It’s All About the Dress!

Betty Altheide 1953

It was a warm Saturday in Minneapolis, July 18th, 1953. Betty Schuler arrived at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in her beautiful white eyelet layered wedding gown and she was a bit nervous, yet excited as she was about to become the bride of John Altheide.  Betty recalls that it was rather warm that day and that there was no air conditioning; “I don’t remember the temperature exactly, but I do know that no one fainted” (as was the case in many hot, summer weddings in those days).

After growing up in Edina, MN, Betty went on to college at William Woods University, an all-girls school in Fulton, MO.  John grew up around St. Louis, Mo and attended Westminister College, also in Fulton, MO.  How did they meet?  “It was December 3, 1949, we met on a blind date going to a Fraternity party”, she blushed, as John stands by, in disbelief, that she even remembers the date!

After they finished school, John went into the Air Force.  They got to see each other only about 3 or 4 times in the ensuing 2 years that he was enlisted.  After 1 year, he proposed to her.

Betty proceeded with all the wedding planning on her own since John was not around.  The ceremony was held at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, the reception was held at the Edina Country Club.  She purchased her dress at Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis and remembers that the dress plus the hoop skirt she wore with it was under $100.00. She was careful with the dress at her wedding, no cake spilled, no punch spilled, no drinking at the reception—so it was looking great after the big day.

The newlywed couple then spent their honeymoon at Maddens Resort in northern Minnesota where they actually were able to spend some time together to really get to know each other.  John, having been in the military for a couple of years, had been doing his own laundry, and Betty was alarmed to find that he didn’t spend much time sorting his colors—all of his underwear was pink! They then moved to St. Louis, Missouri after the wedding.  It seems that everything worked out through the years — Betty and John just celebrated their 59th Wedding Anniversary this summer—and they’re looking forward to number 60 in 2013!

In the spring of 2012 when Betty and John and their children were cleaning out their nooks and crannies, they came upon the dress, yellowed and stained, and it was sent to Treasured Garment Restoration for evaluation.  If the gown was so well protected the day of the wedding, what happened, then, with the horrible spills we saw on it when it came to be restored? “Well”, Betty explained, “35 years ago –when the dress was 25 years old—there was a party amongst our friends and the requirement was to bring or wear something from your wedding.  So, I wore my wedding gown!”  Amazingly, Betty was still able to wear the gown after 25 years and 2 children and her only comment was “yes, I fit into it, but I didn’t sit down all night”.

Fortunately, this spill was only 35 years old.               After careful testing, TGR was able to
If it had been spilled 59 years ago, it is possible          determine that the latent stains – aka
that these stains may have created holes                      caramelized sugar stains would be
in the fabric.                                                                                   able to be removed!

We, at Treasured Garment Restoration, have seen a number of things show up on vintage wedding dresses that can re-ignite memories of the day… and we are truly passionate about restoring and preserving the each unique dress along with the memories it symbolizes for our customers!

One thing remains constant– it’s all about THE DRESS!  Brides will spend countless hours looking at photos, magazines, (now Pinterest) and shopping for the one dress that makes them feel like a princess for the day.  Each dress is unique and could tell a story of its own—if only a dress could talk!

1953 Gown, oxidized (yellowed) and stained.                                      After – restored to white in 2012!
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Super Sammy’s Stay at the TGR Spa

We recently had a very special guest at Treasured Garment Restoration Spa and Salon – Super Sammy the Sock Monkey!

You may have seen Sammy relaxing in our lobby recently while waiting for his town car to pick him up.

While staying with us we were able to get an exclusive TGR interview with Sammy.

TGR: First of all Sammy thank you for taking the time to sit down with us. We know how busy you are!

Sammy: Not a problem; I’ve been having a wonderful time relaxing and getting “refreshed”!

TGR: Sammy, can you give us your full name and title to start?

Sammy: Sure! It’s Super Sammy, Ambassador for Genuine Monkeez and Friends.

TGR: Can you tell us a little more about the work you do as Ambassador?

Sammy: I spend most of my traveling. I’m a pretty busy Sock Monkey you know! I spend a lot of time in showrooms across the country, having my picture taken, greeting people, and, of course, eating bananas!

TGR: Sounds glamorous!

Sammy: It is. I love spending time meeting new friends, helping out with charities and visiting specialty retail shops. Truth be told, it does get a little tiring though.

TGR: Oh, how so?

Sammy: Well, one of the reasons I stopped in here was to get some much needed rest and relaxation. You may have noticed I was a bit dirty when I arrived. I even had a few… tears!

TGR: Can you talk a little about what we did for you here at the Treasured Garment Spa Sammy?

Sammy: Of course.  I started with a luxurious soak, a great way to let the cares of the world melt away. We moved on to some deep fabric work to really get all the dirt I had collected out. This was followed by a nice warm towel and some time in the “dry room”. Finally, all my little tears and nicks were tended to; before I knew it, I was good as new!

TGR: Well Sammy, again, we really appreciate the time you’ve taken to speak with us. It’s been a pleasure having you! Please come back and see us again!

For more information on Sammy and Genuine Monkeez & Friends, please visit Midwest CBK’s website.

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Something Old…

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue…as the old saying goes!  Some brides are making the “something old” the cornerstone of the wedding–her dress!  More and more I see brides pulling out Mom’s or Grandma’s gown from the attic and discovering that it’s in pretty good shape, but maybe yellowed, a few dark brown spots, and a few little tears.  They come in wondering if, somehow, it may be salvageable?

My answer–most likely!  Since each gown is different, has been cleaned (or not cleaned) differently, and has been stored differently–some in boxes with tissue, some in cedar chests, some hanging in the back of Grandma’s closet–they all come with a variety of challenges.  But, unless the integrity of the fabric has been seriously compromised (i.e. brittle and crumbly or tearing with little tension), it’s probably a great candidate for restoration and re-wearing.

 
1951 Silk Gown Before (the bride was going to cut off the bottom to make it a T-length dress)
1951 Gown After (the bride decided to leave it long since most of the latent stains were removed).

The restoration process involves removing the oxidation (yellowing) and returning the fabric to its original color and luster.  Yes, this is possible and done quite frequently by professionals who know how to handle vintage and age-damaged fabrics.  It may also be the most economical choice for the bride, as well.  Since each wedding dress differs dramatically, prices may also vary, but usually can start around $399 and up!

Check out a couple more examples:

1946 Wedding Gown Before.  Note the discoloration of beads and sequins.
1946 Wedding Gown After!  Color is restored and so are beads and sequins!
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Care Label Caution?

In case you can’t read this label clearly it states:
“Caution Dry Clean Only Dangerously Flammable If Washed”

 

Now, I’ve seen some interesting marketing ploys before, but I’m not quite sure what this one is after!

I sure hope the bride who wore this gown didn’t spill anything on her gown at the ceremony or the reception! Seriously, I’m not aware of any textile that would spontaneously combust when introduced with water. As members of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, Treasured Garment Restoration and our parent company, St. Croix Cleaners, can certainly care for this dress and any other gowns with wild labels on them.

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Treasured Garment Restoration on Forever TV!

Thanks to Forever-TV! TGR will be featured in an upcoming episode about cleaning and preserving your wedding gowns! We had a blast during the filiming…!

Forever TV is a bridal media group that uses the power of internet television to promote local wedding vendors and educate local brides-to-be.

Be sure to check back here and on Facebook for updates… We’ll keep you in the loop!

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