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Learn more about Vintage Heirlooms Care and Restoration
Learn more about Vintage Lace Restoration
What is Wet Cleaning
Care of Leather Goods
 

Your Wedding Gown is a Special Heirloom

Protect Memories and Investment

PART I

A bride should give as much consideration to cleaning, storing, and preserving her wedding gown, as she did to the selection of the gown itself. It was chosen with infinite care, fulfillment of a dream, and part of the new life to come. For many generations, sentiment surrounding the wedding gown has grown, and it has potential for multiple wearers. Therefore post-wedding gown care given your wedding dress is very important.

Alcohol and sugar-based stains are the most insidious as they often dry without leaving a visible mark. If not pretreated, they will not dissolve during the ordinary dry cleaning process and will eventually caramelize into dark brown stains. A dry cleaner cannot pre-treat what cannot be seen. So, if a cleaner aims to leave the dress in an absolutely pure state, all stain will be removed, even those which cannot be seen. Some dry cleaning solutions will not remove sugar-based stains, and another cleaning process must be undertaken, which is wet cleaning.

Many times a bride will attempt to remove a stain with soap and water or hair spray. This is very risky and may possibly make the stain worse, or even permanently damage the gown. It is best to find a professional and have the work done correctly. When a gown is examined by a professional, ask questions about latent stains, and how they will be handled. Ask about the type of solvent used, the type of packaging, and the type of guarantee provided. Most important is the opportunity to examine the gown, personally, prior to boxing.

Be very wary of a cleaner stating that the wedding gown preservation box will be sealed and cannot be opened for inspection, and to ascertain that all parts of the ensemble are in the box. Ironically, a bride will not know the condition of her dress unless she has examined it prior to being boxed…and thus any implied warranty will be nullified.

A bride might choose to preserve her wedding gown as it is very special. Attention should be given at the earliest possible time to examine it for soil. It is important to remove stains as soon after the wedding as can be arranged.

One of the greatest mistakes a bride can make is procrastination. A wedding ensemble should be taken to a professional within thirty days of the event, to facilitate stain removal. Putting it off can hamper the cleaning process and lead to more expensive restoration services.

PART II

Professional cleaners have varying prices, according to the procedures used in cleaning. Some cleaners do not do the work on location, and send gowns to an alternate factory for processing, and will not provide a guarantee. Be sure this factor is determined before leaving the gown and accessories. Heirloom procedures and cleaning can cost $250.00 or more depending upon the type of fabric and trimming on the gown. Price should not be a determining factor, and the bride should be comfortable with the qualifications of the professional cleaner and reputation. One can ask for references.

PART III

Important Wedding Gown Care Tips

Do not store any gown in an attic or basement, as light, humidity and high temperatures can damage fabric and cause fading.

Get the dress to a professional cleaner as soon as possible after the wedding, and include all accessories which are to be contained in the preservation box.

Inquire about guarantee of services and how the gown will be cleaned if it has beading, sequins, lace, or special trimming. It should be cleaned separately and not included in general cleaning batches.

Be sure to mention that the wedding ensemble is to be thoroughly examined by the bride or her representative before being boxed.

Do not rub any stains. If there is a stain, it can be dabbed with plain water, then absorb all moisture. Tell the cleaner what has happened and type of stain.

Do not hang the gown for any length of time, as fabric will stretch and trimmings may loosen and fall off. If gown has loops (hangers) inside the shoulder and bodice, these can support some weight. If not, pin a couple of ribbons inside to support the gown.

Avoid storage of a gown with mothballs as fumes can damage some fabrics. In certain situations, the mothball aroma cannot be removed if embedded in fibers.

For specific questions regarding procedures, fabrics, trimmings, and heirlooming services be contact Evelyn S. Kennedy by phone 860-464-2001 or by email sewtique@aol.com

 
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