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Storing Antique Clothing

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Old clothing can be very fragile. It can be susceptible to insects if not stored properly. This is a guide about storing antique clothing.
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By 0 found this helpful
June 29, 2009

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 joan from NY

Answers

June 29, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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June 30, 20090 found this helpful

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.

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June 30, 20090 found this helpful

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?

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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.

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July 1, 20090 found this helpful

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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July 3, 2014

I have 2 large boxes of antique dresses. They aren't supposed to get really hot or the fabric weakens. Can I wrap insulation around the boxes and then store them out of the way on a high shelf that gets hot? Will the insulation keep them cooler than the hot air around them?

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By Rae Ann

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July 5, 20140 found this helpful

I would say no. Insulation just buys time before something gets as hot or cold as the air around it.

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July 5, 20140 found this helpful

No, the insulation will not keep them cool in a hot place. Could you store them in a basement? Of course, I am sure you don't want them to get damp, either. Perhaps you could store them in space bags - the ones you vacuum the air out of, and then they wouldn't get damp or musty if they were stored in a basement.

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