these involves a story about my aunt who was adopted into my family as a teenager. Her previous family was very strict and required her to wear "sweat pads" daily. As a celebration of the adoption, she danced around the living room while throwing the pads into the fireplace. This gives me the sense that they were less than comfortable to use.

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  43. Thanks for bringing up this topic! I've known about the concept of dress shield but had never come across them, nor do most sewing books mention them. I wonder why?

    One amazing thing that I have noticed about sweating is that when you are in a stressful situation, not only do you sweat but there is more odor involved. I worked as a nurse and had to use lots of deodorant/antipersperant which of course ruined the armpits of tops. If nothing else turning them yellow. Then I got disabled and didn't go out to work anymore and discovered as long as I wasn't having a 'sick' day, or any major stressers I could basically go without the deodorant without smelling at all (you brought the topic up). Much savings in that department. But my thought is, why are we putting ourselves through so much stress that we sweat and stink like we have been doing hard manual labor? I think if we all started using the dress shield and skipped the chemicals it would be better for us and also try to find ways to deal with the stress would be great.

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  44. When I was in a play in my teens (1980s), we were all instructed to use dress shields with our costumes. But the shields we were given were these worn-out, shriveled old things and no one could figure out how to make them work, so we went without.

    I have often wondered how they're actually supposed to be attached and worn without bunching up and showing, as well as being uncomfortable and useless.

    Also, as a kid I owned a swim cap made by Kleinert's. It's the only time I've ever seen the brand name.

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  45. Great topic. Sweat can ruin silk, so I always wear shields with my silks, or layer underneath them. Lately, I've only had the disposable kind, but they work well.

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  46. Good post on a very real issue. I tried KLEINERT'S this past year, buying a two packs of dress shields that snap onto your bra for slippage protection. They really DO work (and I sweat alot), but one caveat:the quality was not impressive, especially since they are made in the USA and I expected better quality. My advice is to go to Joanne's, buy their dress guards and add your own elastic and snaps.

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  47. I have never used them, I've seen those things, I thought were thing from the past, but nowdays they exist!!

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  48. Gertie, I'm curious about where you work. I've worked in a lot of offices, and silk shantung was not appropriate for any of them--way, way too dressy. Of course, a lot of perspiration is a problem in most all fabrics and dress shields would be appropriate. I've never used them myself--when I lived in Florida and since living in San Diego, I have always worn washable fabrics, so it's not been a problem.

    Gail D.

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  49. Gail, I work in an office. In book publishing. I'm one of those "creative types" who can get away with unusual business attire. That shantung dress is one I get the most compliments on at work!

    So many great comments, all!

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  50. My advise: only use cotton. My DD has scoliosis and wears a brace (Plastic brace from armpits to hips) 20-22 hours a day. Under the brace she has to wear a special t-shirt o tanktop without seams made of cotton to absorb all the daily sweat, and boy, it works! The tshirt is completely wet when she gets from school. Cotton absorbs the sweat and her skin is perfect.

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  51. @marenfay:

    can't speak for erika, but i use a similar anti-sweat product called 'certain dri'. idk where you live, but it is available in most grocery/drug stores in the US. same concept - you wipe it on, wait 8 hours (aka sleep) and it keeps the sweats at bay. i usually apply every other day or so. it has worked WONDERS for me, and i tend to sweat quite a bit!

    hope that helps :)

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  52. I've just remembered that I actually saw a dress from the 60s - it looked synthetic - that had pieces of cotton sewn as dress shields to the armscye. It was in a local museum, and I even took photos from very close (it was in the open corridor, I could have even touched it, if I wanted to...), so I could take a look for you if something more helpful shows on the photos.

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  53. I honestly have to say that I have never thought of dress shields for sweating. Ever. This may in fact be the next big thing for me because I'm allergic to EVERY ANTIPERSPIRANT ON THE MARKET. Most deodorants are mislabeled and are actually antiperspirants. If I don't carefully read the labels I end up with a painful rash.

    The good news is there's natural stuff to keep me from stinking. Bad news, I still sweat. AND I LIVE IN GEORGIA. *Harrumphs*

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  54. Thanks for the commercial flashback! I was singing along within seconds. I'de never heard of dress shields until now, so thanks for that bit of info, too.

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  55. I don't know anything about dress shields, but I do know that I used to be an avid sweater (especially out of my right armpit - it was strange) and I used Certain Dri antiperspirant to solve this problem. It's a roll-on formula that you put on at night before you go to bed and it stops you from sweating from your underarms. It stings a little if you recently shaved (it recommends not shaving right before application) but it worked really well for me and when I stopped using it, I wasn't having the problem anymore. So that might be a more practical solution if this is a day-to-day problem you're having.

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  56. As the writer Brianna says, try the thing she calls certain dri. since im from sweden i dont know the english name but it sounds the same and its veeery good.
    Just dab you armpit (or elsewhere, like feet or hands) with this seem-to-be-alcoholic solution overnight, but wait atleast 24h after shaving! the bottle says it may damage fabric esp cotton but ive never noticed any on my clothes or sheet (maybe not use your prettiest nightgown?). Anyhow, its awesome and you dont sweat at all. May be the sweat gets out elsewhere on your body (my back sweats easy) but its not as much, and way better.
    theres nothing like putting your arm down and feeling that cold wet fabric, uew.
    Great topic, alotta people might not talk about this

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  57. @lladybird

    Thank you! I am in the US.

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  58. Awesome! I can't believe I've never thought of these before. They're going into my next project, for sure!

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  59. Ooh I love a dress shield! I sweat and had ruined with deoderant a number of dresses before I discovered one that had been 'shielded'. When I buy a vintage dress now, I always sew in a Kleinert's shield if I have one handy. I have not yet made one myself but I've bought homemade dresses that have had them. They're definitely an important part of my wardrobe!

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  60. Shh! I'm more of a lurker, but thought I should comment on this. My girl is an Irish Dancer, and if you haven't seen them dance, let me tell you they sweat. At her last two competitions, we've used underarm shields by advantagewear. They're great because they're cotton, layered and have a moistureproof barrier built in. And yep, they're still thin. Gotta love 'em!

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  61. Girl, I sweat. None of this "glowing" business for me. It's a source of stress sometimes, which of course makes me sweat more. Lovely!

    I used the adhesive dress shields on my bridesmaid dress earlier this year and they worked beautifully. I will definitely be using them again. I'd be interested in trying sew in ones at some point too. I'd say, give the stick on ones a try and if they work for you you can then make some out of better materials if you'd prefer the sew in kind.

    Also, I noticed that someone on your fb page suggested certain-dri roll on. I've tried it too. (Have I mentioned that I sweat? A lot. And it's annoying? Yeah, I've tried everything.) Anyway, it works really well, but you have to remember not to put it on right after you shave. It burns like nobody's business. When I was using it I would try to use it at night, then shave in the mornings. I didn't have any trouble with it burning when I did that, but I didn't have to be pretty diligent about using it every night. It was a bit of a hassle so I eventually stopped using it.

    Sorry for writing a novella here. I just can completely sympathize with not being sure and had to offer my experience.

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  62. I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. It's HOT hear, in case you haven't heard. I sweated a lot before moving to this crazy climate, but when I got here I couldn't leave the house without an extra shirt. I actually ended up getting a prescription for DrySol, a chloride solution, and I haven't had a problem sense. It's just a prescription liquid, and it's amazing! And totally cheap, $10 for 6 months worth.

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  63. I have this same problem. I find, if I think about it I sweat more. Purely psychological, I'm sure, but hey it still sucks. Anyway... thanks for covering this embarrassing topic.

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  64. I have never heard of these, what a great idea though!

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  65. "Pull a Peter?"

    Sounds naughty!

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  66. I also tend to sweat a lot, but I've used Odaban for the past couple of years and it's been a miracle worker. It's pretty similar to the Absolutely Dry Erika described - put it on once a week before bed, wash off in the morning, and you're good to go! Plus you can buy it off their website and they ship pretty much anywhere.

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  67. Gertie, it's like you read my mind! I have been thinking a lot about armpit shields, and wondering how I can implement them into my wardrobe. I have been contemplating purchasing a custom fitted white button down (I am not quite skilled enough to make my own yet) but can't justify it if there is a chance the armpits will yellow quickly. The only solutions might be a changeable armpit guard.

    Also, I will just say that as a heavy sweater in a warm South Texas climate, I have brought back the hankie for dabbing brow, neck, and decollete in the warmest months of summer.

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  68. In the theater department at college, I sewed in snaps in the seam allowances. Some other lucky sod must have had the job of sewing the snaps to the sweat shields themselves. Three snaps per shield, and I remember the way she wanted us to sew them in, very permanently, with a half-hitch knot at each hole in the snap. (I think the actors were pretty tough on the costumes.) At the end of the performance, all the shields went in the wash.

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  69. Gertie, you are wonderful.

    Summer's coming up in Australia so it's great to have a reminder of the existence of sweat shields. I'll have to try making my own.

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  70. Dear Gertie,

    I love your blog so much and am glad to finally be able to chime in on something! I work in costumes for theater and we use dress shields all the time. What we usually do is stitch in four tiny snaps (size 0 or 1) around the perimeter of the dress shield and then in corresponding places in the armpit of the garment. That way, you can simply pop them in and out! I would suggest putting the female snaps on the garment itself and the males on the shields- that way, if you want to wear the garment sans dress shields, you're not being poked by snaps :-) Alternatively, I bet you could simply baste them in for daily wear.

    Hope that helps,
    Ari

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  71. Dress shields are great, have worn both the purchased ones & homemade ones for over 40 years (my Gram was a dressmaker & introduced us to them at puberty.)Under sweaters I wear a snug short-sleeved T made of Malden Mills' silk-weight Power Dry wicking fabric.
    As for attaching dress shields, we have used "Body Glue" & I recently tried Collins Wash Away Basting Tape in my metallic brocade dress at my niece's wedding. I find this much easier than pins or snaps, and have never had a wardrobe malfunction.

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  72. picked up a few from the bargin bin in the fabric store and have used these in some of my sweaters - they work a treat - I tacked them onto the seam. I am thinking I will have to add some more to my delicate vintage dresses to keep them somewhat sweat free

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  73. This is a very interesting post. While I have read about dress shields, I had never actually seen them until I saw the pictures at the beginning. In fact, I thought they were one of those products that no one made anymore. Because they were to be worn in the underarm, I thought they were thicker, almost like a shoulder pad, only made to fit in the armpit. "Gee," I thought, "that must have been so uncomfortable, no wonder you don't see them around anymore." Now that I see what they're really like, I can see that they could still be useful.

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  74. I saturated my dress shields on my wedding day and stained my silk wedding dress. I know anything I wear out of silk will have a limited life span. I have used prescription antiperspirants on my underarms and then sweat twice as much under my breasts and on my back. My granny said she had the same problem until menopause. Having tried them all, I think the disposable adhesive pads are the best. I do have incredibly soft skin, though!

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  75. Thanks Gertie for the post and to all the commenters for giving me finally an idea how to use these things. I've been wondering quite a while.

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  76. Coincidentally I just read this in the Daily mail (UK)

    ANTI-PERSPIRANT WITH WINGS
    Do you ever see sweat patches on the red carpet? No, you don’t.
    But it’s not because every single A-lister has had her armpits injected with botulinum toxin to prevent her sweating, or because celebrity anti-perspirants are more effective than those for us mere mortals.
    Nope, according to certain super-stylists, the trick lies in discovering an innovative use for adhesive panty liners. Yes, you read correctly.
    You simply stick the pad inside the dress so the absorbent part is in ­contact with your armpit, and hey presto, no sweat patches.

    Mmmm not sure myself - wouldnt fancy it falling out!

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  77. I have not tried them, but I definitely need to! It's one of those things I've always been a bit embarrassed to discuss but I sweat--a lot. I go through shirts super fast because the sweat leaves discoloration and a lingering smell, even after washing.

    Although one trick I'm finding? Men's deodorant! It seems to last SO much longer on me, and I figure I can play off the scent as vaguely unisex? I just have to stop sniffing and wondering where the boy is....

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  78. I never where there separate guards, but i do where the camisole with the guards sewn in and they are great.
    Check this out for ideas. http://www.advantagewear.com/womensunderwear.htm

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  79. I must say, Gertie, I love your bold attitude, focusing on delicate subjects - but obviously subjects to the point - in your blog! I've known about armpit pieces like this, seen them in vintage garments, but I've never tried them or given them a thought. However, I'm a cotton girl, but maybe that is a result of having sweaty armpits? Great post!

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  80. I used to have that problem. My arm pits used to be more like a waterfall. I started thinking about the dress shields, but then I found drysol and that thing changed my life.
    I was supposed to use it on a weekly basis, but -I don't know why- I only need to apply it twice a year.
    I live in México, but I'm sure it's available in the US too.

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  81. I have tried shields. This was several years ago, so I'm sure *cough* improvements have been made. But, they didn't work well for this chickie. They found their way out of the armpit area and into the belly button zone.

    ps: Found you looking for sewing blogs for my daughter. She loves to sew and fashion. I'm terrible. She's talented. Your blog is amazing.

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  82. My mum used dress shields, even into the 90's, for woollen dresses she didn't want to launder every time she wore them. She made them herself and they clipped in with mini press studs.

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  83. I would like to join you, we all have alo more than able to exchange. Here: http://poupardecorar.blogspot.com/2010/10/troco.html

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  84. I've used Kleinert's shields - one type is very strappy and clips together in front and one is a full camisole style - for over 50 years. Don't need them so much anymore but to protect a lined, sleeved dress or a coat lining - nothing beats shields.

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  85. Just seen a comment in a national paper about using pantie liners! Check it out here.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1324338/Hollywood-A-list-beauty-secrets-Wrinkles-Just-reach-Sellotape.html

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  86. I came across this picture today and thought it would be very appropriate for this post. Old advertisements are quite to the point sometimes.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/JRDX_tPofTVKNVNyK25n7g?feat=directlink

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  87. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vhfdf

    nothing about sweat, but something about unicorns

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  88. Looks like you've got quite a bunch of replies for this but here's mine :)

    I've know about dress shields quite a long time and I couldn't live without. Especially when wearing vintage clothing or party dress they are priceless. I mean, wool (or silk) dress can't be washed every day. And if you don't wash it after sweating whole day, sweat eventually starts weakening the fabric. I have even seen felted armpits in wool dresses after heavy sweating.
    I have made them myself and also used ready-made ones. I sew them with couple stiches to the seam allowance on four spots. You can get different colours and sizes aswell. Best material (if you make it yourself) is thin cotton in double. Old cotton sheets are very good material. They are soft enough but still very durable and fabric is usually thicker than modern sheet-fabric (atleast here in Finland).

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  89. OMG, I love this blog! Hooray for dress shields - these will now be making a return in most of my clothes!
    For anybody in the UK, I believe that the weekly application deodorant is available here called Dri-clor. I also agree with the previous poster about using a mens anti-perspirant - no idea why they are more effective but it's true.
    Apologies in advance for this one, but on a slightly different note, my man seems to "get through" wool suit trousers on a regular basis - generally splitting on the crotch area. Is this likely to be due to a weakening of the fabric due to sweat? If so, does anybody think a similar 'trouser shield' idea would work?

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  90. I work in theater and we use them in women's dresses and blouses. Some of the Kleinerts ones come with little gold safety pins sewn onto them. We've also used the Advantage Wear ones because we couldn't reorder the Kleinerts ones for a while. The Advantage wear version comes with safety pins.

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  91. When I was married the first time in 1994 I was so worried about my dress. I have always been a big sweater and hate it. I asked the seamstress who was fitting my gown if there was anything she could add for just that reason. She was very familiar with them. I was so happy that I didn't have that problem to worry about on such a big day!

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  92. I haven't used them yet personally, because they don't really work with knits/jerseys but they're pretty much required for theatre work. We attach them with snaps. Actors' union requires that any clothing touching certain parts of the body must be washed. And since most costumes can't really be washed (think silks, dyes, fancy embroideries, beading, sequins, etc.) and no one can afford dry cleaning more than a few times during a show's run, so pit pads are the answer! But some people definitely sweat more than others...even with being washed after every show, some actors have to be given new ones throughout the run.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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