Post # 1
Longtime lurker (half a year) and first time poster here. Our wedding was back in May. I wore a Jasmine Couture ball gown of uncertain model number or age (got it for $50 total from eBay!). We had an outdoor ceremony/reception in a state park so the dress got incredibly dirty. My mom took it with her to my parents’ and ran it through the wash, which worked like a charm (all the details/beading were sewn on and it was a poly satin gown). So now we’re emerging from the post-wedding bliss to find ourselves trying to clean up the mess in our apartment!
Which brings me to the main point. I was at Michaels and ran across a size shadow box for an amazing price I couldn’t pass up. It is pretty much identical to this style only larger (24 x 36 inches):
My question is, should I put the dress in the shadow box (assuming it’ll even fit!), or should I keep it hanging in its garment bag indefinitely? It’d be nice to see all the beautiful detail on the gown from time to time, even if it’s stored in a closet away from light. But I almost feel like even if I put cedar blocks in the shadow box, it’d somehow get more damaged in the box than just hanging in the bag. The garment bag is one of those that allows air to circulate so the dress won’t get musty etc. Can’t really afford gown preservation either. But even with that, I’m hearing that you should still take the dress out of the box to refold it so it doesn’t develop permanent creases etc. So confused! Any tips greatly appreciated!
Post # 3
The dress could discolor if it isn’t preserved and wrapped in acid free tissue and a box.
Post # 4
From what I recall from the preservation part of my collections management classes and from the registrar list-serve:
– the best thing for dresses is to lay them flat to preserve/not stress the stitching
– you can hang them but if it’s heavy it’s best not to, or if it has a lot of delicate beadwork (if it made it through a washer then you might be fine!) I would use a padded hanger and maybe stitch in additional ribbon-hangers to distribute the weight of the dress if you cannot use the shoulders for support and even then.
– if you do choose to fold it, cushion the rolled folds with pads of acid-free paper to prevent creases from forming (can’t recall if it matters if it’s buffered)
– do change the position of the dress (refold it like jeannine said)
– cedar blocks will discolor the dress if in direct contact. Wrapping them in undyed cotton may help this problem
My mom had her poly-somethingoranother dress in the mid 80s “preserved” in a box (from what I can tell they stuff blue tissue paper around the dress and duct taped the box closed) and we pulled it out and it didn’t discolor that much. A little yellowing but that’s to be expected from almost any fiber.
That being said, I’m probably going to keep mine hanging on padded hangers after the wedding until I decide what to do with them permanently.
Post # 4
@Jeannine @ Small Chic: Thanks for the response! So you’re saying it’ll discolor in the garment bag regardless? Is there something special about the boxes used to preserve dresses? I was wondering if putting the dress in the shadow boxed wrapped in acid free tissue and also with a little cedar to deter bugs/must/mildew would be better or worse than the garment bag.
Post # 5
@pfinarffle: Yep, they’re acid free and they get sealed. Also keep in mind that light hitting the dress through the window will discolor just the portion of the dress that is exposed.
My mother just hung her wedding gown in a garmet bag and within 10 years, the train was yellowed.