long unconstructed gowns – flat storage or hanging?

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    • #131939
      Charlene Martin

      Hello everyone! I have liturgical vestments that priests wear – think long graduation gowns of nicer fabric than what those usually are. In comparison to clothes with princess seams, etc, these hang in a fairly unconstructed manner. The National Park Service recommends storing these type of costumes flat in textile boxes. I don’t have shelf space for 5ft vestments to be lying full-length on my storage room shelves, so I thought I could fold them a little at the end, and pad this fold out with a lot of unbuffered tissue and a polyethylene roll-tube, if necessary. Would that work?

      For any adventurous DIY folks, I am considering using polyethylene pool noodles in lieu of the roll tubes offered by archival suppliers: https://collectionsconversations.wordpress.com/tag/pool-noodles/. Has anyone heard anything negative about this method?

      I could also hang the vestments from a well-padded hanger, but I worry about the heaviness of the vestments becoming a strain on the shoulder construction.

      Thank you for your help with this!

    • #131943

      Definitely cover the pool noodles with a couple of layers of fabric (my preference as more durable especially during a disaster recovery, easier to obtain large enough pieces, reusable) or unbuffered tissue (not my preference) as part of that “ounce of prevention = pound of cure”. If the vestments have a lot of metallic thread/components/embroidery, consider first covering the pool noodles (including both ends) with at least one layer of heavy duty aluminum foil first before then covering with the fabric/unbuffered tissue. Make sure you obtain hangers that are large/wide enough to provide complete support thru the shoulder area as I have witnessed a lot of damage to shoulder areas of vestments from the use of too small/narrow hangers – otherwise flat storage is best.

    • #131942
      Joan Mamanakis

      The fine-celled pool noodles are inert, and other than the test in the article – have been proven to be colorfast in aerospace applications. Still, if you have any concerns, cover with cotton or tissue as noted above. We have been using noodles to pad hangers for two years. They hold up especially well for heavy outerwear which collapsed batting covered hangers. Coats and capes may have more surrounding structure to support the seams than vestments, but the noodles provide a fairly wide curve for the shoulder seam. Plus you can easily carve a gentle end curve if needed.

    • #131941
      Charlene Martin

      Does anyone know any particular brands that are 100 % polyethylene (fine-celled?) and don’t include “30 % recycled material”? I spotted some Original Funnoodle products in Walmart this weekend, but that 30 % is off-putting. Maybe I don’t need to worry about it?

      My next step is to contact Original Funnoodle and other pool noodle producers for MSDS sheets, but I wanted to first check in with those of you have some experience with this.

      Thank you!

    • #131940
      Renee Henry

      You might also look into using pipe insulation from the hardware store. It is maybe a higher grade of poly.. Here is an example. http://www.doitbest.com/Pipe+insulation-I+T+P+Ltd-model-PR38138UA-doitbest-sku-400211.dib We have been using the narrower diameter to line clothes hangers and the wider diameter to roll clothing. It is fairly cheap and seems inert. We learned about it from another museum that uses it. It is also available year round.

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