Once in awhile we get the opportunity to clean and preserve Christening gowns. When Ann K. sent one that is over 100 years old, we were ecstatic to have the opportunity! The gown was made of cotton lace and satin in different tiers of the dress. There were bows made from satin ribbons and metal snabs on the back. The neckline, sleeves and hemline were lined with lace trimming. There were small holes under the arms and the satin was slightly yellowed. The coat and bonnet, also lined with satin, had yellow spots and were starting to lose embroideries.
When we received the pieces, they had been pre-cleaned with what appeared to be a dry-cleaning solvent. Between this treatment and the age of the gown, we knew that we had to be extra careful; we could not use any chemicals or hot temperatures. Before we started cleaning, we tested the fabric. We ended up hand cleaning each piece to get rid of any residual solvent.We repaired the shoulders of the slip, adding snaps for easier on and off. We also repaired the small holes on the lace of the gown. We were able to get the yellow spots out and ended the process by hand pressing each piece at a low temperature.