Passementerie

MPF Conservation restores, conserves and preserves all types of textiles in their studio in Portland Oregon, this page discusses the preservation of passementerie, or trims.

Conservation of the historic Scalamandre passementerie on the Hearst Castle Gothic Sofa, right, after treatment, is discussed below.

Above, before treatment, left, and after treatment, right on the right-facing corner.

Scalamandre Passementerie on the Hearst Castle Gothic Sofa

Historic passementerie should be repaired and cleaned instead of replaced. The lovely Scalamandre tassel fringe sat under a gimp tape, shown above, and so tassels were retied, and breaks were repaired in several areas before cleaning. Below we show stages of repairs.

As you look at the worst break below on the right-facing front corner, notice the cream woven tape on the back. This held the break as we treated both fringe tassel and gimp tape, and when treatment was completed we removed the tape.

Scalamandre is a very old house in business today. They will create replicas of their historic passementerie for projects.

Above, the broken passementerie on the sofa. As it is removed and inspected off the sofa we can see the issues. A tape is used to hold the tape to the proper size for reweaving, and tassels that are coming undone are isolated for repair.

The top of the fringe will be covered by the historic gimp tape (see image of the leg with the completed tassel fringe attached below), so there is no needed to match the fiber. With a heavy cotton thread in a matching color, the “weaving” is done into the top for about an inch on either side, loosely at first so the repaired tassels can be woven into the passementerie.

Tassels are repaired and pieced into the passementerie, and a final reweave with the cotton thread is performed that secures them into the area which will be covered by gimp tape.

The tape is left on until it the passementerie is placed back onto the Gothic Sofa, above left. Small evenly spaced upholstery tacks set the fringe into place. The tape is cut and removed at the last minute, above right.

The gimp tape was applied by hand stitching, left. Care is taken to provide the loops at the top which peek over the gimp tape on the right-facing front corner, right.

All over the passementerie there were simpler repairs, examples shown above. We wove a braided of coarse linen threads to mimic the loops that held the tassels, and with this we were able to save tassels which were about to fray and drop by threading them as one of the two loops.

Below, for fun, the lovely linen tassel fringe attached to the settee and chairs in the balcony of the Hearst Theater at Hearst Castle (we did not work on it, but assessed the set). This may also be Scalamandre, though we have not confirmed this. See Hearst Castle Assessment 1.

Examples of lovely passementerie, above and below,
saved to be reutilized on the historic objects.