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Posted on 14th Sep 2017
Costume Care 101: How To Properly Store Your Dance Costume
You painstakingly ensure that it is kept safe and looking its best. After all, when you wear that dance costume you want it to look fantastic.
But if you put all the hard work into making sure it remains looking its best, the last thing you want to do is damage it by storing it incorrectly.
Every dance costume will hold wonderful memories for you. Every time you look at it in the future, even if you don't wear it again, you will be able to picture yourself the last time you wore it and how you felt when you danced. Or maybe it is your child's dance costume and you want them to always have that item to remember as they grow up.
For example this child's elegant rainbow sequin lace embellished ruffled blue dance dress pictured below. Both you and your child will have invested a lot in this costume, not to mention all the hours of dance practice and effort put in. The dance costume is simply the end product of all that hard work, and to watch your child dance in it is a once in a lifetime experience. With the proper storage this costume can be kept beautiful for years a to come.
There is no one way to store dance costumes as they come in many different fabrics which may require different methods. But if you follow our tips below, you can do everything possible to ensure that with a little care and attention, your dance consumes remain dazzling and vibrant for ever.
Make Sure It Is Cleaned Properly
There is a lot of information available as to how to clean dance garments properly. The best thing we can advise is to do research as every fabric and garment may require a slightly different technique. But there is no doubt that before a garment can be stored it must be clean as any stains or smells are only going to bed themselves into the fabric and maybe even rot it away.
The general rules for cleaning dance costumes are as follows: use only warm or cold water not hot to wash the clothes, only ever use a non-bio detergent, and never get it dry-cleaned unless they guarantee its safety. It is safer for almost every dance costume to be washed, gently, by hand as dry cleaning services often use harsh chemicals and don't take any responsibility for damages. Equally, most garments will be damaged by a high heat so tumble-drying is not an option.
Make Sure It Is Dry
The most important point when storing costumes so that they come out looking as fantastic as they did when they were put away is to ensure that the material is completely dry. If there is even the slightest amount of damp or wetness this is going to cause mildew and mould, and leave your outfit smelly and ruined.
Equally, the room that you store it in needs to be totally dry and damp free. On top of this, direct sunlight is going to have a detrimental effect to garments, even ones that are inside bags, so a room that is dry and dark is key.
How To Hang Them
If you are going to hang your item to store, then it should be on plastic, wood, or padded hangers. Invest in some sturdy hangers if you can although the strong cheaper ones work well too. Avoid the metal ones as you don't know how the metal will react with the fabric over time.
Before the costumes are hung though they should be covered in muslin, or plastic if muslin isn't available. If you are only storing for a month or two then hanging most garments should be fine. However, if it is long-term storage you are going for then you want to think about what might happen to that item over time. A heavy item such as this bronze lace sheer gown with copper accented ribbon ruffled skirt (pictured below) is going to pull down and may stretch over time.
To avoid your costume stretching, or if you simply don't have space to hang them, you can place them in a dry clean, air-tight storage bin making sure you fold the garment as few times as possible.
Another tip on ensuring the costume remains in its shape is to make sure all zips, ties and buttons are fastened before it is put away.
As mentioned above, there are many different styles and fabrics used for dance costumes. The storage instructions may differ between materials so carry on reading to see how to store your garment correctly.
There are several different ways to store your tutu, and lots of theories on which is the best way. They can be hung upside down on tutu trees, or if you don't happen to have one of them lying around, they can be placed in air-tight containers or tutu bags. However the one thing that everyone does agree on is that they tutus should be clean and completely dry before being put safely away. As with the general advice given above, there should be no direct sunlight on the tutus or the bags. Tutus like this black trimmed tutu pictured below are so vibrant and effervescent, you don't want that glorious colour to fade.
The chances are that your dance shoes are going to be well worn by the time they are put away. Of all the costume pieces the shoes are likely to have been worn the most times, and may even have been used for several different dances.
There are so many different materials that dance shoes are made of and again different techniques may be required to wash them. General tips include not submerging them in water, and avoid putting them in the tumble dryer as the heat may damage them. Equally, you should be looking after your shoes for example make sure you don't wear them outside of the studio, and be gentle when putting shoes on and off as manhandling them can actually damage them significantly.
Once the shoe is cleaned properly, it needs to be 100% dry before you put it away. You can store the shoes for a long time in a shoe bag which can be purchased for a small amount from somewhere like Amazon. However with shoes you want them to have space to breathe as otherwise they will sweat which will cause the bacteria to grow and will make shoes dirty and smelly. Don't store the shoes in the original plastic bag you purchased them in.
Buying a new dance costume can be a fun and exciting experience. People work for hours practicing their dance moves, and to wear that beautiful dress in front of others is an exhilarating and memorable experience. If you look after your garment properly and then store it correctly, your dance piece will remain gorgeous for years to come.
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