Keep these tips in mind when you are shopping for your wedding gown.
Allow yourself plenty of time to shop for your dress. At least six month is recommended by most wedding consultants. This will give you plenty of time to select the right dress, fabric, trims, etc., and allow enough time for the ordering, sewing, and fitting of the garment.
It is important to obtain information, if possible in writing, concerning the proper care of the fabric, as well as all of the trims and embellishments attached to the dress. Since, more than likely, you will prefer to have the gown dry cleaned, it is important to make sure that everything can be safely dry cleaned, so that your dress can be properly preserved.
Be sure to look for the care label in all wedding gowns purchased in the United States. Apparel manufacturers are required by the U. S. Federal Trade Commission to attach a care label in all garments, which provides a viable care method for cleaning all component parts of the garment, including trims. Gowns that fail to withstand the care instructions on the label should be returned to the retailer for an adjustment.
If you choose to wear an heirloom gown, be sure to allow plenty of time for cleaning and altering. Since many fabrics naturally yellow as they age, be sure to check the gown carefully for discolored areas. Be sure to use a dry cleaner that specializes in the cleaning and restoration of heirloom fabrics.
PRESERVING YOUR WEDDING GOWN Tips for cleaning your gown before stroring
To preserve your wedding gown, it should be dry cleaned prior to storage. Permanent staining can occur even from invisible food and beverage spills, as well as body oils, left untreated. Identify any known stain areas to your dry cleaner before cleaning.
Since may trims and embellishments may not withstand the chemicals or the dry cleaning process, it is important to get the dry cleaners professional opinion on treatment of decorative sequins, beads, laces, and glitter attached to the dress. Many of these trims are made from plastics or finished with coating materials that are not resistant to dry cleaning solvents. Still other trims may be attached with glues that may become separated from the garment in the dry cleaning process. Embellishments may also oxidize and lose their color, and no longer match the color of the gown. These changes of color are due to the non-colorfast dyes used in the trims, and are not the fault of the dry cleaner. So. Be aware of the issues.
Look for a cleaner who can dry clean or wet clean your wedding gown, as required by the label. Many cleaners specialize in wedding gowns. Ask friends and relatives for a referral.
STORING YOUR WEDDING GOWN Yellowing and fabric deterioration are common problems that can occur as white garments age. Although there is no way to completely guarantee the prevention of this damage, there are things that can be done to keep the deterioration to a minimum.
A wedding gown can be properly stored either in a box or on a hanger.
If you are boxing your gown for storage, have your dry cleaner pack the gown in a special storage box that will help prevent contamination. Insist on being present when your gown is packaged so that you can personally observe your cleaned gown being folded and packed into the box. (There have been reported cases of the fraudulent packaging of wedding gowns.)
If you are hanging a long gown for storage, attach straps to the waistline of the dress to reduce the stress of the long heavy skirt on the shoulders of the gown, and reduce the possibility of distorting the neckline of the dress. Then protect the gown by wrapping it in a white sheet or muslin fabric.
Use Only Acid-Free and Archival-Safe Packing Materials - Acid-free boxes and tissue paper can be purchased from office supply stores, Internet resources, and dry cleaners that specialize in the cleaning and preserving heirloom fabrics.
Wrap Fabrics in Acid-Free Tissue Before Folding - The tissue paper cushions the fabric and helps guard against sharp creases, which can break and damage individual fibers of the fabric. Bodices or other curved areas of a garment should be stuffed with acid-free tissue paper to prevent creasing.
Do Not Use Metal Clips or Pins - Safety pins and paper clips can rust over time. Rust stains on fabrics can be impossible to remove.
Never Store in Plastic Bags - Plastic bags are petroleum-based products. Plastic can break down over time giving off chemicals and fumes that can discolor and destroy fabrics.
Do Not Use Plastic Storage Boxes - Plastic storage boxes are popular today. While these may be great for storing seasonal clothes, they are not appropriate for long-term storage of heirloom textiles.
The boxed or hung wedding gown should be stored in a cool, dry place. Do not store in a damp basement or a hot, humid attic. Mildew and fabric yellowing can result from storing a wedding gown in improper temperatures and atmospheric conditions.
To prevent damage to the fabric, any fabric-covered buttons, pins, perspiration shields, and foam padding should be removed from the gown and stored separately.
Store all headpieces, veils, shoes, and accessories separately from the wedding gown.
Check your gown occasionally for damage while in storage. Stains that weren't apparent in the be beginning, can appear at a later dated and should be treated immediately.
Labeling - Special care should be taken when labeling precious fabrics. Use either an acid-free paper card or a cut piece of cotton fabric. Write the information on the card or fabric using an indelible marking pen. Do not use a felt-tip or ball-point pen, since the inks from these pens can run, discolor, or fade onto the fabric. Attach these identification labels to the appropriate items in an inconspicuous place, using a needle and a strong cotton thread.
Protect From Sunlight and Artificial Light - Sunlight and artificial light sources can cause degradation and fading of heirloom textiles. If items are displayed on the wall or framed behind glass, keep them away from sunlight and areas with direct artificial light.
The Preservation Station sells products for preserving your apparel, fabrics, wedding gowns, antique linens, and collectibles. Visit their web site.
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