How to Preserve Your Baby's Christening Gown - By: Jill Fox

Your baby's christening is a happy and unforgettable event, to be cherished for years to come. Friends and relatives will attend the ceremony to see your child presented in his beautiful christening gown. After your baby wears his christening gown and accessories, be sure to memorialize the event by preserving the gown to be passed down and shared with future generations.

You can follow the following tips for preserving and protecting your child's christening, baptism or blessing outfit:

Clean and dry the christening gown.

The christening gown should be stored clean. Babies are messy, and stains and body oils attract moths and can discolor fabric over time. Pay careful attention to the instructions on the clothing tag. Take dry-clean-only items to a reputable dry cleaner familiar with clothing preservation. Instruct the dry cleaner on any specific fabric or stain removal concerns.

If dry cleaning is not required, you may hand wash the garment with a gentle detergent. Enzymatic detergents are preferred, because enzymes break down and remove stains more effectively. Do not use bleach, whiteners, fabric softeners or starch. Rinse the garment repeatedly, with tepid, distilled water, to remove all soap residues from the fabric. Then, lay the garment out to dry in a way that minimizes creases in the fabric. Avoid using the dryer or iron, as heat takes time off the life of the fabric. If it is necessary to press the gown before storing, use a cool setting and cover any lace or embroidery with a cloth.

Hang and cover the christening gown.

For ideal preservation, your baby's gown should be hung in a wardrobe. Fabric will weaken and wear along creases and folds, and hanging prevents the gown from creasing. Use a plastic or wooden hanger, padded with cotton or muslin. Wire hangers should be avoided, because metal corrodes and can damage the fabric.

After hanging, the gown should be covered in a 100% cotton or muslin garment bag. Many christening gowns come with a bag made of plastic or vinyl, but such materials are not appropriate for long-term preservation. Plastics exude chemicals over time, and vinyl will not allow the fabric of the gown to breathe. Fabrics need to breathe to avoid fading or yellowing.

The preservation bag you select should be made of all-natural cotton or muslin, without any bleaches, dyes or chemical. The bag should be large enough to store the gown without having to fold it or bunch it up. Also, be careful to avoid bags with zippers, snaps or other metal parts.

If it is necessary to box the gown, you should carefully select an acid-free cardboard box and acid-free tissue paper. Wrap the gown in a 100% cotton sheet, padding the sleeves and creases with tissue paper to prevent thread breakage. Before placing the gown into the box, pad the bottom and corners of the box with additional tissue paper. You should not pack mothballs in the box. However, the gown may be stored with lavender or some other natural moth repellant.

Store the christening gown in a climate-controlled environment.

Your baby's gown should be stored in a dry place that maintains a consistent temperature. Avoid storing the gown in places where the temperature and humidity fluctuates. Basements are generally too damp, and attics get too hot in the summer. Preferably, the gown should be stored in the main living area of your home, where you have the ability to control the climate. Hang the gown in your bedroom closet or place the gown in an acid-free box under your bed. Make sure there is enough space so that other items are not pressed into or placed on top of the gown.

Double-check

Unwrap and check on your baby's gown every once in a while, to ensure it has been properly preserved and no stains are developing. When you handle the gown, wear cotton gloves to avoid transfer of skin oils and dirt to the fabric. If you notice any stains or if you desire to reuse the gown, you should repeat each of the above steps prior to returning the gown to its bag or box.

Tips on how to preserve a christening gown

Jill Fox is the owner of Maylee's Boutique. Maylee's offers affordable heirloom preservation bags, made of 100% muslin or cotton, with no chemicals, dyes or bleach and allow fabric to breathe, while protecting the heirloom from dust, dirt, light and chemical contamination. For more information, please visit http://www.mayleesboutique.com/

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