Your Wedding Gown Care and Preservation options.

by Nily Glaser
of Candles By Nily and A-wedding Day

Part I - Your Wedding Gown Care and Preservation options.
Part II - How to choose and what to expect of the preservation professional.
Part III - How to care for your gown after it has been preserved.

 

You have thought about it since you were a little girl.
You may even have dressed as a bride when playing dress-up.
You pictured yourself and dreamed about being swept by your prince charming.
As soon as you actually became ready to wear a wedding gown, you did research or fell in love with that, just right gown when you saw it in a picture.
Now it is yours! and you want it to be an heirloom gown to pass on to the coming generations.
So, how do you care for it before and after the wedding?

The following questions and answers should help.

How do I care for my wedding gown
3. before the wedding?

Make sure that your gown is kept in a cool dry closet, away from impurities and smoke. If your gown is covered with plastic, remove it immediately and cover your it with a clean white sheet or better yet, with a gown carrying and preservation bag. While waiting for your wedding, the gown needs to breathe which it can not do while covered with plastic. If you need to transport your gown to the wedding site, the carrying bag offers a safer and much easier way to accomplish it than a sheet.

Why should I not only clean, but preserve my gown?

The gown you wear at your wedding may have been that worn by your, or your husband's mother, grandmother or another relative. Or, you purchased your own gown after a lot of thought, considerations and expense. Either way, you surely would like to preserve it as a family heirloom to hand down to your own daughter or future daughter in-law.
You must take great care about choosing the right stain removal professional. If not cared for, your wedding gown may discolor and the fabric weaken as years go by. Invisible stains such as white wine, perspiration, sugar, salt, acid etc… must be removed permanently so they do not settled in the material.
You must also take great care to store your gown properly. There are a few storage methods and I'll discuss them later.

When should I preserve my gown?

Treat your gown with the true preservation process as soon as possible after the wedding, before visible and invisible stains can set.

What is the difference between cleaning and preservation?

Cleaning any garment including a wedding gown, means that through a cleaning process the garment appears absolutely clean as all visible stains have been removed. yet, the garment may have invisible stains caused by sweat, white wine, sugar, salt, acidity etc… When you pick up your gown it looks clean and fresh. Will it look just as good five or ten years later? Or, will you discover instead that it has started to discolor, and looks even worse with the passing of time? Preserving any garment, including a wedding gown, is cleaning it to such a degree that even the smallest invisible stain has been totally and permanently removed. If done correctly, five and even ten or more years down the line, your gown will look just as lovely as it did when you first wore it. Preservation will safeguard your gown for years to come, so that your gown will not discolor and you'll not find yellow and gray stains, nor will you find the material weakening.

How long should I wait before I have my gown cleaned?

Stains cause damage to any fabric over time. It is advisable to have your dress cleaned and preserved as soon after the wedding as is practical. Until you take your gown to be cleaned and preserved, keep it in a dark, dry, cool place, stored in a carrying and preservation bag or clean white sheet. Do not store your gown in plastic - such as a garment bag. Plastic will emit gases that will yellow the fabric. Your best bet is to hang it in the Wedding Gown Carrying and Preservation Bag - available exclusively at A-wedding Day, in a closet in your room. This bag is designed of special blue fabric that preserves the white or color of your gown and lets it breathe, and it does not take much room. For more information Click Here.

What are my option regarding preserving
my wedding gown?

Actually you have two options. You may choose a local service or you may opt for a wedding gown preservation company that may not be anywhere in your geographical location.

Caring for your gown

Environmental variants can cause permanent damage to fabric and non-woven dress components such as beads, lace, metal closures, embellishments and trimmings. So, whether your gown lies in a preservation box or hangs in a preservation bag, do not store it in the attic or basement. Protect your gown! Store it in the living area of your home that is controlled for safe and comfortable temperatures and humidity and is not exposed to excessive light, dust and other hazards. If your gown was packed in a "sealed box, be careful when you first "break the seal" to view your gown. Actually, the "seal" on the box your gown was delivered in, has no function in the preservation of the gown, and "breaking" it does not adversely affect your gown and should have no bearing on your warranty. Open the box slowly. If you open a sealed box all at once, the rush of air into the box will rapidly deoxygenate the chamber and may cause the fabric to deteriorate. Inspect your gown regularly about every 18 months to 2 years to assure it indeed is preserved. in fact, it is a good idea to "air" it and let the fabric breath for about 30 minutes. Before you handle your gown wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water to remove any oils, salts and sweat that can damage delicate fabrics. Museum professionals often wear plain white cotton gloves so as not to damage the fabric.

About wedding gown preservation boxes
breathing lessons

Professional textile curators always recommend that a fabric be allowed to "breathe". In fact, neither the First Ladies' Gowns nor presidential upholstered furniture nor even "Old Glory" (the "Star Spangled Banner" flag from 1814) are in air-tight or sealed rooms. Yet, they are beautifully preserved. Most preservation companies will store your wedding gown in a card board box. Some companies place your gown in plastic or shrink wrap. This should be unacceptable to you because plastic does not breath. On the contrary! as time passes it can accumulate gasses that will harm the fabric even deteriorate it. On the other hand, responsible preservationists such as Wedding Gown Preservation Co. use treated acid-free or PH balanced breathable cardboard and tissue paper for your gown. If not in a breathable environment, even acid-free or PH balanced cardboard boxes can re-acidify over time, often in three to five years. This is why costume conservators and museum curators recommend checking and if necessary replacing these boxes periodically to ensure the proper long-term archival preservation of valuable textiles such as wedding gowns. Additionally you must handle your cardboard storage boxes with care.

How and where do I store my wedding gown that is in a preservation box?

Successful long-term preservation of your wedding gown depends on you. Where and how you keep the gown will have an effect on its condition. Store the box flat, with top side facing up. When you move the box, carry it as level as possible, so your gown does not shift. Protect your gown from extreme temperature and humidity, which may cause the material to deteriorate. All fibers even the cleanest, degrade under high temperatures, and many may discolor permanently. According to experts, curators and The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., a sealed cardboard container that is not a breather, absorbs and can trap moisture that may promote the growth of mold or mildew within the storage chamber. This will stain and weaken the fibers of your gown as it affects even clean fabrics. Check the box for mold and mildew every few years, especially if you live by the beach or otherwise a high humidity area,as they may harm your gown. Therefore, it is not wise to store your gown in an attic or a cellar. Choose a cool dry place, without much traffic, and away from direct sunlight, to store your gown. Inspect the box about once every 18 months and be sure to wash your hands and dry them well, or better yet wear cotton gloves such as those provided by the Wedding Gown Preservation Co. when you handle the gown.

A-wedding Day offers you the alternative of using the Gown Carrying and Preservation Bag. Actually, being allowed air inside, will not damage your gown. Whether in a bag or in a preservation box, you should take your gown out every few years and hang it by itself so it can breath. then repack it again for storage.

How and where do I store my wedding gown that is in a gown Carrying and Preservation Bag?

Hang your gown on soft hangers, never on metal hangers, in the special Preservation Bag in a closet within your living quarters. Inspecting your gown, showing it off and airing it is as easy as unzipping the bag. Yet you should still be sure to wash your hands and dry them well, or wear cotton gloves before handling the gown. Do not keep gowns in plastic bags - plastic emits fumes that yellow the gown - and never store gowns in the attic or basement where there are extreme changes in temperature and/or humidity.


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