Are Wedding Gown Restorations Art or Science?

Posted by on Feb 16, 2011 in General | 1 comment

Are Wedding Gown Restorations Art or Science?

One of our most popular services is wedding gown restoration. It is amazing that an old and yellowed (sometimes brown) wedding gown can be brought back to a white or ivory color and regain it’s former beauty. Often it can be worn again by a daughter or granddaughter for a new wedding. Some gowns have been worn by numerous brides, creating a tradition that ties history to the present and future. But how is it done? Is wedding gown restoration a science or an art?

Wedding gown restoration is a service that we have been perfecting for about 8 years.During those years, we have taken professional training classes and we have performed numerous wedding gown restorations and gained a tremendous knowledge with that experience. We have learned that successful wedding gown restoration is a combination of Art and Science.

The science part is the knowledge of the various chemicals we can use to whiten aged wedding gowns. For instance, we have learned whether to use an alkaline or an acidic chemical and what temperature the chemicals will work best.

While the science portion is critical, I believe the Art portion of wedding gown restoration may be more important. This Art is really the understanding of the chemicals and how specific fabrics, in different conditions, and at various ages will respond to those chemicals. With each wedding gown restoration, our knowledge continues to grow and gives us greater confidence as we work on individual gowns.

Our goal is to restore each wedding gown to the best condition possible. Some gowns can be made almost white again, while others a soft ivory may be the best possible outcome, without risking damage to the gown. The oldest gowns we have worked on have been over 100 years old. But it is not uncommon for us to restore wedding gowns that are only 30 years old. So the conditions of the wedding gowns really do vary tremendously.

With each gown, we analyze the fabric content and the condition of the gown and then make a determination of which chemical to use, what temperature to use it at, and how long to soak the gown. It is really exciting to see the transformation that can occur. Occasionally, we will utilize more than one chemical in hopes of achieving the best results.

We restored the wedding gown below this past week, and utilized two different chemicals to whiten the gown as well as possible. A third chemical was used on the veil. We are really excited about the end result and I am kicking myself because I forgot to take the “before” pictures! Nevertheless, please enjoy the “after” pictures.


Howard wedding gown after restoration Howard wedding veils after restoration

One Comment

  1. I am the sister of the bride who is wearing my mothers wedding dress in your Howard restoration. My three sisters and myself have taken my mothers wedding dress out of our closet over the years and all tried it on and “played” bride. I cannot believe the restoration process had such an effect on my mothers dress! I am teary eyed and shocked at the beautiful pictures I see. I wore the cathedral length veil at my own wedding 9 years ago without restoration and I am so excited and happy for my little sister to be able to wear my mothers dress with such honor. Amazing job ladies! Your work is truly appreciated and I cannot wait to see the full effect of your work when my beautiful sister walks down the aisle wearing my mothers dress. Two words… Just Amazing! Thank you SO much, Kellie DeCicco

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