One question that we are often asked is how we preserve strapless gowns with Museum Method Preservation. It’s a good question, as so many gowns are strapless today. Many others have thin “spaghetti” straps, which certainly should not bear the weight of the gown for a long period. I’ll answer this important question and add a couple of photographs for illustration. (Click on photos to enlarge.)
First, we utilize the gown’s hanging straps that are usually located in the under arm area. Occasionally these have been removed for comfort or convenience. If this is the case, we sew the hanging straps back into the gown.
Second, we sew cotton twill tape straps into the gown lining by hand. We sew two ties in front and two in back. These can be tied together at the shoulders to hang the gown securely. This is all that is usually needed for most gowns. But occasionally, a gown may be unusually heavy and require additional support.
For very heavy gowns, longer straps are sewn into the lining in the waist area and also tied at the shoulders. All of the straps help distribute the weight of the gown evenly. The straps can be easily removed with a seam ripper if the gown is worn again.
The hanger and tissue fill in the gown and it almost appears to be hanging on a mannequin. The straps and the “body” the gown hangs on give it plenty of support. All materials used in the preservation are acid-free and will help keep your gown in the very best condition.