Our family christening gown is over 100 years old. I am noticing that the fabric, cotton, is getting "fatigued". Does anyone know of a way to strengthen the fiber? I am hesitant to use a starch of any sort, because when stored, the starch may attract vermin or mealy-type bugs. Thanks.
By hettyw from NY
Honestly, if I had something that old and precious, the only advice I would take was from an expert. You could go to a dry-cleaner to talk to them about storing the item properly. Only go to someone you trust. But as for restoring it, I would talk to someone at a museum. There should be someone at your local museum at is skilled at restorations. They will also tell you how to store the garment in a way that is out of light, pests etc, that will degrade the fabric.
Get it out of what it has been stored in and get it into acid=free tissue or an acid-free box until you can follow the advice given previously.
I agree with going to a museum to seek advice on preserving and storing the gown. But it seems a shame to hide such a treasure away in a box. Ask about how it could be displayed too. Wouldn't that make a wonderfull shadow box item (large) in a new nursery? And you could have a seamstress who specializes in heirloom sewing, duplicate the antique to be worn. Don't forget to have the dress' history written up to be kept with it.
Take it ever so gently carefully and protected to a fabric store and ask a seamtress or textile person (someone who knows fabric).
I'm thinking interfacing (hope you don't plan on anyone wearing it again) and space bag. Thrifty and fun (maybe) be very very careful and consider any and all advice very carefully. This is your property and worth much to your family, whatever you do is going to be "on" you good and bad.
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