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 bottom.

Passementerie (trims) are not just for decoration, though they are often like icing on a cake!

Gimp trims in particular, such as the tape trim shown on the Hearst Castle Gothic Sofa, also hide the edges of showcovers, including tacks. The gimp trim and tassel fringe shown above was repaired, cleaned and replaced, as discussed bottom of this page.

We often preserve original or historic trims, such as the historic trims above and right, a heavy bullion trim on a sofa from the Washington Legislative Building. If they cannot be used in their entirety, we find ways to incorporate them into the project.

Trims used on pillows for a large project, with some referring back to the settees and sofa they will be sitting on.

The small balloon back has three different trims on it for a highly decorative look!

A lovely tassel trim tucked under a gimp trim on the bottom of a drapery above.
Draperies, shown below, often use large tassels to embellish tiebacks.

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Example of lovely historic passementerie, below.

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

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. 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 fabric house over a century old, and still in business today. They own many of the mills who supply them with decorative textiles.

They will create replicas of their historic passementerie for projects. Because of their historic presence and dedication, they possess documents and designs from long ago which can be revived either as a customer milling or upon their own market interests.

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 from their proper position by threading them as one of the two loops.

Above, the beautiful gold gimp on the gilded chairs in the Doges Suite, shown on Hearst Castle Assessment 2.

Below, we show the lovely linen tassel fringe attached to the settee and chairs in the balcony of the Hearst Theater at Hearst Castle. Conservation of these historic pieces have not gone forward, though our condition assessment and restoration recommendations will define the criteria for its conservation treatment. The historic linen fringe may also be Scalamandre’s, but this has not yet been confirmed. See Hearst Castle Assessment 1. Note: we apologize for the images, but we had no room to back up in order to take a good picture.

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