antique fabric preservation
September 19, 2005 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Preserving and protecting a textile: I have an old theater backdrop painted on muslin. It is a little water damaged but otherwise in good condition, except for fraying around the edges. How can I repair the edges and protect from future damage while displaying it? The archival sites mainly talk about storage and don't really deal with home diy ideas or tips.
posted by gingembre to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found that the Vermont Painted Theater Curtains conservation section had some information that would be useful for a non-specialist. In addition the email/address/phone for Christine Hadsel, the project director are available on the site.
posted by jessamyn at 6:22 PM on September 19, 2005

Hemming the edges will stabilize them, and prevent fraying. But on a long panel, say anything over about 36", it is a matter of some skill to make a simple roll hem with lockstich or chainstitch formations that doesn't introduce a tendency to curl or wave the hanging panel. Blindstitching a roll hem would be the preferred method, as a blindstitch can be loose enough to give the hem some local give, which eliminates the tendency to curl or wave, and if picked only halfway through the fabric on the facing side, as a proper blindstitch is generally formed, will not show stitches from the front side.

Blindstitching can be done by any good seamstress by hand, or by tailor shops with a curved needle blindstitch machine, such as made by Strobel.
posted by paulsc at 8:16 PM on September 19, 2005

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