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Cleaning An Heirloom Gown

We recently had a christening for our daughter.  My MIL is letting me borrow the beautiful family christening gown.  Needless to say I am super nervous to have it in my hands and I want to clean and preserve it for future kids and cousins.  My mom is into heirloom sewing and smocking so I consulted her.  Below are two of her dresses she has made for the little one.

Easter Smocked Dress

So the heirloom outfit had a slip, gown, bonnet and a bib.  Each had a little yellowing and some stains.  The first suggestion was to soak the garments in distilled water.  I started with the slip because I figured if that didn’t work out at least it was under the gown.

Just soaking in distilled water didn’t really do much so I then added some Bizz.  It was about a tablespoon.  I dissolved the Bizz by swishing around the water with my hands.  Always wash your hands and de-bling before handling any heirloom piece.

I did all this washing in my daughter’s bath tub and let it soak over night checking on it here and there.

The next morning I took it out and laid it flat on white towels.  Not sure if the color of the towel is crucial but I didn’t want to take a chance that any color would bleed from the towels.

Then gently fold up the gown in the towels to absorb the moisture.  Let it sit until the gown is slightly damp.

At this point you can iron on a very low setting.  I wasn’t completely satisfied that all the stains were out around the neck so I decided to do some spot treatment.  I took a squirt bottle with a mixture of bizz (1 tablespoon) and distilled water (filled 2/3 full).  Dampen the spots and gently rub out with the fabric and your hands.

After I was satisfied with the removal of the yellowing on certain areas of the dress I then iron using a very LOW setting on my iron.  I also sprayed the dress with distilled water as I ironed to keep it damp.

Before                                                                                           After

This method got out most of the yellowing and I was pleased how the dressed looked during the ceremony.

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