Preserve your wedding gown on the cheap {DIY}

Your wedding gown is often revered as a prized possession that many women dream of and then cherish forever.  Thus the bridal industry has found ways to scam thousands of dollars from hopeless romantics to make every details of your wedding a huge budget breaker. I found ways to rebel against the industry and make my wedding a gorgeous day without breaking the bank (For a series of DIY thrifty wedding ideas go here).  Four years later, I’m still finding ways to save money on my wedding.

I did the unthinkable after our wedding, as do many brides.  The day is over and you hang your dress up in your closet with every intention of cleaning it or selling it, or deciding what to do with it, and end up totally forgetting about it.  Four years later you pull it out to create something wonderful (stay tuned) and realize that there are a few stains and spots on your dress.  Eeek, will they come out? Well thanks to google I found a few ways to keep my cleaning expenses down by doing it myself.

My dress was made mostly from satin with a sheer overlay with embroidery.  Here’s a few pictures of the dress for your reference

As you can see the train was sheer with embroidery around the bottom and up the back.  Here’s a close up of the bottom of the sheer layer

The bodice had some beadwork

I did my research and talked with a few friends.  One friend used to work at a dry-cleaners where she said 90% of all wedding dresses can be turned inside out and put in the washer on delicate.  I also had read about some techniques to get stains out of different fabrics.  Here is an article I read and followed most of their suggestions.  Based on my inspection of the dress, most of the “dirtiness” was on the bottom hem of the train.  As they say wedding dress trains act like dry mops, and mine was no exception.

I started by hanging my dress from a hanger into the bathtub.  I filled the bathtub with warm sudsy water.  I took a mild brush and went around the hem doing some spot scrubbing to get the dirt out.  I then drained and rinsed with clean cool water and let hang to dry for at least 24 hours.  When it was completely dry I inspected again.  I actually used some watered down stain removers on several spots.  I used both Shout and OxyClean.  (Make sure to test on an area the won’t be very noticeable incase they aren’t meant for your fabric).   Again apply the watered down spot remover to stains with a gentle scrub brush, or tooth-brush.

Then I did exactly as my friend suggested (Most of my dress was made from polyester based fabric), I turned my dress inside out to prevent any beads or delicate lace from catching, and placed into our front load washer.  I used a gentle detergent and placed on delicate.  To dry I hung in the bathtub for another 24-48 hours to make sure it was fully dry.

I repurposed my dress into something wonderful (stay tuned), but I have also read that if you want to preserve it, it’s best to use white tissue paper or anything that will not leave an acidic residue on the fabric.

As you can see from the pictures above, it cleaned everything pretty well.  Was it 100% perfect, no but it was about 90% better and saved me almost $200 in cleaning.

Linking to:
Bowl full of Lemons ( I never thought I’d link up to a cleaning category, but I guess there is a first for everything!)

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2 Comments

Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Tutorials

2 responses to “Preserve your wedding gown on the cheap {DIY}

  1. Pingback: May Review |

  2. Pingback: Sew Scary {repurposed wedding dress} |

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