Queen Victoria bucked a lot of trends in Great Britain when she married for love, wore a simple yet elegant gown made of English lace and silk, then kept her gown for sentimental reasons and even wore lace from her gown for special occasions and her husbands funeral (to remind everybody of her love for him). Today, Queen Victoria’s gown is cared for by Britain’s Historic Royal Palaces and is set to go on display at the Kensington Palace in 2012 as part of the Victoria revealed exhibit.
There is a lot of attention on the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton right now. Most of the discussion seems to be centered around the wedding gown Middleton will wear. While the wedding itself will only last a day, Historic Royal Palaces will preserve Kate’s wedding dress so that it will last for the ages.
You can preserve your own wedding gown, just as Historic Royal Palaces does for the Royal Family, with the following tips from Miriam Langford, Treatment Conservation Manager at Historic Royal Palaces.
1. Make sure the dress is professionally and carefully cleaned before it goes into storage.
She indicates it’s important to use a pure cleaning solvent and to treat stains that are both visible and invisible. Cleaning your wedding gown right away is important and much better for the dress than waiting having the dress restored when someone wants to wear or display it again. Make sure the dry cleaner you choose is able handle the special details on your gown such as flowers or beads.
2. Use the best and cleanest acid-free materials when storing your gown.
Avoid items that are not acid free and that will not breath. Plastic or tyvek bags are not preferable because they wont breath and can be chemically unstable.
3. Most dress are better off in an acid free storage box with acid free tissue paper.
Use a box that is as big as you can practically use. Use tissue paper at any necessary folds and keep the number of folds to a minimum. Any hard creases will weaken the material over time and allow the material to split.
4. Don’t forget about the dress.
Make sure the dress is stored in a cool dry place. Inspect your gown every 6 months to ensure insects or damp conditions aren’t causing unneeded damage to your beloved wedding gown.
Historic Royal Palaces cares for over 12,000 peices dating back to the 17th century. By following the tips they provide, you can preserve your wedding gown just like a Princess would.