Preserving and Storing your Bridal Gown – By Time in a Box Preservation Co.
Dresses by Eugenia Couture, LTD., Photography by Lori Patrick, Makeup by Jennifer Campain
The day finally came and went. The day that you were able to finally wear the fairytale gown that you spent months, maybe years searching for. And now you look at it, strewn across a chair, or crumpled into a travel bag. Cinderella’s ball is over. The once perfect specimen, with every inch created, adjusted, manipulated to be your servant of beauty. Now sprinkled with champagne, lipstick and maybe a thin border of earth gathered as you floated across a grassy field. Whether it’s because of the emotion it brought you on your wedding day or the possibility of passing it down to a loved one in the future, you want to bring this important garment back to life, preserve it for as long as possible.
The first step is to contact a cleaning specialist that deals with heirloom textiles. We can help brides locate our trusted partners, professional bridal cleaners to take the first step towards preserving your gown. Though many dry cleaners claim to clean wedding gowns, many are not specialists.
Heirloom textiles such as wedding gowns, christening gowns, uniforms, quilts, flags and linens are often treasured for their technical, cultural and sentimental value. Because of this, it is important to take special care to ensure their long-term preservation.
The most common storage box available on the market today for garments is an “acid-free” cardboard box. However, these boxes have different levels of archival abilities. The consumer really has no way of knowing how archival their box is. Even if a box is “acid-free” it can re-acidify over time. Cardboard also absorbs moisture, which will promote the growth of mold and mildew within the storage chamber. Garment conservators recommend replacing these boxes periodically to ensure the proper long- term archival preservation of valuable textiles such as wedding gowns.
Another storage method is a cotton bag designed to hang a garment in. While these are made from archival materials, conservators do not recommend hanging a garment for long term storage because it can cause stress to the fabric and create distortion. These are also very wide and take up considerable space in the closet.
Our products take garment preservation back to basics. Using environmentally friendly materials, we created an inert garment storage kit that allows those sentimental items to be passed from generation to generation safely.
The Time in a Box preservation kit is made from an inert polymer which is used widely by textile conservators at heritage institutions worldwide, most notably the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institute. Free from acids, lignin and dyes, our products are constructed without harmful adhesives and is able to repel the advances of mice and bugs. The most compelling element of this material is that unlike any cardboard, it provides a more stable environment inside the box which protects from moisture, humidity and harmful temperature fluctuations. Unlike acid-free cardboard, it cannot re-acidify over time. Our product is chemically inert, which means that it will not form chemical reactions. These reactions can cause irreversible damage to garments. This is the reason that common plastics are never recommended for the permanent storage of textiles, photographs, or any other keepsake.
A prewashed 100% organic cotton natural muslin liner is draped inside the box and layered with acid-free unbuffered tissue. It folds over the garment when packing is complete offering an extra measure of protection against acids, moisture and chemicals which may attempt to infiltrate from the outside environment. Acid-free unbuffered tissue is also included to fill, interleave, and wrap the garment for the purpose of filtering oxygen that naturally enters the box. The tissue absorbs the acids that have formed in the fibers of the garment over time.
Once your gown is clean, Time in a Box Preservation Co. will pack and enclose your garment in our inert, chemically stable, virgin polypropylene, textile enclosures. Also designed for preserving other heirloom textiles such as christening gowns, uniforms, quilts, flags and treasured lines.
Then, you can rest assured, your memories and items associated with them, are safe.