Frequently asked questions and answers about textiles
Are you thinking about something? Many questions come to us textile conservators at Kalmar County Museum. Here we have compiled the most common questions together with answers.
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If you do not find what you are looking for then just ask. Contact information can be found on the web. You can also reach us via the museum's e-mail address email@example.com or phone 0480-45 13 00.
The collar is a collar with a headscarf that the priest wears with the alb. The neck line is placed over the head before the chair and/or the mess hook is put on and when the chair and/or the mess hook is in place, the neck line is pushed down like a collar. The neck line protects the stole and mess hook from wear, grease and sweat from hair and skin as well as from products such as hairspray and make-up. We see a big difference in the condition of mass hooks and chairs in churches where neck linen is used and where it is not.
The short answer is to take it apart, wash all the parts separately, smooth them out by sanding, and then sew everything back together, by hand. Mässhaks often consist of three layers of fabric – the outer fabric, a middle lining and a lining. The different fabrics react differently to water, so if you don't take them apart before cleaning, you risk that it will never be smooth and nice again.
Old and fragile fabrics cannot be ironed, but they are pinned up and pulled out to their correct shape and moistened. In this way, they become both smooth and get the right size again, should they have shrunk during the wet cleaning.
The first step is to contact the county administration and tell them that you need new storage. Then they can tell you what demands they make and they are forewarned that a big case will soon end up on their side.
The next step is to make a complete list of what you have. Search every possible place for textiles - the archive, the tower room and the bleachers for example. Also measure the longest and widest dimensions of all the items. Keep in mind that you may buy more textiles in the future. Make room for them. If you need help with the inventory and measurement, call us at textile conservation!
We also help to investigate the needs of the textiles. What can hang and what needs to lie? A building antique dealer together with an architect can help with the design and placement of the furniture, and carpenters and painters do the practical work.
A more detailed description of the process, and more good advice, can be found in the National Antiquities Authority's information leaflet Take good care - Planning the storage of church textiles. It can be downloaded for free at www.raa.se.
Because it takes a long time. Aside from embroidery and other decoration, we actually do more when we preserve a mess hook than they did when it was made. They cut and sewed together. We take apart, clean, smooth, mend and sew together. When conserving a fair hook, there can be over twenty meters of hand sewing, and to pin up a part (of a total of six) to a fair hook, we put up to 500 needles.
There are two main aspects to this question. One practical and one aesthetic.
Decide whether your new textile should be a wear-and-throw thing or if you want it to remain for a long time and to be able to be mended and cleaned if necessary. If you want it to last a long time, artisanal production in natural materials is recommended. Wool, for example, is a material that does not wrinkle very well and is dirt repellent. Wine stains are usually easy to wash out of wool. But also other natural materials generally age with dignity.
When it comes to mess hooks and chairs, they should be comfortable to wear – not sticky or too hot. They should also have wear edges at the neck right from the start. Antependia and pulpit cloths, which are to be hung up, need to be carefully assembled.
You need to make sure that your new item fits. Is the screw cabinet wide enough? Are there any empty boxes left?
Regarding the appearance, you should think about how your new textile will fit in with the church room and with the church's other textiles. Find the right color shade. Perhaps symbols, patterns and colors from walls, carpet or pulpit can be taken up?
A good textile artist can take care of both the aesthetic design and produce something sustainable. Ask for CV and references. Please contact us about conservation in connection with the purchase. We can look at sketches and material choices and, based on our experience, give tips on what works in the long run.
This question can be answered from two different points of view: a painting may not have high economic value but it may still be worth conservation because it has values that cannot be measured in money. Here at the museum, we cannot give you financial assessments of the value of your paintings. The biggest reason for conservation should instead be the importance of the painting for your congregation and its cultural-historical value.
At the Kalmar county museum, we can preserve your older oil paintings that are painted on canvas. Unfortunately, we do not have the equipment or experience to handle newer paintings or paintings on, for example, wood or paper.
We do not have the equipment and experience to frame your painting. Feel free to contact a frame maker instead.
No. We are a museum and do not look at the financial value of the objects, but the cultural-historical value. We therefore ask you to contact an antique dealer or auction company instead.
Start with a dry cleaning. Sometimes just a gentle vacuuming with a small brush nozzle makes a big difference! Clothes brush or soft brush, depending on the durability of the fabric, can also be used.
If you want to wash, you need to check that all parts can withstand water - that it does not discolour, for example. If it concerns old household items, such as towels, there is rarely any danger. But tablecloths, wall hangings etc. can have parts that discolour in contact with water. To check the parts, cut a small piece of wire and place between two layers of white blotting paper. Pour on a little of the type of washing water you intend to use and let it sit for at least an hour. The piece of thread should then dry lying between the papers. If no color has leaked out when it has dried, it is probably safe to wash.
Most fabrics are water resistant, but some become very fragile when wet. Really degraded textiles can dissolve in water. In general, it is hand washing that applies and often a small drop of hand washing detergent in the water is enough. Use as large a vessel as possible when washing, for example the bathtub. This reduces the risk of creases forming.
Gently lift the wet cloth with both hands. Handle the fabric carefully in the water.
Let your textile lie as flat as possible and dry. Put rolls of wadding or put inflated storage bags in the clothes so that they don't form sharp creases when they dry.
Keep in mind that clothes were not always washed in the past and were not made to be washed.
Has the accident happened? If you have spilled any liquid on a difficult-to-wash textile, it is important to wipe it up as soon as possible. Use a dry, preferably white, towel and press against the stain from both sides of the fabric. Then take a clean towel that you moisten with lukewarm water or a top. Moisten the stain a little, then wipe it up again with a dry, clean towel. Work from the edges of the stain towards the center. Repeat until you can't remove any more. Optionally, you can take a small drop of washing-up liquid in the washing water. While you are processing the stain, you can ask someone to blow with a hair dryer on the area next to it, this reduces the risk of moisture rings.
There are many home remedies and miracle cures for blemishes. Unfortunately, there are few miracle cures that work without damaging the textiles, especially if they are old and fragile. But if the object is already destroyed by a large stain, it may still be worth trying.
Hopeless spots can sometimes be embroidered over, either with a motif or discreetly in the same color as the fabric it sits on. But maybe you need to make peace with the stain and see it as part of the item's history.
You can frame the textile or leave it hanging open, depending on what it is. If you frame it, you should think about using acid-free materials and if there is embroidery, you should put a passepartout between the fabric and the glass, so that the motif does not flatten. One way to mount, for example, an embroidery in a frame is to sew it to another, underlying, fabric which in turn is stapled onto a tension frame. When you then frame, please choose glass with a UV filter. It reduces fading.
To hang slightly larger textiles, it is often best to use a mounting channel through which you stick a rod or strip. Loops and slats cause uneven stress and deform the fabric. Sew the channel by hand along the top edge of the back and allow the channel to curve slightly. It reduces the risk of what you hang bending around the rod or strip.
Important to think about is that light breaks down textiles. Hang what you are afraid of on a wall out of direct sunlight and be a little careful with the lighting. Do not hang textiles above an element, because soot and dust collect there. Avoid hot and strong lights near your textile.
This is a complicated question that can have many answers. Some supporting questions to find your answer could be:
- Do you like it or do you think future generations will like it?
- Does your item tell a story? If you know things about the item and its maker or user, write it down and put it with the item!
- Is the item worth the money? You can get help with that from an antique dealer or auction company.
If you yourself do not have the opportunity to keep the item in question, it may happen that a museum or local community association is interested. In general, museums and local associations only want to receive objects from the surrounding area and where they have associated information, for example who made or owned it and how it was used.
Textiles are destroyed by light, dirt and moisture. You should therefore store it in a dark indoor environment. Folds and folds can become permanent, therefore it is good to - if possible - lay textiles in a way so that sharp folds do not occur. Shawls and cloths can be rolled and garments should be hung on gently rounded hangers or in drawers. If desired, rolls of polyester wadding or sheet fabric can be placed in the inevitable folds to soften them. A narrow hanger can be padded by wrapping polyester wadding if it is quite hard and then dressing it with tube gas from the pharmacy.
Paper that is next to textiles should be acid-free. Ordinary cardboard discolours. If you use a completely normal cardboard box, you can put sheet fabric around what you are afraid of.
Materials to avoid among textiles are: plastic, paper clips, tape, needles, rubber bands, regular corrugated cardboard and cardboard. Instead, choose string or ribbon and fabric or acid-free paper.
This question can be answered from two different points of view: a painting may not have high economic value, but it may still be worth preserving, for personal reasons. Maybe it was painted by your grandmother? Or it was bought on holiday and is associated with a nice memory that you want to preserve for the future. Here at the museum, we cannot give you financial assessments of the value of your paintings. Instead, the biggest reason for conservation should be your emotional connections to the painting.
We can conserve your older oil paintings that are painted on canvas. Unfortunately, we do not have the equipment or experience to handle newer paintings or paintings on, for example, wood or paper.
Yes! Or almost anyway. If you lay the cloth straight and nice on the sink or on a wax cloth, it will be completely smooth and beautiful when it dries. If there is embroidery on the canvas, it is best to leave the right side facing up. Then the canvas becomes smoother and the embroidery emerges more clearly. Otherwise, put the right side down, because then it will be glossy.
We do not have the equipment and experience to frame your painting. Feel free to contact a frame maker instead.