Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Preserving your Gown!

Your dress was the one item you had to get right, so why let it yellow and stay stained? One day your daughter or granddaughter may want to wear it!

What It Is
Preservation provides a means of maintaining the quality and appearance of a gown through customized cleaning and appropriate storage. Methods range from savvy self-storage (in a temperate, dry, dark location) to museum-quality preservation.

How It Works
Professional preservationists analyze the fabrics, dyes, weaves, and ornaments of your gown, as well as stains in order to formulate a customized cleaning plan. After cleaning, the gown is carefully wrapped in stable archival materials, packaged in an archival Coroplast box, and should be protected from extreme temperatures, moisture, and direct sunlight.

Why Do It
Preservation is a fab idea for any bride who spent big for her couture-quality gown, and it's recommended if the gown won't be used for more than three years. If a dress isn't going to be worn again, it may seem silly to save it, but you may have regrets if you don't. Plus, keeping your gown in top condition also ensures that a future bride -- a sister, daughter, or niece -- can wear it at her wedding.

The price of cleaning and preservation will vary with the complexity of a gown's beadwork, train length, and stain damage. A local high-end dry cleaner will charge as much as $100 for standard dry cleaning. Specialized gown preservationists will normally charge between $250 and $500.

Shelf Life
Beware of vendors that tell you their warranty is void if you open the box in which your gown is stored. You can freely remove the gown from the archival box without fear of damaging it in any way -- just wear gloves so the oil from your hands doesn't get on the fabric and repack it carefully when you're done. Many preservationists claim the gowns will keep for 50-70 years.

Shop around regarding their pricing, procedure, and warranties. Your gown should be preserved as soon as possible after the wedding; however, it's generally safe to wait as long as six months after the ceremony. Until then, store it in a dark and dry place, rolled or folded in a clean white sheet.

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