Monday, October 3, 2011

The Campbell Center - Care of Textile Collections... continued

Stabilizing and repairing damaged textiles was part of the program focus.
This quilt top is one I found at an antique shop in Wisconsin. After some fibre identification under the microscope, we discovered that the degraded fabric was wool. Probably a combination an aged fabric and some too vigorous washing with an alkaline detergent caused the damage. All the rest of the squares were cotton and were in fine shape.

This crazy quilt is made from weighted silk - very common in the 1800s. Silk was sold by the lb. and in order to make it weigh more it was treated with metallic salts. Unfortunately overtime it damages the fibres.

Using the 9-patch quilt top for an exercise,  the damaged wool was backed with an underlayment of  a square of  closely matching hand-dyed cotton - a pure coincidence that I had this with me. Then a overlayment of a sheer grey netting was stitched on top. This sandwich stabilizes and holds the damaged piece in place.

This is the finished repair. It's the kind of repair that would be used on a precious or significant textile where it is important to salvage and maintain as much of it as possible.

Since this quilt top has no special significance (other than I like it and think it's charming) and was only used as a training piece,  the rest of the damaged pieces were removed and will be replaced with new cotton squares - an equally valid repair for this type of textile.

1 comment:

  1. I find this very interesting as I'm restoring several of my grandmother's quilts that are quite worn, but that carry such a sentimental value. Thanks for sharing your techniques.
    best from Tunisia,