Archive for May, 2009

Cleaning and Preserving Your Wedding Dresses

page_weddings_rightIt’s about that time of the year. Spring has sprung. Love is in the air. And, for many, so are wedding bells.

We can’t help you when it comes to planning your Big Day. But if it’s tips on preserving your wedding dress you’re looking for…well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether it’s a traditional gown that’s been passed down for generations or a new contemporary designer dress you’re looking to protect from the ravages of time, it should always be treated with the utmost care. Here’s how.

First off, be sure to save the bag your dress came in to protect it en route to the dry cleaner. As soon as you can after your wedding, bring the protected dress to the dry cleaner you’ve selected, or have a friend or family member drop it off while you enjoy your honeymoon (the better option, if you can trust them).

Remember that not all dry cleaners specialize in this intensive, hands-on kind of work – although at Sudsies, we do. You might want to ask married friends or your bridal shop or seamstress for recommendations. Just be wary of any so-called “bargains” – cleaning and preserving a pricey and elaborate wedding dress requires time, expertise and equipment.

Once at your dry cleaner, alert them to any stains – a drop of champagne, a smudge of lipstick or wedding cake – as well as any glued-on ornaments and any loose stitches. The more your cleaner knows about your dress, the more detailed and personal care they can provide.

Your cleaner should provide a special acid-free box to store your dress in, and pack it in acid-free tissue paper. This specialized packaging method helps control humidity, purging oxygen and replacing it with an inert gas that makes further oxidation virtually impossible. This treatment also helps protect your gown from mold, mildew and insect damage. Just be sure to take a few moments to inspect your dress prior to boxing it up. Sometimes, even the pros miss a detail here or there.

Once back home from your honeymoon, store the dress in a temperate, dry place. Always keep it away from direct sunlight. You can also hang the dress by the bodice by sewing straps that are a bit shorter than the bodice onto the waist, placing it on a padded hanger and wrapping it in a clean white cotton sheet.

Once a year – perhaps on your anniversary – carefully inspect the dress to check for any discolored areas or stains. This is also an opportunity to allow your dress – and you – to “breathe” a little bit.

Remember, if you take as much care in preserving your dress as you did in selecting and preparing it, it can be cherished and worn as a family treasure for generations to come.


Caring for your Designer Duds

dry cleanSo you wear a Giorgio Armani® power suit. Or a Christian Dior® silk gown. Or a Bottega Veneta® leather belt. Or maybe even all of the above (Hey, we don’t judge here at Sudsies). Your wardrobe is now like you. Special. Classy. Intricate. Stylish. Sophisticated. Complete.

But how do you give these luxury garments the care they deserve? How do you make sure they retain all the luster and allure that comes with the power of the label (and the sheen of freshly minted designer duds)?

Generally, the best rule of thumb when caring for your designer or custom-made clothing is to always follow the care instructions on the label. Keep in mind that different types of clothing material need different degrees of care. Some types of clothes simply won’t survive if you wash them with detergent. Others will magically shrink and shift shape if you tumble dry them. Pay close attention to the label. And follow it to the letter.

Remember that silk is protein fiber similar to human hair, and is very delicate. Silk clothing can often be effectively hand-washed as well as dry cleaned, and better quality silk often looks better and lasts longer when hand-cleaned in water.

If hand-washing silk:

  • use cool or lukewarm water with a small amount of mild detergent or soap
  • avoid soaking, as this may fade the dye
  • avoid machine washing (even on gentle cycle) and drying – a surefire way to damage the fabric when most of the water is out, finer silk should be hung up to dry, while coarser varieties like bourette should be dried on a flat surface (away from sunlight)

To avoid any confusion and hard labor, you could always take your luxury clothing item, even those that carry a hand-wash care instruction, to a dry cleaner. But not just any dry cleaner. For the best results, look for a dry cleaner who is professionally trained (there are only two accredited dry cleaning schools in America, but if a cleaner cares, he’ll go), and find one who specializes in hand-spotting, hand-pressing and hand-finishing treatments. Remember that a hands-on, attentive approach is key here. Your dry cleaner should personally and meticulously examine every inch of every piece according to material type, ornamentation, construction of garment and designed detail.

Whatever course of action you follow, be sure to take special care of your designer clothing. If you don’t maintain your designer or custom-made items properly, you’ll likely end up throwing them away, which equals hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars wasted. And there’s nothing stylish about that.