Whether putting away one season’s set of clothes or storing a wedding dress, tidying away winter quilts or keeping a spare set of curtains for a rainy day, it is worth storing textiles properly to avoid decay:
- Never leave fabric folded in a sealed cardboard or plastic box for years.
- Never pack away a soiled garment (sweat, perfume and alcohol darkens over time if not removed before storing).
- Layer quilts between clean cotton sheets and fold the trio accordion-style. Preferably place textiles on a shelf or in a drawer (lined with acid-free tissue paper) so they can breathe easily; if using a box or cedar chest, line them first with acid-free tissue paper to prevent direct contact with the cardboard’s chemicals or wood’s oils.
- For folding clothing, lay the hem down first and then fold the dress accordion-style, placing crumpled acid-free tissue paper between each fold. Stuff the inside of bodices and sleeves with crumpled tissue to prevent creases which lead to the breakdown of the fabric’s fibres.
- If hanging garments, wrap a wide hanger with cotton batting and cover with muslin or a similar breathable fabric. Then stuff bodices, sleeves and any deep folds in the fabric with acid-free tissue. Cover the dress with another layer of muslin and hang, uncrushed, in a cool, dry place away from direct light.
- Check the condition of stored textiles – if boxed, repack so the folds are in different places; if hung, wash the muslin covers. Air out quilts and tapestries once a year but do so away from direct sunlight which can fade the fabrics.
- Wear cotton gloves while handling delicate fabrics like antique silks and fragile lace and wall-hangings to avoid the oils and sweat from your skin soiling the material. Have them professionally cleaned and packaged in acid-free tissue paper to prevent fabric from yellowing.
- Remove any metal rings or hooks before storing textiles.
- Vintage linens should be hand-washed in hot water with mild soap, rinsed and line dried if possible. If ironing is required, mist with distilled water rather than starch as this can attract insects.
- Never use colored tissue to store textiles as the dye can bleed into the fabric
- Don’t roll hand-painted textiles as the paint may crack
Dotmaison.com December 4th, 2009
Posted In: Top Tips