Two dresses dating from the 1920s came to OTC to stabilize damage and prepare for display. The flowered dress had a vulnerable tear in the front of the skirt that was repaired with a custom-dyed underlay and stitching. The green dress had damage from perspiration, causing the edge of the armhole to tear away. It was repaired with custom-dyed patches to support and enclose the weak, damaged area.
Before and after treatment of the flowered dress
Detail of the tear in the skirt before and after treatment
The green dress which was treated for damage to the underarms
Detail of the damage to the underarm before and after treatment
OTC received a set of WWII sailor's blues from the sailor's grandson, who wished to have them cared for and prepared for display as a surprise for this mother, the sailor's daughter. The uniform was in poor condition, the victim of a robust insect infestation, mold, and extensive loss. The uniform was cleaned, repaired, mounted, and framed.
Before and after pictures of the uniform tunic
The finished and framed tunic and hat with happy clients
Sometimes a little basic "polishing" and a proper mount are enough to transform historic clothing from tired, old clothing to artwork ready for display and appreciation. This 1940s dance costume underwent such a treatment. Before treatment, on the unpadded mannequin, it hangs limp and creased. After treatment, the costume is fresher and fits the mannequin properly, ready for a curtain call more than 60 years after it left the stage.
Baby's christening dress
This heirloom baby's christening gown was damaged in a recent encounter with a toddler. A tear at the center front extended through the whitework embroidery into the body of the gown. OTC was able to almost invisibly repair the damage.
Detail after treatment
Christening gown before treatment
Before treatment detail
Christening gown after treatment
WWI pennant of the 136th Field Artillery, Company E
The last survivor of the 136th Field Artillery, Company E, inherited the company's WWI pennant. His heirs wanted the pennant treated to look its best and then to mount for display after many years of it slowly sagging and distorting inside a commercial poster frame. The pennant underwent cleaning on the vacuum suction table, was pressed and humidified to correct the creasing, and then mounted on a conservation-safe padded board.
The pennant on the vacuum suction table undergoing cleaning. Blotting paper was used to remove surface soiling, which you can see by the yellow patches on the used paper to the left.
WWI trench memento
Before treatment, this World War I piece of "trench art" or memento was in tatters, barely held together by its silk floss embroidery. OTC stabilized the object and compensated for loss with custom-dyed support patches and mounted it for framing.
Trench art after treatment and framing
Trench art before treatment
This large Chinese embroidery on silk satin was suffering from sagging after many years of display in a private home. OTC was able to create a large mount to correct the damage and prevent its return while still returning it to its place of honor at home.
After treatment on custom-made mount
Before treatment, with distortion from previous mount and storage
Creation of an oversized padded board to support and display the embroidery
This printed antique banner had suffered many years of neglect before a new owner decided it should be cleaned and prepared for display. OTC carried out wet-cleaning, stain reduction, removed a disfiguring border, and prepared a new conservation-safe mount for its long-term display and enjoyment.
After treatment, cleaned and mounted on custom-made padded board
After treatment detail with yellowing and tidelines significantly reduced
Before treatment detail with soiling and yellowing with dark tidelines from water damage
This needlepoint came to OTC roughly cut and tacked to a small bench. It had served as upholstery for so long it was distorted and the ground fabric was failing and split in places under high tension. The owner planned to recover the bench, but wanted to salvage the needlepoint in a manner where it could still be used. The needlepoint was removed from the bench, underwent treatment to try to flatten and square it, and was stitched to a new support fabric that helped hold the splits closed and infill minor loss. The stabilized needlepoint was "mounted" in a new, fabric "frame" and fitted with a pillow insert that closes with antique buttons on the reverse.
The needlepoint after treatment and transformation into a decorative pillow
Needlepoint before treatment, after removal from the bench
The needlepoint as it arrived, tacked to a small bench
This beaded bridal tiara had been used by several brides since the 1940s before it came to OTC to be prepared for use by the next bride in the family. The tiara had been glued to a cardboard backing (probably in the 1970s), there were several layers of mismatched and damaged tulle, and the adhesive had yellowed and become brittle. OTC removed the cardboard and as much of the glue as possible. A new rigid support was prepared using Fosshape, a heat-moldable polyester felt, and covered in silk. The new support could more closely follow the peaks of the beaded tiara, restoring some of the light, airiness of the delicate beaded piece. A custom-made, conservation-safe box with a silk-covered form was prepared to protect the tiara during storage between family weddings.
Before (top) and after (bottom)
The tiara is distorted, slumping away from its cardboard support, and yellowed from the adhesive that once held it to the cardboard.
Before treatment, from above
An overhead view shows the multiple layers of support and tulle the tiara had acquired over the years.