Indian textiles that have been passed down from generation to generation will need growing amounts of protection to survive. An antique piece of clothing is usually considered to be one that has been around for more than a century. While clothing will eventually completely deteriorate, there are things you can do to slow down the process so that your antique lasts longer.
When to Display Clothing Only
If the textile tears when worn, this means that the textile is too fragile and you should use it for display purposes only. Look for signs of weakening in the seams as well as loose stitches. You may need to resew the fabric, but this is best left to a professional clothing conservator because you might tear the fabric while trying to sew it.
The Dangers of Light
Always display your textiles in a location that has low light because light causes clothing to fade. Sunlight and fluorescent light are the worst for fabrics, but any lighting can be harmful. Only have the fabric exposed to light when it will be displayed and only display the fabric for limited periods of time. If you think it is unlikely that anyone will look at the clothing for a period of time, put it in storage.
If the clothing will be placed in a display case, consider using a case that has glass that filters ultraviolet light. Make sure that the fabric does not touch the glass by using a spacer in-between the glass and the fabric.
Cleaning Antique Clothing
Keep the clothing as clean as possible, especially when you will be placing it in storage. Pay attention to musty smells. If you sense them, air the clothing in a dark room before transporting it to its long-term storage location. Try to avoid ironing or dry cleaning the clothing.
When you clean the clothing, first learn about the type of fabric that the clothing is made from. While you can wash cotton and linen, washing silk is usually not safe. Also, the type of textile will affect the conditions under which you should store the fabric.
Special Services You Might Need
If you consider the piece of clothing to be very valuable, you should consider commercial archive storage. However, this can be very expensive. If you have a stain on the clothing, only clean the stain if you believe you can do so safely. Otherwise, you should contact a clothing conservator. To learn more, contact a company like Tara Design - Antique Indian Furniture And Art with any questions you have.