Client approached us in 2022 to restore the old family cross stitch sampler dated all the way back to the 1826. Client informed us that their family member used glue to mount it piece of cardboard in order to stabilise it. Unfortunately, the glue caused more damages rather than protection. Our first initial assessment showed that the glue caused fabric discoloration and thread disintegration. We agreed with client to remove it from the cardboard, wash it and remove the glue as much as possible and restitch the most visible areas.
We started the restoration process by assessing the thread for colour fasting. We took small samples of the glue residue and found out that lucky for us the glue was water based and it wouldn’t cause any damage during the washing process.
As the piece is over 100 years old, we used demineralised water and horse shampoo for at least 24 hours to dissolve the glue residue and leftover cardboard. After 24 hours we rinsed the sampler and give it to one more wash and final rinse. As it was sunny summer day, we left out for natural sun bleaching and drying.
Once the sampler was completely dry, we assessed how much of the stitching would be required. We contacted the client to provide more information about the text as some of the parts are still unreadable. Unfortunately, client couldn’t provide any information as none of the relatives are aware of what the text said. With this information we were able to restore the mostly visible parts.
Next step in sampler restoration we tried to colour match the original threads to current shades of DMC stranded cotton. As some of the current shades of DMC are brighter, we had to dirty them up by dying them in weak tea and coffee to match the shade as accurately as possible.
Before starting restitching the sampler we framed up the cotton calico and catching stitched the sampler with monofil thread. We restitched the damaged areas through calico. This way our repairs would be completely removable.
Once the sampler was fully restored, we mount it on the Dibond board for further framing by client.