How do I …. My Shawl

I am being asked more and more frequently about repairing or strengthening shawls.

Oh, how I wish I had taken classes textile conservation and preservation already. But, I haven’t.

Before proceeding, I want to say I do not encourage the wear of original shawls.

What causes damage to a shawl

  • Folding creases the thread and causes fractures.
  • Dryness can dry out the fibers and make them brittle.
  • Moisture can invite mildew or mold.
  • Moths can eat holes.
  • Time is just time as it wears away the life of fiber.
  • Chemicals/dyes can cause some threads/fibers to be less stable than others. These can deteriorate quicker.


Reading up on the options

Further reading

  • Preservation begins at home: How to care for your textile collections” by Julia M. Brennan. (This is one of the nicer, easy to follow articles for at home.)***
  • Caring for Textiles blog.
  • The Museum Textiles “Issuu” page.
  • “A Conservator’s Approach to Viewing Textiles”, Textile Society of America, Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium, Sante Fe, NM, 2000.
  • Preserving Textiles: A Guide for the Nonspecialist,  Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana:  1999, 92pp.
  •  “Treating Mrs. Robertson’s 1802 Dress”, Costume Society of America, Dress, Earleville, Md,  1993-4, pp. 65-73.
  • “Fabric Wallcoverings: Historic Use, Cleaning and Conservation”, Historic Preservation, The Interiors Handbook for Historic Buildings, Vol. II, Washington, DC, 1993, pp. 5. 21-24.


For in-depth information on shawls and their history, read Paisley, Plaid, & Purled: Shawls of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

PPandP book cover

Published in: on January 14, 2016 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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