Knowing that I wanted to store the baby's nicer knitted and sewn garments properly, I left them where they were until last weekend. I took a quick glance and saw, to my horror, a single, tiny, perfectly cut hole in the yoke of her Fair Isle Cardigan, the unmistakable work of a carpet beetle. We really have very little trouble, especially considering all the wool around this place, but every few years I'll find just such a hole. A bit of reading in Home Comforts and on Martha Stewart indicates that carpet beetles are more of a nuisance than moths when it comes to clothing damage. Interestingly, even a touch of a acrylic or even cotton and linen seems to deter the beetles. They prefer 100% wool.
The first step to properly and safely store garments is a good washing, as oils can attract pests. I am currently working through cleaning my stack of baby knits, wool and cotton alike. My plan was to store in ziploc baggies (which is how I safely store my unused yarn) but apparently that's a very bad idea. The tiniest bit of moisture can cause mildew in an airtight container and the chemicals in the plastic can corrode and discolor fabrics.
All sources indicate to store in acid free tissue paper and an archival storage box. I found several sizes at The Container Store. This will not protect against the dreaded carpet beetles, however. I looked at products designed to deter beetles and moths and they were simply insecticides, hardly something you want coming into contact with a Baptismal gown. I have yet to come up with a perfect system, but I'm still reading and hoping to preserve some of the precious little gowns, cardigans, and bonnets for another generation (or another baby, but I'm not holding my breath here!).
Here are some articles I've found helpful.
There's a very special little dress that I can't bear to store away and am considering framing it so I can look at it every day. Have any of you done that? Any tips there?