How to pack silk?
February 12, 2009 6:57 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to pack a silk dress without wrinkling it?

I'll be flying to another city soon for a formal event, and will need to pack a silk dress in my carry-on suitcase. This is the first silk item I've owned, so I'm pretty clueless. If folding it, I'd need to fold it at least once lengthwise and crosswise - or should I roll it?

I'll of course hang it up and try to steam it in the bathroom during my morning shower once I'm there, but what can I do to avoid wrinkles in the first place? I won't have access to an iron or steamer.

Thanks for any tips!
posted by susanvance to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When I flew with a silk dress, I rolled it inside of a towel. Like a jelly roll, but with the dress as the jelly and the towel as the roll, I guess.

I also steamed it in the shower, and it worked for me. BUT my dress was silk and a little cotton (I think) so maybe it won't be as successful.
posted by iliketolaughalot at 7:22 PM on February 12, 2009

Best answer: It really depends on the garment and the type of silk. In the past, however, I have had good results by layering my dress between two thick sweaters/jeans like a sandwich, and rolling it up gently. Mostly, just try not to squish it too much in transport. Silk is a lot more resilient than it is given credit for.
posted by Mizu at 7:23 PM on February 12, 2009

I'd roll it in a towel and then hang it up on arrival, although I've definitely forgotten a silk dress in a crumpled heap and had it bounce back when I hung it up (not my recommended packing strategy, however).
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:33 PM on February 12, 2009

I second the comments about rolling it inside a towel.

If you need to fold it before rolling it up, fold it lengthwise rather than crosswise, because vertical wrinkles are less visible than cross-wise ones and drop out quicker one the dress is hung. Also, fold it in thirds rather than in half (in the way t-shirts are folded in stores) - this will make any vertical lines less obvious.
posted by girlgenius at 7:51 PM on February 12, 2009

don't be afraid of silk, it is very resilient, and much easier to care for than you may imagine.
do the roll-up thing in your luggage and be sure to unpack right away and steam it in the shower when you arrive. enjoy! silk is not only a soft and luxurious fabric but also very strong and insulating :)
posted by supermedusa at 7:51 PM on February 12, 2009

When I packed my wedding dress to carry across country I followed the directions of the dressmaker. We layered it in tons of acid-free tissue paper. I mean tons, and we layered it so that the folds weren't really fold-like, more like gentle drapes. I also packed it in a flat box, and carried it as my second carry on item. It helped that the dress was thin silk and lightweight cotton, so it really didn't weigh more than the box empty. I had been warned specifically about the water-spot risk on this particular fabric, so steaming was not an option for me. I just hung it up as soon as we got there, and it stayed that way for a week. No problems with wrinkles on the big day.
That said, I would probably go with the above suggestions to roll in a towel, since you are fine to steam it when you get there (and it's not a wedding dress, which brings out obsessive behaviors).
posted by purpletangerine at 9:28 PM on February 12, 2009

Best answer: If nature has taught us anything about silk, it's that you should roll it around something, perhaps some kind of caterpillar or worm.

Barring that, clean new white tissue paper is the way your butler would do it.
posted by Sallyfur at 4:47 AM on February 13, 2009

You can try used dry cleaning plastic bags intead of paper. The cushion and let things slip around a it rather than getting stuck and creasing.
posted by mmf at 9:22 AM on February 13, 2009

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