Preparation For Storage
Never put a soiled garment in storage, make sure it is clean. When it is time for the heirloom outfit to go into storage to save for the next generation, the first thing I do is remove any jewelry, beauty pins, etc.
Acid Free Tissue Explained In Simple Language
Due to the rising popularity of the scrapbooking hobby, you read and hear the phrases "acid free" or "archival quality" mentioned frequently. Keep in mind that no standards apply to these terms. Just because something is labeled "acid free" does not necessarily mean that the product is safe for your heirlooms. There are 3 things you should look for in tissue paper (or any paper) that will be used in storing a heirloom.
• Acid Free - This means that the paper has been specially processed to remove the acid. In other words the manufacturer can say "acid free" because at the time of production it is acid free.
Important: However that does not mean it will remain acid free. Which brings us to the term "lignin free".
• Lignin Free - Lignin is the substance that hold wood fibers together. It is important that you choose archival paper products that are lignin free because they have been chemically processed to remove the lignin. If the lignin is not removed, the paper will become acidic with age causing damage to your garments.
Even if the paper and/or tissue is acid free at the time of production, it will not remain acid free unless it has also been processed to remove the lignin!
So now that you can see how important it is for your tissue to be both acid and lignin free there is one more term you need to know.
• Buffered or Non Buffered - Buffered tissue or paper has had chemicals added to it during the manufacturing process that neutralize harmful chemicals. Buffered paper is considered acceptable for cotton or linen but potentially harmful to silk or wool.
The safest choice for tissue paper that will come into direct contact with your heirloom garment is Acid Free, Lignin Free, Non Buffered tissue with a neutral pH.
Garment Storage Box
There are special archival quality storage boxes made especially for storing heirloom garments, quilts, etc. Apply the same high standards in your selection of a storage box as is stated above for choosing the tissue paper.
You will want an acid free, lignin free box but, unlike the tissue paper where we suggest choosing the non buffered type, for your box, we recommend choosing the buffered version.
Choose a large, roomy box with plenty of room for air circulation.
Use sufficient amount of tissue paper to cushion the garment. Gently stuff some of the tissue into the sleeves and bodice to prevent creases which lead to the breakdown of the fibers in the fabric.
If you must fold the garment use tissue paper as a cushion to avoid creases. If there is a bonnet, slip, bib, etc, wrap those separately and place them in the box with the dress.
Storing Your Garment Box
Choose a cool, clean and bug-free dry place for storage of your heirloom garment. The perfect situation would be to keep the box in a room where the temperature never goes below 65° or above 70° and the humidity is around 50%.
From time to time your stored heirlooms should be aired out and examined. When refolding don't fold it the exact same way as it was folded before, remember, you want to prevent creases.
No No's For Storage
Do not store the garment in a cedar chest (or closet) or a regular cardboard box. Do not store it in either an airtight container or plastic. Avoid storing textiles in a damp basement or near direct heat sources.
*Disclaimer: The garment care and storage information on this website are only suggestions and are without warranty. For specific information pertaining to your garment consult the manufacturer whenever possible.