Clothing and Vestments

MPF Conservation restores, conserves and preserves all types of textiles in their studio in Portland Oregon; this page is for clothing of all kinds, including including doll clothes and religious or ceremonial vestments.

What does one keep clothing in? Rosewood + Birds-eye Maple Veneered Wardrobe for clothing from the McLoughlin House, right.

What is Foxing? Foxing needs to be understood as it is mentioned often in the textiles pages. Foxing shows up as small rusty-colored spots, sometimes like flecks and sometimes round, example shown left in a historic Wrench Quilt from the Tualatin Historical Society. It cannot be removed, as it is an interaction between specific mold spores and mineral oxides. It is NOT a mold, but a by-product, and while it doesn’t “damage” the fiber per se but should not be allowed to proliferate if possible as it is unsightly, so items with foxing should be stored away from items without it. Make it a habit not to touch an item with foxing then touch one without foxing.

Scarlett before treatment, left, and after right.

Rhett before treatment, left, and after right.

Scarlett’s garments before treatment, left, and after right.

Gone With the Wind Dolls circa 1980

Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler dolls were discovered by our client stored within an unused child’s coffin in an antique store in New Orleans. After they were brought home to their new home in Oregon, their owner wanted them treated properly. The dolls have porcelain heads, arms and legs.

We undressed the dolls and sent them to Howard Sutcliffe to work with their hair. Howard is the Principal Conservator at River Region Conservation in Nashville Tennessee. When they were returned, Rhett’s broken leg was properly repaired.

Echo Oregon’s Historic Catholic Church Garments

Over the years we have repaired and cleaned several garments for the Echo Heritage Association (“EHA”), a group dedicated to turning the historic St. Peter’s Catholic Church (above left) into a museum in Echo, Oregon. Constructed in 1913 in the Portuguese Colonial Revival Style, it has an unusual facade and inside, a faux marble altar and many ornate statues.

Below several projects are discussed:

  • Echo Stole and first Chasuble, 2019
  • Second Echo Chasuble, 2019
  • Echo Stole, 2020

Above right, a historic image of the first congregation. For more information, visit Community Efforts Help Restore Historic St. Peter’s Church.

We treated the Echo Stole and first Chasuble in 2019.

The Echo Stole and Chasuble had damaged trim (above). In several places the trim was torn beyond repair, literally disintegrated. We removed the damaged trims, sewed them for stability, and placed them back onto the chasuble in such a way as they original trim could be seen in the museum. On the back of the garment we used a bit of silk to finish the chasuble in the event that it was worn in a special ceremony.

We treated this second Echo Chasuble in 2019.

The second Chasuble in 2019 had damaged trim (above), and this we hand stitched with special threads back into place — a nice reparation. After the repair the piece could be safely dry cleaned.

We treated the Echo Stole in 2020.

For the Echo Stole in 2020 (above), we removed the eyelet lace which was badly stained from being worn and dry cleaning solutions. We sent the rest of the stole out to be cleaned, and hand-washed the eyelet. After it was returned we ironed and stitched the lace back into place on the stole. This will be placed into the museum, no longer worn.

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