So I’ve mentioned before that I had a lovely wedding, but I didn’t say anything about my wedding dress. That’s pretty unusual – don’t you think? After all, that’s the first thing a woman looks for when planning the big day. I didn’t mention it because I treated it so poorly after the wedding. I am ashamed to say, but I let it hang in my closet in a plastic bag without cleaning it for 11 years. Packing to move forced me to treat it properly.
Learn from my mistakes – here are a few tips to ensure your gown is cared for properly:
- Hang it by the loops inside the gown – not by the fragile shoulder seams.
- Don’t store it in a plastic bag because plastic emits fumes that can yellow the gown. Plastic also traps in moisture, which could cause your gown to mildew.
- When having it cleaned and preserved, use a local specialist who will personally do the work for you – not one that will send it off.
- Inspect your gown before having the specialist place it in the storage container.
- Store your gown in a completely acid-free, museum-quality, archival wedding chest lined with fabric or acid-free tissue.
- Don’t store it in a place that experiences extreme temperature changes.
For special garments that you’d like to keep in the family, an certified gown specialist is always best. However, if you must pack the dress yourself, follow these guidelines:
- If possible, use an acid-free storage bag – most professional providers of gown preservation services will provide this bag after any cleaning, which is another great reason to have your gown cleaned and pressed before storing it!
- If you don’t have a gown storage bag handy, use 2 large sheets – one to cover the front of the dress, another for the back – and pin them together. Fitted sheets work best for this.
- The box you choose should be about one-third the length of the front of your gown. Line this box with tissue and lay the gown over it, centered and face down. Make sure that the front of the gown is flat to avoid any creases or folds.
- Fold the skirt lengthwise over bunched tissue, beginning at the side seams, until the skirt is no wider than the box.
- Adding more bunched tissue as needed, fold the bottom of the skirt into the box.
- Now fold the top of the gown over into the box – the top should now be facing up.
- Stuff the bodice with additional tissue for cushioning, as well as any sleeves or bows that should be protected. Remember, the goal here is that the dress should not move at all, even when the box is shaken.