You would think that with the popularity of using an heirloom christening gown, you wouldn’t have to buy one to start the tradition. As families go from generation to generation, there are often too many births and too much distance for one gown to make all the rounds. Choosing a christening gown that will become an heirloom for your branch of the family tree can be one of the most satisfying gifts to the future that you can leave.
Choosing the Material and Trim
When you are looking to purchase quality christening gowns the material and trim can be greatly varied. The gowns can be made of linen, silk or even fine cotton. It is the trimming of the christening gown where the quality of the design and manufacture truly comes in to play. The length of most christening gowns allows for the ample addition of lacework and ribbon trims. Some may also feature shell or pearl button accents. While it is possible to find a high quality gown almost anywhere, within the christening world, the gowns that are made in Italy, Greece and Turkey are renowned for their quality and fine hand work. When you are looking towards purchasing a gown that will become an heirloom there are some important considerations to take into place.
Accommodating different Faiths and different Times
There would appear to be very little variation in the style of christening gowns over the centuries but that is only an illusion. Each era has its own unique stamp; some of the period specific styles don’t hold up well over time and while you may have an exquisitely crafted christening gown to pass on, your children or grandchildren may balk at the style it represents. There are also issues of faith to consider. Some faiths, such as the Russian Orthodox, require a dress style for boys as well. In this day and age this is generally accommodated by having a skirt that attaches to a christening suit and can be easily removed after the ceremony.
Your best bet is to choose something simple, but elegant. The basics of a christening gown have remained the same, the presentation of a baby or small child to the faith as a gift of innocence. Classic lace and ribbon trims are always perfect. Shell and pearl accents should only be selected if they could be easily removed without damaging the overall design of the gown. A part of that is a safety consideration; you never know which generation will have that active and curious baby that will already be putting everything it can find in its mouth by the time they are old enough to be christened.
Best ways to keep it Clean
Make sure to do some research on how best to wipe off any spills or stains from the material your gown is made from. You will also want to know how to handle it becoming wet, as it is prone do to during a christening. This is very important with the silks and muslins as water can cause unsightly stains. You also want to ask the seller what to do about oil drops, as many christening ceremonies feature anointing as well. Some sellers will offer a low cost treatment to the gown that will help to protect the fabric. Others will offer under suits so that the actual gown is removed for the event or folded down to avoid spillage. Make sure you check with the official performing the ceremony to find out if this is allowed according to the faith the child is being baptized in.
Having the Gown Stored
You don’t have to pay to have a christening gown professionally stored in order to preserve it as an heirloom. It is a good idea to have it professionally cleaned, but be careful about the type of cleaner you use. Look for a cleaner that advertises that they clean christening gowns or the chemicals and amount they are used to applying to clean adult size gowns may be too much for the fabric. Then, simply wrap the gown in tissue and return it to its box. Don’t place the gown in plastic because condensation can form and cause the fabric to disintegrate over time.