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|Care of Leather Goods|
Lace Restoration and Care
Lace is romantic, highly prized, and saved as an heirloom. Fine handmade pillow or needle lace was made prior to the end of the nineteenth century. The machine lace manufactured thereafter has produced fine looking and much appealing lace. Any lace remnant or article can be cleaned, restored, or preserved with the wet cleaning method. Dry cleaning is not recommended for most lace, but if necessary and in doubt get an opinion from a professional.
Lace fiber is often cotton, but there are silk, linen, woolen, and ramie laces. Most can be hand washed with care. Any vintage lace, such as Duchess, Honiton, Mechlin, or Carrickmacross for example, may require delicate professional cleaning.
Prior to washing lace, lay the lace item on a firm paper or muslin and trace the outer dimensions by pin prick or a sharp pointed pencil. This guide will be used for shaping the article back to true form and original size.
The lace is to be layered as a sandwich, made of tulle, muslin or cheesecloth, with lace in the center and fabric (tulle) support on either side. Loosely baste the three layers on the outer edge and a few long stitches within the area and center to hold the lace in place as well as avoid distortion while cleaning.
Soak the article for a few hours with tepid water, and 1 to 3 tbs. of baking soda to a quart of water. Use a plastic or glass vessel, and do not use metal container for soaking. Remove lace from soak water and gently hand wash with a mild soap by squeezing the piece with both hands. Do not ever “rub” lace for it is fragile and could break. Rinse several times in clear water; lay it on a clean Turkish towel till moisture is absorbed. Press while damp on wrong side over a dry towel under the lace to provide loft and density. The towel is good padding under the lace.
When pressing (ironing) the lace, take care with the iron tip so it does not tear or break the brides (mesh) in the lace. Set the lace aside on a flat surface after pressing, in order for it to air dry.
When storing lace, it should be layered with white muslin as a barrier between it and other fabrics. Acid-free paper can also be used as a buffer to protect and preserve lace. A lace garment should not hang for more than a week or so, because lace will weaken and break as it is distorted by gravity.
If you have any special questions regarding the cleaning of lace contact Evelyn S. Kennedy at 860-464-2001 or by e-mail Sewtique@aol.com
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