Birmingham Wedding Gown Care Blog

What Does It Mean To Steam A Wedding Dress?

Posted by David Whitehurst on June 28, 2011

Wedding Dress Steaming and Pressing in Birmingham, Alabama 

Steaming a Wedding Dress Refers to one process of removing wrinkles.  You clean the wedding dress and then either steam it or hand press it to remove wrinkles.  You do not "steam clean" a wedding dress.

Wedding dresses are worn on a special day, so they are usually made in a special way.  Delicate fabrics, intricate decorations, and unique pieces of flare are usually included in a wedding gown design, which means they are fragile garments requiring special care.  Dry cleaners that provide wedding dress cleaning and preservation services will also steam or hand press wedding dresses to remove the wrinkles.  But many people don't know the difference between these two processes.


Wedding Dress “Finishing”

“Finishing” is a term used by dry cleaners and professional laundries to describe the process of removing wrinkles through the application of heat.  For the purpose of describing finishing for wedding dresses, there are two types:

Steaming is the process of passing heat in the form of steam through the fabric in order to relax the fibers and return the fabric to more near the original look and feel of the wedding dress.  When steaming a wedding dress, the wedding gown specialist does not make physical contact with the dress.

Hand pressing or ironing a wedding dress passes heat through the fabric using a steam iron to apply a little pressure while providing the heat that relaxes the fabric to remove the wrinkles.

Steaming a wedding dress leaves the fabric softer while hand pressing (ironing) leaves it smoother but with a harder finish to the fabric.   


What’s Better - Steaming or Hand Pressing a Wedding Dress?  

Whether we steam or hand press a wedding dress depends on the weave and designed look of the dress. If the wedding dress is a tight weave, whether the fabric is silk or polyester, we will most likely hand press it to achieve the nice distinct look that was intended when the gown was made.

If the wedding dress is a flowing dress with, say a chiffon outer layer, we will most likely steam that outer layer so it will be loose and flowing. For many wedding dresses, we’ll both steam and hand press the dress, depending on factors such as:

  • Tightness of the fabric
  • Adornments such as beads or sequins

Steaming is used when the wedding dress has more intricate designs including beads and sequins, which are often on wedding dresses from the waist up.  But when beads and sequins are found throughout the dress, most of the wedding dress will be steamed.  Fortunately, steaming will get out a lot of the wrinkles.  More stubborn wrinkles require hand pressing.  

If we can achieve the desired look for the wedding dress with steaming, that’s what we’ll do.  Steaming a wedding dress leaves a softer finish to the fabric than does hand pressing.  However, since wrinkles do not always cooperate, we’ll hand press the wedding dress when the fabric, weave and wrinkles call for hand pressing (i.e., ironing).

Certain other wedding dress characteristics, like pleats, require hand pressing of each individual pleat.  Steaming will not achieve the look desired on wedding dresses with pleats.  


What If Your Dress Has Several Layers?

To finish a multi-layered wedding dress properly, all layers will likely need attention on both sides of the fabric, when the structure of the dress allows.  It is not unusual for a wedding dress with more than one layer and a train to require an hour or two of individual attention from an experienced wedding gown specialist with the right equipment to properly finish (press and steam) a wedding dress.

Whatever method of wrinkle removal is needed, there is no better look for your wedding dress on your wedding day than the look of a freshly steamed or pressed dress.

Wedding Gown Photo in Birmingham Alabama

Complimentary Pressing or Steaming Of You Wedding Gown

We will press or steam your wedding gown in Birmingham, Alabama before your wedding at no additional charge when your purchase a wedding gown cleaning and preservation before your wedding.

Champion Wedding Gown Specialist
2548 Rocky Ridge Road
Vestavia Hills, AL 35243

Read more about this service here.

Topics: Wedding Dresses, Wedding Dress Care, Wedding Gown Steaming, Wedding Dress Steaming

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