Monday, July 21, 2008

Mom's Dress

My mother recently asked me to wear her dress at my wedding. I was very touched by this and excited to see the dress, which had been stored away for several decades. Much to our horror, the pretty white dress was discolored like smoker's teeth!

I did a little research on the internet, and there is not much hope for the bodice. I filled my tub and dissolved some baking soda and borax and Woolite. I soaked the gown and a terrible smell of mildew came from the garment. The websites said that silk resists mold, so I'm thinking that this is the smell of petroleum by-products, the yellowing agents from the plastic that stored the dress for nearly 50 years!

After 3 tub-fulls, the water is running clear. I rinsed the dress both in pools in the tub and by hand in the shower. The dress now smells good, but is a yellowy white (on top), and close to the original white on the bottom.

Since the bodice is such a total loss, I'm experimenting on it with different solvents. I soaked a sleeve in a mild solution of "Clorox for delicates" detergent and water for 10 minutes and rinsed thoroughly. I need to wait for it to dry before judging the effectiveness of this treatment.

The lace has become white as snow! I'm so happy about that. I'm thinking of taking those bits and covering the bible I'm carrying. I will be saving the bible cover and our crowns in a shadow box, so that would be a nice keepsake.

There is a poll on the blog which asks your opinion on what I should do with the dress if it is not salvageable. Please post any other comments below.

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