True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Restoration of a 154 year old wedding skirt

Embroidery top rightAt RAVE FabriCARE, we undertake a large number of garment restorations on an annual basis (Click here for examples). Many involve wedding gowns and christening gowns.

I recently received the following email from Denise C of Phoenix, Arizona...

"Good Morning Stu,

Last evening my husband, Chris, spoke with you in regards to restoring an heirloom skirt. I've been meaning to have this done for some time. So needless to say, I'm thrilled to find someone who specializes in this field in the Phoenix metro area.

The only history I have on the skirt is what my grandmother wrote down. We stand corrected on the age. Based on my grandmother's note - the skirt would be 154 years old. It was all handmade by her grandmother (for her wedding) back in Poland.

I have no idea how it was stored through the years other than how I received it after my grandmother's passing in 1995, which was in a plastic shopping bag. However, I'm almost certain she kept it in the same plastic bag or one similar, either in her storage closet or in a dresser drawer.

It wasn't until this past summer that I placed it into a large ziploc bag. Doing so might not have been the wisest idea but I was hoping to protect it from any further deterioration or accidents.

I would love to hear your professional opinion on what can be done with the skirt."

Well, Denise, I think we can handle it despite the extreme yellowing and deterioration of the fabric. We recommend that you do not attempt to repair the holes - it's part of the "patina" on a 154 year-old garment.

You asked for my professional opinion. Here it is, reflected in before and after photos ...


Skirt before 3131
Skirt top before DSC03139 Skirt bottom before DSC03140
Skirt back before 3132
Skirt back top before 3136 Skirt back bottom before 3137
Hole in skirt-1 before 3141 Hole in skirt-2 before 3142
Hole in skirt-3 before 3143-3



Skirt after 128
Skirt top after 132 Skirt bottom after 133
Skirt back after 129
Skirt back top after 139 Skirt bottom after 140


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