Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wedding Gown Care

Wedding gowns aren't cheap, so it's important to take good care of them! Learn how to care for your gown before, during, and after the big day.

Gowns galore

1. Know Your Fabric
What type of fabric is your wedding gown? The two most popular wedding gown fabrics are silk or polyester.

Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by silkworms. Contrary to the name, silkworms are not actually worms, rather, caterpillars. Basically, a silkworm lays lots of eggs that eventually hatch into larva. The larva reach their maximum size in about four to six weeks. The larva then attach to branches and spin a cocoon made of a single thread of high-protein fluid. The larva are killed before the cocoon matures. The silk pods are then dipped into hot water to loosen the thread, which is then spun onto wheels.

Silkworm and silk cocoons

Polyester is a synthetic, man-made fabric.This fabric is made from the same material used to produce plastic drinking bottles. Polyester is quick-drying, durable, and strong. Designers use polyester to make gorgeous wedding gowns because of the fabric's drape and durability.

To Silk or Not to Silk
Silk is more expensive, but has a luxurious hand that is unmatched by any other fiber. Silk is more prone to stains, as it is a hollow fiber that absorbs liquids like dye. If something spills on your silk gown, never use club soda or water to try to remove the stain!

Spills tend to roll right off polyester, and generally, a damp cloth is all that's needed to remove any stains.

2. Handle With Care
If you're traveling with your wedding gown, take care not to crush the dress. If you leave it in the garment bag, you will probably have to place it in the overhead compartment. If you place your gown in a suitcase, there is always the possibility that it could get lost.

Garment bags should only be used to hold the gown temporarily because the bag can crush and flatten the skirt. When you arrive at your destination, unzip the bag and allow the skirt to open fully. Be sure to cover the floor with a clean sheet to keep the bottom of the dress unsoiled. Or, if possible, hang the dress from up high and avoid letting it touch the floor completely. If you remove the garment bag entirely, be sure to protect it from light, dust, animals, and children by placing large white sheets over the gown.  

Never hang your wedding gown from a sprinkler in a hotel room! We've heard from many brides who did this and flooded their entire room (and ruined their dress!). Yikes! Avoid this catastrophe and just hang your gown from a door or a closet bar.

3. Clean and Preserve ASAP 
After the big day, send your gown to wedding gown specialists to be cleaned as soon as possible. Dry cleaners have a better chance of removing stains if they are caught early. If you allow the gown to sit for years, the stains will caramelize and the gown can yellow. 

4. In Case of Emergency
Pack a little wedding day emergency kit filled with safety pins, needle, thread, scissors, etc. If a minor emergency arises, you'll be prepared to fix it in a pinch. Safety pins are great for fixing a broken bustle.

 Margaret's Cleaners carries a Bridal Emergency Kit, which contains first-aid and sewing items, spot-cleaning aids, an assortment of personal care items, and a booklet filled with tips for brides. Additionally, the kit comes with two gift certificates for cleaning services. This kit is available at any Margaret's location.

5. Stain Solutions
There are three kinds of stains:
  • Wet Stains, such as coffee, tea, or wine: These stains dissolve in water.
  • Dry Stains, such as lipstick or grease: These stains require a dry solution to dissolve the oil.
  • Complex, or "Other": These stains, such as salad dressing or gravy, comprise wet and dry components. 
On silk gowns, you can try to temporarily mask a stain using baby powder or cornstarch, which absorbs grease and won't damage the fabric. Never use club soda or water to try to remove a stain on silk. The moisture will leave a ring on the fabric. 

On polyester gowns, you can use a damp, white cloth to gently dab at the stain. Do not rub, as this will only set the stain deeper into the fabric.


For more great tips, visit The Association of Wedding Gown Specialists website.

Win a FREE Legacy Gown Preservation. The next drawing is April 30, 2012. Click here to enter!

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