June is the month for weddings, and many a wedding gown is about to be stored, possibly for generations. The International Fabricare Institute, the worldwide association for dry cleaners and launderers, offers some advice on how best to preserve the beauty of a bridal gown.
The gown should be cleaned within a few days or weeks after the wedding. Be sure to point out any spots to the dry cleaner, especially if they are not noticeable, so he can pre-spot the garment before cleaning. Long gowns pick up soil around the hem, perspiration spots are likely and champagne stains that may be invisible will darken with age, so check carefully.
Many cleaners offer a special box for storage, but if you prefer to prepare the gown for storage yourself, use white tissue paper to stuff the bodice and the sleeves to prevent sharp folds. (Some may want to buy acid-free tissue paper as an extra precaution, but that is not absolutely necessary.) Line the box well with tissue paper or clean muslin.
If you are storing the gown on a hanger, use a padded hanger and stitch a couple of fabric tapes at the waste slightly shorter than the bodice. Hook these over the hanger to reduce strain on the bodice and shoulders. Cover the gown in clean muslin rather than storing in a plastic bag, and give it plenty of hanging space to prevent crushing.
If the dress has sponge shoulder pads, buttons with metal shanks, or pins, it's a good idea to remove them before storing. Metal can rust over time and some paddings deteriorate and could stain the fabric.
Store in a cool, dry place. Attics are too hot, and basements tend to be too damp for storage.