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Storing a skirt with boning

This topic contains 9 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Meggi M 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #137690

    Meggi M
    Participant

    Hello everyone! I have a bit of a conundrum and I can’t seem to find answers anywhere, hopefully the hive mind can help me out 🙂

    In the collection I have an 1860s ball gown style satin skirt, a bit poofy with a bustle, pick ups, and the whole nine yards. As I was preparing to store it flat in an archival box I realized it has curved boning running horizontally around one side of the skirt (not all the way around for some reason).

    So I know I can’t just pack it like I normally would and leave that unsupported. It would take an incredible amount of tissue paper to hold that up, so my thought is to build a sort of mount from ethafoam to slide up inside the skirt, provided the whole deal will still fit in the box.

    Any thoughts on this? Has anyone dealt with something like this before? Thanks as always!

  • #137719

    Nicole Peters
    Participant

    Hi Meggi!
    Thanks so much for your inquiry. Based on your description, it does indeed sound like you will want to provide some structural support for the curved boning of the garment. You mentioned that the dress material is satin: what material is on the interior of the skirt? I ask because you will want to choose a mount material that won’t abrade or snag against the textile. Sometimes I will cover an Ethafoam support mount with a softer material (i.e Tyvek, muslin, Volara, etc.) to avoid having the rough texture of the foam placed against a soft material. Would you be able to attach a picture of the dress and the designated box?

    Best,
    Nicole

  • #137727

    Meggi M
    Participant

    Hi Nicole,

    The interior of the skirt is a very soft cotton, I will definitely need to cover the support with muslin. I’ve included a few pictures of the skirt, one from above and one from the side where it’s easier to see how much higher one side of the skirt sits because of the boning. The box is a standard, large size flat storage box.

    • #137730

      Meggi M
      Participant

      Apparently the photos I took are too large, will update when I retake them.

    • #137742

      Nicole Peters
      Participant

      Great, thank you Meggi!

  • #137752

    Meggi M
    Participant

    Let’s try this again: bird’s eye view of the skirt on the table.

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  • #137754

    Meggi M
    Participant

    This is a side view so that you can see how much higher the side with the boning sits

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  • #137756

    Meggi M
    Participant

    And the box: standard archival box. Fairly large.

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  • #137761

    Nicole Peters
    Participant

    Thanks for the pictures, Meggi.

    Based on what I can see from the images you provided, it looks like your primary concerns with housing are going to be: supporting the interior boning and avoiding compression/distortion/abrasion of the textile fabric. It also looks like there are some unstable fibers and fraying material around the waistband. I have had success with storage supports for textiles using custom fabricated cotton stockinette “pillows” filled with needle-punched polyester batting (non-chemically bound!). Often times I will insert a layer of acid-free tissue as a “liner layer”, then build up the support area as desired with the hand-sewn pillows inside the tissue layer. That way, the tissue liner layer receives any abrasions incurred by the insertion/removal of the pillows, and you can custom-fill and custom-fabricate each pillow to support the textile as needed. This method also allows for flexibility and rearranging of support materials. Sometimes with textiles I find that using a rigid storage mount material (such as Ethafoam) is problematic when trying to support the contour of a complex shape, whereas the stockinette pillows are nice and mobile, and I can easily arrange and rearrange them as needed inside the garment.
    Does that make sense, Meggi? If not, I can look in my archives for some images of storage mounts I’ve fabricated or have documented.

    A few things to note about the stockinette and polyester batting.
    1. Be sure to put the stockinette through a hot wash (no detergent) to remove any potential sizing on the fabric. Stockinette comes in a variety of sizes. Be sure to not overly-stuff the pillows. You want them to be supportive, but not stuffed to the point that you can’t manipulate the shape.
    2. Choose needle-punched polyester batting. This type of batting is formed mechanically by using barbed needles to expand the fabric. Chemically-bound battings are made with resins that bond the fibers; these resins have been found to yellow and then can potentially transfer onto textiles.

    Here are a few links to textile storage tips:
    You can see an image of some small stockinette pillows used for a pair of moccasins (Fig. 32) in this article provided by the Minnesota Historical Society: http://www.mnhs.org/preserve/conservation/reports/textiles_storage.pdf

    AIC:
    https://www.conservation-us.org/about-conservation/caring-for-your-treasures/textiles#.WjKkIbQ-eRs

    I’m happy to help with any questions you have, Meggi!
    Best,
    Nicole

  • #137762

    Meggi M
    Participant

    Thank you Nicole! You’ve been a tremendous help already, if you come across any pictures I would love to see them but I do think I understand so don’t go out of your way.

    Best,

    Meggi

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