Professional Christening Gown Preservation
Smocked Treasures strongly advises you to research thoroughly when determining who you trust with the preservation of your christening gown. Here is a list of important questions to ask any preservation specialist:
- Am I required to sign a "Waiver", "Release" or "Disclaimer"? Do not sign any document that releases anyone from responsibility for the gown while in their care!
- Can I get a complete estimate. Do not accept a "ballpark" or a "range" for pricing.
- Do you offer "secret" techniques? (Such as exclusive anti-sugar "treatments" or special "preservation" chemicals ~ as no such treatments exist, you should be very cautious).
- Are all the materials used for packaging your gown guaranteed to be completely acid free? Do you specifically guarantee this in writing?
- Can I examine the gown at any time after the preservation is completed? Do no accept "Shrink wrapped or taped and sealed boxes".
- Do they offer a true warranty, which covers complete replacement of the christening ensemble? A guarantee to simply reclean, whiten or repackage the gown is not a true guarantee. You should not accept anything less than 100% since their cleaning and packaging may result in your family heirloom being ruined forever.
- Finally, do the answers you get to these questions fully satisfy you? If not, find someone who can provide you with all the answers!
Do-It-Yourself Christening Gown Preservation
The following procedures are based on generally accepted methods of preservation and are similar to museums#&039; and good preservation companies techniques. Please note that the effectiveness of your preservation will depend on the care you take when cleaning and packaging your heirloom. Should you be unsure of any part of the procedure, Smocked Treasures recommends that you consult a textile conservation professional. Packing your own gown will take time and materials can be costly, but you can do it.
Materials You Will Need
Acid Free Boxes (with tissue included) are available from Smocked Treasures or perhaps at your local dry cleaners. Be sure to use only unbuffered acid free tissue, not colored tissue of any sort.
Steps to Preserve Your Treasures
- Clean your gown. Most cotton and polyester gowns can be cleaned at home, but silks are best left to a professional dry cleaner. Check your care label included with your gown. Spot remove any obvious stains with a stain remover of your choice (depending on the stain involved). Fill a tub with warm water and use a mild detergent (Ivory Snow is a good choice). Allow the garment to soak. Carefully rinse until the water runs clear. Lay the garment on clean, dry towels and gently roll up to soak up the excess water. Lay flat to dry, on a clean white sheet. Press or lightly steam your gown. (Be sure iron and ironing board are completely clean). Do not add starch or finishing chemicals.
- Place the gown face down on a table and smooth it out so the seams are straight. The gown will need to be folded to fit into the acid free box using a yardstick or ruler. Fill each fold with tissue (rolled to about 1" thick). Line the box with tissue before placing the gown into it. Layer the gown and accessories with additional tissue paper.
- Store your gown in a dark, dry place - away from extremes of temperature and humidity (avoid cold walls, basements and attics). Under your bed, or in a closet on an inside wall is usually best.