This week the textile conservation lab welcomed a project from our Kentucky neighbors. This 1924 cotton lace garden party dress belongs to Eastern Kentucky University. It underwent wet-cleaning to reduce the build-up of harmful materials produced naturally by cotton as it ages which cause discoloration and embrittlement over time. The tiny decorative buttons along the top of each shoulder seam were removed prior to cleaning to protect their metal and fabric cores from the water, but their precise positions were documented with tailor’s tacks (those yellow threads sticking out). They were also saved in their original order, temporarily pinned to a piece of foam. Now they are being reunited with the cleaned dress. Here, textile conservator Chandra Obie is stitching them back into place with a fine curved needle. Below left, the dress before washing and on the right, after washing and corsage repair.
Get a better look at textile conservation techniques at our FREE gallery talk this weekend! In Depth Gallery Talk with textile conservator Chandra Obie is this Saturday, April 11, at 2:00 p.m.