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1810 gown restoration – case study

This gown came to us all the way from America, a client found it when her grandmother died and want to display it. But it had been stored in a binbag in the attic, so had suffered badly for heat, light and insect damage.  The fine silk embroidery had almost gone.   

It was couriered to us, after providing very careful packing instructions to the client.  On arrival, we unpacked it, and gave it a full assessment.  We also had it spend some time in our deep freeze to kill the moth eggs it held.  Following a very careful clean, using a conservation vacuum, we began the delicate task of taking the skirt apart and applying new supporting silk, which we custom dyed.   Each piece was carefully supported using silk thread dyed to match.  The skirts embroidery was then, reapplied where needed through the two layers of silk, and a conservation net applied over the top to protect it further. 

Once repaired, the skirts where reattached, by hand using identical stitches.  We then packed it in multiple layers of conservation tissue and support forms, for the courier to return to the USA. We found the lady a specialist dummy maker to make a custom dummy to the dresses size and shape, so it could be safely displayed in a glass case, with conservation grade glass to protect from light damage.

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