When I first began this blog almost 8 years ago, I created a post on how to properly fold a gown. I referenced it numerous times over the years and decided the overall look needed updating. So unlike the first post which was only pictures, this time I recorded it!
But first, why is it important to learn to properly fold and store a gown? I know that I have many newbies make the critical mistake of hanging their one piece, 5 yard gowns on metal hangers. Then a month or so later when they wish to wear the gown, they discover the damage the skinny hanger did to the shoulders and the strain put on their hand stitches. Unless your gown is two pieces (where the bodice can but hung but the skirt folded) folding your gown really adds longevity and preserves the shape and design of the gown.
But what about in the 19th century? Didn’t they have hangers? Well, yes. Hangers were around and would be used (for those who could afford closets and more then one garment) for pieces that were light enough such as men’s garments, children’s clothes, and bodices. Otherwise, gowns were hung on hooks using long ties sewn to the waistband of the interior of the gown. The gown would hang with the bodice laying over the skirt portion inside out.
Yet for seasonal gowns, or if you lack closet space, folding your gown really is the best option. And this particular method, taken from a late 1830’s guide, creates a nice little bundle that can be safely stored for travel or long term without damage to the gown. Once the gown has been folded, you can either wrap in plain white tissue paper or brown paper. Avoid anything with a pattern or dye to avoid staining your gown.
Ready to learn how to fold your own gown?
I hope this tutorial has been helpful! Remember, this technique can be used for both gowns and undergarments.
Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell, 1788-1879. The workwoman’s guide: containing instructions to the inexperienced in cutting out and completing those articles of wearing apparel, &c. which are usually made at home : also, explanations on upholstery, straw-plaiting, bonnet-making, knitting, &c. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University, Mann Library. London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co. …, 1838