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Textiles

[This information comes from the LAPADA website with their permission. You may read the entire unedited information on their website by clicking here.]

Antique textiles should be handled as little as possible and their dyes and delicate fibres make them sensitive to bright light, damp or over-dry conditions.They should, however, be checked regularly for signs of damage, mould or insect infestation so that it can be dealt with as soon as possible. Samplers, embroidered pictures and lace can be framed and mounted on a fabric-covered acid-free board with a window mount to prevent it from touching the glass. Do not hang in direct sunlight and when cleaning the glass, use a damp cloth as a dry one will create static which could weaken the fibres under the glass. Weak fabrics can be strengthened by stitching them to a net backing. Never use drawing pins or staples on textiles but stainless steel pins can be used if necessary.

Cleaning

Delicate fabric can be easily damaged and each time a textile is cleaned it is weakened so it should be done as seldom as possible. If a textile is in need of cleaning it is always best to get the advice of an expert as irreversible damage can be done by the amateur enthusiast. A specialist dealer will be able to help you and remember that a textile conservator can also restore torn or damaged areas almost invisibly and can strengthen weakened fabrics by giving them a backing. Never take antique textiles to a commercial dry cleaner or use dry cleaning products at home as the chemicals can cause damage.

Storage

Do not fold old textiles but wrap them in acid free tissue paper, never plastic or polythene, and keep in a clean, dry place with no risk of extremes of temperature or humidity. If the textile is large and must be folded, do so with wads of the tissue along the fold lines. If cardboard boxes are used, ideally they should be made from acid-free card and be lined with plenty of acid free tissue paper.