Supporting the lingings
Following on from the last blog post, where the linings from the Spangled curtains were documented, humidified, wet cleaned and supported onto adhesive crepeline, the next step was to support the linings onto the dyed silk support. The damask linings have undergone extensive support stitching. In total, four conservators have worked over 1100 hours to apply the supports and carefully work laid couching in areas of weakness and damage on four curtain linings.
In order to keep our work square to the grain and consistent with each other and across all the linings we have used a stitching grid (see photo below) with 1cm spaced lines.
One of the biggest challenges in supporting the fragile damask has been the scale of the curtains. In order to access central panels we have frequently had to work over rollers in order to reach in and carry out support stitching in these areas.
The next step was to re-join the panels of damask which had previously been deconstructed. One such example of this was the proper left head lining. Small running stitches were sewn to join the panels following the original seam lines.
Netting the damask linings
With repair stitching complete and the damask linings reconstructed the next and final stage of treatment for these important pieces of fabric was for the surface to be netted, using a fine nylon net. As for the silk supports, the net was dyed at the studio to match the crimson and the yellow damask.
Netting the linings has involved laying the dyed net over the face of each curtain lining, taking great care to align the weave of the net to the grain of the silk damask, and pinning it in place. The lining was then hung from a hoist in the studio to allow necessary adjustments to be made. This has been quite an exciting moment, seeing the linings hung for the first time since being removed from the bed.
The net has been fixed in place by working lines of small securing stitches approximately 10cm apart, running from the top to the lower edge of the linings.
Before and After
In the Studio we celebrate the completion of treatment on the damask linings with (what we believe to be) impressive before and after photos.
All of the linings have undergone full documentation, deconstruction, humidification, wet cleaning, adhesive treatment, support stitching, reconstruction and netting. The linings are safely packed away until treatment of the satin is complete and the two layers can be reunited.
To read more on the Spangled Bed, click here.