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The dictionary defines a museum as an institution or place that cares for a collection of artifacts that hold scientific, artistic, cultural, or historical value. In short, a museum holds treasures from the world over. These treasures are symbols of our past, and thus, should be cherished by civilization for future generations to see.
I actually have a cousin whose job is to preserve artworks. She is hired by museums to make sure that paintings stay the way they are through maintenance and restoration. I was surprised to learn the lengths museums take to make sure a piece of art doesn't fade away. It cannot be exposed to dust, moisture, or even light. Indeed, art takes time, effort, and a whole lot of patience.
The reason I've brought this up is because I couldn't help but relate what my friend has done recently. She passed on her daughterÂ’s Baptismal Dress to her brotherÂ’s newborn child. They have decided that it is going to be a new family tradition from now on. After all, it amazed them (myself included) at how a piece of cloth can hold so many memories. Just so you know, their grandmother, a former seamstress, made the Christening Dress they are going to pass on. It was one of her last works and so it holds so much emotional value to their family.
A home might not be a museum, but it does hold family treasures that future generation have a right to see and cherish. And this is why they begun this tradition. With the commitment theyÂ’re showing so far, I am sure they will see this project through to completion. Isn't that amazing?
Christening gowns should be cleaned thoroughly after the baptism. If you've bought the dress from a store, check the cleaning instructions and follow them carefully. In my friendÂ’s case, since their dress is handmade, they should follow general guidelines according the material the dress is made off. Cotton and linen can be hand washed or dry cleaned. Meanwhile, wool needs to be hand washed and then air-dried without direct sunlight. Silk is trickier, as it should not be washed. Make sure not to expose silk to heat.
After the dress is clean and dry, check the garment for any musty smell. If it smells, air dry a little more. Also make sure that there is no dust. You can vacuum the dress at low speed. Or gently dab intricate parts with a piece of tape to remove dust particles.
When it comes to preserving dresses, here are your enemies: light (because it fades colors over time), dirt, dampness, insects, and excessive heat.
Now it's time to store the Christening dress. Lay out the dress and stuff the sleeves and creases with tissue paper.
Find a plastic container and make sure it's squeaky clean. You can line the box with clean cloth (but make sure it's clean or it defeats the purpose). And then store the dress horizontally.
Close the box but do not vacuum seal as cloth needs a bit of air. Check on the dress once or twice year, and repeat the whole process. It's also a good opportunity to check for insects or moths.
It doesn't sound so hard, right? The whole process will only take a day or two, and the benefits will last a lifetime! I find no reason not to start your own heirloom project.
Going back to my friendÂ—she already passed on the dress to her brother. This was a bit of a problem because she had stored it in her closet and I had to have it cleaned before passing it over. Instead of dry cleaning, I advised her to hand wash the dress in some gentle fabric cleaner. It's made with a lot of lace and bead work, and I didn't want to leave its fate in the hands of a dry cleaner. She got some water, dipped the garment, and gently scrubbed.
After washing, she air-dried the dress and then bought the plastic box that we will be storing the gown in after the ceremony.
Since her brother is throwing a big family gathering after the ceremony, my friend and I agreed that it would be in the best intention to get ready with stain removal. Just in case, you know. Now, the first rule in stain removal is be gentle. Never ever start scrubbing the dress with a wet cloth on the spot. This will just cause the stain to go deeper in the fabric.
Here are my top cleaning tips:
Assess the stain first. Use a towel to blot the stain and then gently scrape away the grime. I'm guessing my top enemies would be baby's pee or poo (you never know) so in this case the first rule would apply.
For oil, sprinkle the spot with baby powder before blotting. For ink, use a cotton swab and dip in some rubbing alcohol. Carefully dab at the outer edges of the stain working your way in.
And for lipstick or makeup from enthusiastic relatives, dab the stain and sprinkle some baby powder.
So to my friends and to fellow mommies whoÂ’ve gained inspiration from this post, the best of luck to you! I'd love to hear your experiences so please do share them.