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Preserve Bridal Gowns After The Wedding Day
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Bridal gowns are major investments, both financially and emotionally, so take extra precautions and perform follow-up care to ensure the dress will last for generations.
Everlyn Johnson, apparel and textile program leader with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said brides can begin to consider the longevity of the gown when the shopping begins or before the gown is made.
"When purchasing the gown, inspect the beading and make sure it is well attached," Johnson said. "Ask the salesperson if there have been any problems with the dress or with the company that made the dress. If someone is making the dress, make sure extra care is given to secure trims and appliques."
Johnson said after the wedding, people often neglect providing the care needed because of the short time the dress was worn or because there are no visible stains. Mend any loose beading or tears before laundering. Dresses should be cleaned immediately and never left in plastic for more than a week.
"Always clean a garment before storage. Hair spray, perfume, food crumbs, drinks, perspiration and body oils may not be visible, but are probably on the dress," Johnson said. "All these soils will attract insects which could eat the fibers, especially natural fibers."
The specialist said it is essential to follow the care instructions on the dress. Take the dress to a reputable cleaner and make sure an acid-free box and tissue will be used. Usually the sleeves and bodice will be stuffed and the dress folded.
Hair spray, flowers and perspiration can damage the veil as well, so brides should take it with the dress for cleaning and storage.
"An ounce of prevention can help preserve the dress," Johnson said. "Insert dress shields to reduce underarm stains, and if the dress has a long train, carry a wooden hoop or use a loop on the under side of the dress to lift the train before and after the ceremony."
Inspect the dress after proper cleaning to make sure sequins didn't melt, beading didn't fall off or other damage didn't occur. If there is a problem resulting from the cleaning process, Johnson said the cleaner is probably not responsible -- provided they followed recommended procedures.
"Return the dress to the store for compensation," Johnson said. "If the care label was followed, the problem is with the manufacturer of the gown."
Once home with the garment, store it in a well-ventilated, dry place. Never store clothing in the attic, garage or basement.