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HOW TO STEAM YOUR DRESS (AND NOT MAKE A MESS)

Steaming bridal gowns is not merely a task, but an art form. A seemingly very basic thing can go all awry in one full blast, and once you go past steaming force ahead, there is nothing you can do to fix the flaws. In this speedy course, September is giving you all the insights, tips and tricks you need to be able to stride down the aisle in a smooth and streamlined gown. Gather your diligent servant, and get steamy.





THE BASICS


Don't bother with an expensive professional steamer, something between the 50 and 100 euro range will do just fine.

Never fill your steamer with regular tap water as the minerals will over time form a crust around and over the steam holes not allowing the steam to go through them, which results in... A big crusty splatter on your white gown.

Always use destilled water.


Keep a towel near, and assign at least two people to steam your gown. Some gowns can be heavy, and some of them could use the extra pair of hands to keep certain details out of the way, or keep an eye out for the person who's on steaming duty.


Wash your hands thoroughly before starting the task. Nothing worse than a mystery smudge on a virgin white dress.


Choose a spot where there's ventilation, start early enough, and do not have your final make up and hair done when using the steamer. Find a place where you can work freely without disturbing any other bridesmaids, the bride, or any wedding vendors.


Take your time as you steam each section of the gown, moving with steady hands and a keen eye for detail. Avoid rushing the process, as haste may lead to unintended damage.



GET STEAMY


Fill the container until the maximum limit set by your steamer. Give it a trial run on towel or cloth. The towel will absorb any moisture forming on the head of the steamer, and by giving it a go on another piece of cloth, you can get to know the steamer and its force. Get rid of any little hairs or fluff on the head of the machine.


It's a two (wo-)man job; one person can steam the fabric whilst the other folds over any bits, and can turn the gown in the right direction. Dab away any gathered moisture with the towel after every couple of minutes of using the machine.



RULES TO LIVE BY


Never put the head of the tool directly on your fabrics or seams! There's a thing like 'over steaming', where the fabric just can't take it anymore, resulting in a limp and stretched out look. It looks weirdly flappy and there's no coming back from that. Some designers use special backing in the seams of your garment. The seams will hold their shape but the backing gets deformed when high temperatures are used.



SILK


Silk, the most fragile of all fabrics, will need a day of just chilling and relaxing before steaming. If your dress is silk, it's best to keep it somewhere safe, where the fabric can drop naturally for at least 24 hours. Steam bit by bit from a distance and don't let any water drops fall on the gown. Turn her inside out and take your time for this. Allow breaks when needed as too much moisture isn't good. It's good to remember that natural silk always has a bit of a texture.



TULLE, CHIFFON


Easy to do as they're both so lightweight. Moving your hand in big circles, about 20 cms away from the fabric, you'll see the wrinkles retreat in a blink of an eye. Be careful not to steam out any pre-made shapes. Veils might have silk flowers on them that were set with heat. The same heat can undo those. Work swiftly around them, and you will be fine.



CREPE


Lots of crepe fabrics from our Edwina O'Gorman and Alena Leena collections are almost naturally resistant to creasing. If you do want to freshen up your gown, use the same steps like above. If you're unsure, steam from the inside out.



JACQUARD (not silk)


Again, easy. Can't do anything wrong with this one. Steam away! For any thicker bits, which a jacquard fabric often has because of its weave, you can go a little closer to get the wrinkle out but remember to not touch the fabric with the steamer head. Place a very clean kitchen towel, preferably new, on the persistant wrinkle and release some steam in small bursts to get the most creased bits out of your gown.



GLITTER, 3D FLORALS, OTHER


Any dress with a transparent overlay made from sparkles, appliqués or other 3D embellishments: no need to steam the top layer as it can deform some of the items used to create the effects. Instead, steam the lining so it will sit comfortable against your skin.



CARE IS KEY


Always gently hang your gown on a sturdy hanger by the loops, not the actual straps. This helps to not stretch out the shoulder straps.


Water splattered on your dress? Quickly take a tissue and press it on the stain, allowing the moisture to absorb into the tissue.

A grubby make up stain can be resolved with micellar water, a trick I discovered when I was a hair and make up artist. Place a cotton round behind the fabric and dab a bit of the micellar water (without oil!) on the stain. Try it in an inconspicuous place first before you work away on the stain.



Steaming a gown isn't as simple as you think it is, but also not hard when you know what to do. When you keep this guide in mind and delicately glide the steamer, you're not just smoothing out wrinkles; you're breathing life into this incredible piece of art that was handmade for you. Need a guiding hand? Did we miss something and you need answers? We're here to help, so ask us!



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