Wedding dresses are investment pieces that can be sentimental family heirlooms for generations to come. A wedding dress is one of the most important purchases that a woman can make, and is often one of the major expenses of a wedding. Once a wedding dress has been purchased, special care must be taken to keep the dress in pristine condition. While it is most important to keep the wedding dress in flawless condition before the wedding, most women would agree that they want to make sure that their wedding gown stays in the best shape possible for years to come. It isn’t necessarily difficult to keep a wedding dress in good condition, but you do need to keep a few specific things in mind when it comes to hanging, storing, and cleaning the dress.
Hanging Wedding dresses
The materials used in most wedding dresses aren’t renowned for their strength, and in order to avoid rips, split seams, and other damage it’s important that care is taken when hanging the dress.
Generally, wedding dresses cannot be put on a hanger like regular dresses, as the weight of the gown can cause the dress material to rip or tear near the hanger. Instead, small loops of fabric sewn into the interior of the dress should be used to hang the gown safely. These hanging loops are put in place by the dressmaker on the strongest seams in the gown, ensuring that they will be able to support the weight of the full gown without causing any damage.
Cleaning Wedding dresses
It seems obvious that wedding dresses should be dry cleaned, but care should be taken when choosing a dry cleaner, since some dry cleaning services ship their clothes to another facility and your dress can become damaged by rough handling and the stress of transit. Before picking a dry cleaner, make sure that they process all of their clothes on site and that they do their work by hand instead of using an automated system. If possible, try to find a dry cleaner that has specific experience in wedding dresses and be sure they are familiar with how delicate the material can be; this is especially important if your wedding dress has beadwork or other intricate decorations. Being picky about your dry cleaner will ensure that your gown isn’t damaged.
Wedding dress Repairs
Just as you should be picky about the cleaner that you take your wedding dress to, any repairs that need to be done should be from a seamstress who is familiar with the delicate construction of wedding dresses. Some bridal salons will offer repair services for the dresses they sell. But if not, be sure to shop around to find a seamstress or sewing shop that has significant experience in repairing wedding dresses. Choosing someone who knows just how delicate these dresses can be will ensure that the repairs are done with the utmost care and skill.
Preparing Wedding dresses for Storage
Before you store a wedding dress, make sure that it is in the best possible condition so that it will remain that way until you are ready to take it out of storage. Check the gown for any small holes, tears, or other signs of damage, and make sure that it’s free of stains or discoloration. Take the time to inspect the seams and any beadwork or decorations that are on the gown, as these are the most likely locations for unraveling and holes to appear. Take the dress in for cleaning or repairs if necessary, and allow it to hang for at least one to two days after a cleaning before placing it into storage. That way, you can ensure that there are no residual chemicals in the dress material.
Storing a Wedding dress
Never store a wedding dress in a plastic container or covered with a plastic bag. Over time, plastic can release chemicals that will cause a white wedding dress to become yellow, and may cause more delicate embellishments to become brittle. Carefully fold the wedding dress and place it into a museum-quality, acid-free storage box; these are sold specifically as wedding dress or wedding dress storage chests. The gown should be wrapped in fabric or acid-free tissue to protect it from the rough cardboard or paperboard of the storage container. Store the box in a cool, dry place where the heat and humidity aren’t likely to fluctuate (never in the attic or basement.)
Whether you’d like to hand the dress down to future generations, or simply preserve it as a special keepsake, you can keep your wedding dress looking brand new for years to come by following these simple steps and precautions.