Feb 022012

This is a very sad tale of a beautiful and savaged shawl, on which the wretched moths (now deceased) did their worst.  Doing justice to this piece in photographs has been very difficult.    The paisley pattern which appears to be printed or woven is actually hand embroidered in 5 colours, so each motif is unique.  There is a tiny blanket stitch to edge the long sides, and the swirling lines are in a loose feather stitch: all incredibly labour intensive work to create a stunning cloth which up until now has stood the test of time.

As the holes are across the entire shawl and several other areas have been weakened, it was decided to back the item onto a new piece of wool.  This would give strength, but also add bulk leaving the item suitable for use as a blanket or perhaps a wrap, but not really as a scarf.  The project took 10 hours.

NB  The method described to save it is suitable for textile conservation/ preservation in museums or archives.  It is a way of repairing something you cannot bear to be without.

1.  A length of lightweight wool was purchased, dampened and dyed to match the shawl

2. The shawl was pressed and backed with bondaweb, a double- sided, paper backed, fusible adhesive for fabrics.  Care was taken not to touch the glue side of the bondaweb with the iron, especially through the moth holes.

3. The bondaweb and its adhesive backing was carefully cut away around the edges of the cloth and holes.

4.  The paper backing was peeled away.

5.  The shawl was pinned to the backing cloth, and smoothed to banish wrinkles.  It was pinned in place and ironed,  using the disguarded paper backing to protect the iron plate from any stray strands of glue.  Fabric of any age moves, and this shawl was far from rectangular.  You have to prioritise smoothness over geometry.

6.  The correct shade of brown was selected in a cotton thread (NB not polyester), and the edges were stitched down to the backing cloth.

7.  The holes were stitched around with large over stitches to stop them fraying.  This job can easily take years – if time is on your side, a web of tiny running stitches covering all frayed edges is the ideal solution.

The stitching can be seen on the back.

9.  The backing cloth is trimmed and hemmed.  I left it larger than the original to protect the delicate edges.

10.  The finished project is pressed with steam and a pressing cloth, and left to dry.

Mending of moth holes from £15.
All items must be laundered and/ or frozen for 1 week prior to my receiving them.
Please get in touch for a quote.