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My grandkids love to wear hand-me-downs, not just from their older sibs but most of all from their parents….and even their grandparents. Wearing garments from past generations is popular. They are called heritage or vintage clothes.

When I saw it on her daughter…my granddaughter,  I was so glad that I saved a dress that my once four-year-old daughter loved to wear often.

My ten-year-old granddaughter looks adorable in her seventeen-year-old sister’s summer dress, which was worn at the same age.

Specially loved and beautifully designed clothing for children of all ages…not merely for newborns and babies….can be enjoyed for generations.  

What Not to Save?

You just cannot save everything so you really must be selective.

No matter who the designer, a shirt that was itchy-scratchy on your son won’t necessarily be any more comfortable on his son.

A very expensive dress, which never  was worn because your daughter hated it, doesn’t mean that she will like it any better on her own daughter.

Clothing, so dearly loved and so often worn that you can almost see through the fabric, may be cherished but are not good candidates for surviving another generation.

What to Save?

The clothing you decide to preserve must be liked by the child, comfortable to wear and in good condition. However, it also should have a special meaning for saving…..not just that it was worn at a memorable event.  Even more important, the original wearer liked this item most of alloften for the simplest reason…… “I felt strong when I wore it.”   or   “It made a beautiful noise when I walked.” or “I always had fun when I wore it.”

Preserving the Reason for Saving.    Along with saving the clothing item make up a packet explaining why you are preserving it.  A picture  of the child wearing the item is wonderful to include.  You can be creative technically  with voice and video messages.  However, also include the information on paper.  Technology does change over the years and you might not be able to play back that video a generation from now.  Look what happened to the wire-recorder of my teens.

If you want the clothing to survive in a wearable condition for future generations, the secret is in the preservation.

I learned from the web that, if you want to save the items for more than a couple of years, you cannot just give them a washing, zip  into a plastic storage bag, shove into the attic and hope for the best.

Steps to Successful Preservation

Take a good look at the clothing.  Identify any stains.  Make any repairs now.  After the item is cleaned, you should handle it as little as possible so that the oils from you hands don’t get on the clothing.

Either launder or dry clean the clothing.  Be sure to treat the stains properly. The item must be throughly dried.  If dry cleaned, remove from the plastic bag and air out any lingering fumes.

Use special archival acid free tissue paper to protect the fabric and to support details such as puff sleeves and pleats.

Remove metal buttons and details such as buckles that can rust and spoil permanently the garment.  Wrap in tissue and store with the clothing.

Put the item in either archival boxes or  plastic storage boxes made of cast polypropylene (PP).

Include any special accessories worn with the clothes, your packet explaining why you saved it and even a sprig of lavender.

Store in a dry area such as under a bed or in a closet that is not near water pipes. Basement and attic areas are not recommended.

For more details, I think that the best website for learning how to preserve children’s clothing so that they can be passed to the next generation in good condition is on the mega website about.com.


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