Handling Antique Textiles when Collecting
If your knowledge about collecting antiques is limited to furniture, Chinese jars, and things from your grandfather's treasure chest, then it's good to know that there's one more thing that you will have to add to your list: antique textiles.
Yes, textiles can be antiques. Antique textiles can be somewhat challenging when it comes to handling, storage and such. Textiles are more delicate to handle relative to other kinds of collections. Nevertheless, the following are some basic techniques and tips in handling vintage textile antiques.
These tips will go a long way especially if you don't have any expert knowledge and experience in handling such valuable materials.
Just like all other antiques, you will need to handle old textiles carefully. Keep whatever you find clean as much as possible. Take note, however, that this doesn't mean that you're going to wash the textile immediately. Just remove visible dust and other foreign articles from the textile for now.
If you really need to wash vintage clothing and crochet items, you will have to make sure that the textile is laundry washable and colorfast. Also, make sure that you wash the textile in cold water and by hand. Do not put starch or bleach while you wash the cloth. Do not iron the textile as well.
If you can't remove the dirt or if the textile is too fragile to be washed, an option would be to use a vacuum to clean the surface. However, avoid direct contact with the fabric. Use some sort of covering like a fiberglass screen to come between the textile and the vacuum.
Once dried or cleaned, you should store antique textiles in cool, dark and especially dry places. Ideally, you should monitor the humidity as well. It is not ideal to store textiles in places where humidity changes drastically. Specialized drawers for storing textiles would be the most ideal place to store the cloths.
Storing antique textiles in attics or in your garage is textile suicide. Not only will it cause considerable damage to the cloth but most likely the damage will be permanent.
Also, tissue papers and wrapping papers do not go well with textiles so don't use them to wrap the vintage cloth. Wood as well is not the best thing to come in contact with vintage textiles. These are but a few of the tricks and tips that you would need to know. There are a lot of other important things that you will need to study if you want to be an expert in antique textile collecting.