Wedding Gown Care: Does the Container Matter When You Preserve Your Gown?Mar 17, 2011 Wedding Planning Institute
Today‚Äôs post comes from Sally Lorensen Conant, who is also known as the Gown Care Lady. Be sure to visit her website, the Association of Gown Preservation Specialists, too. Having this kind of information available to potential bridal clients is a good idea for certified wedding and event planners. Plus, contacting this type of business expands your vendor contact base.
I get calls every two or three weeks from brides who are worried because their gowns seem to be yellowing. Almost always the problem is the container. When the container is not completely acid-free, the acidic content will yellow your gown. Of course, you should ask the service that cleans and preserves your gown whether they are using an acid-free container before you trust them with your gown. However, you can also see with your own eyes if it is not acid-free because if any parts of the box or the bust form put into your gown to give it shape are brown, it is not acid-free.
Unless your container is one of the grey-colored boxes especially made for fabric conservation by a company such as University Products or Archivart, all parts of the box or bust form should be white. If they are not, it is not an archival-quality box. Some services use containers that are white on the outside and on the inside of the box, but the interior structure between the layers of paper is brown. This interior structure gives the box its strength, and it is made up of little ridges which are called flutes. If the flutes are brown, the box is not completely acid-free. Eventually the acid will migrate through the white paper coating the inside of the box and discolor the gown.
Some services offer pH-neutral containers. Such containers are not good either because they can re-acidify. Trees contain lignin, an acid naturally found in trees. Then manufacturers add still more acid during the paper-making process. When making pH-neutral paper, they add a neutralizer, but the neutralizer is soluble in water. If the container gets wet or is stored in a damp area, the neutralizer dissolves, and the paper re-acidifies.
When manufacturers make acid-free paper, all acid is completely removed, and the paper cannot re-acidify.
Windows, too, can cause problems. If there is a window in the container and it is not made from a neutral plastic such as polypropylene, it will give off gases that also can yellow the gown.
Be sure the service you trust with your gown uses archival-quality materials that are acid-free. Then avoid storing the container where there are extremes of heat such as the attic or humidity such as the basement. Basements are also dangerous because it is a law: if a pipe breaks, the water will find your gown.
There is hope for gowns that yellow, but you will need to find a specialist who can remove it safely because ordinary dry cleaning very rarely removes the discoloration.Did you enjoy this article? If so, please subscribe to my blog!