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Thread: Need advice - 100 year old silk from China

  1. #1
    Super Member BizzieLizzie's Avatar
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    A friend asked if I would make her 4 year old a quilt and I gladly said I would. She asked that I used some Chinese silk which used to be her grandmother's wedding dress. Embroidered and stitched by hand by her grandmother 100 years, may be more, ago.

    There isn't enough for a whole quilt and I will need to add fabric to it. My worry is that the Silk will not hold up to wear and tear. I noticed that there is feed sack on the back of the 'collar' pieces, stabilising the embroidery.

    There are little areas where there is weakness in the embroidered tapes already, mainly along the edges. There is wear and tear, water marks and also little black spots. What do you think? Is there any way to try and secure the fabric pieces with new silk or cotton?

    I am open to suggestions. My friend would really like to have these fabrics on her son's quilt and I would like to try and do a good job of it.

    The other question is weather machine sewing will damage the fabrics? I would really welcome all help with this one!

    There are quite a few pictures to come.

    Thank you for taking the time and for the advice.

    One of two pieces making the skirt of the wedding garment
    Name:  Attachment-270239.jpe
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Size:  122.7 KB

    Close up showing the lovely embroidery
    Name:  Attachment-270240.jpe
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    Not sure what these pieces are but at a guess must be the collar. All embroidered with different flowers
    Name:  Attachment-270241.jpe
Views: 71
Size:  57.0 KB

    Water damage and tiny black spots on the back
    Name:  Attachment-270243.jpe
Views: 64
Size:  51.8 KB

    Feed sack on behind of 'collar' pieces
    Name:  Attachment-270244.jpe
Views: 69
Size:  53.5 KB

    Damage on tape along the edge
    Name:  Attachment-270246.jpe
Views: 64
Size:  52.8 KB

    Another close up of the embroidery
    Name:  Attachment-270249.jpe
Views: 78
Size:  139.3 KB

    THe other side of the 'skirt' panel
    Name:  Attachment-270254.jpe
Views: 76
Size:  108.2 KB

    Another area where the tape has perished
    Name:  Attachment-270259.jpe
Views: 76
Size:  139.2 KB

    Close up of embroidery
    Name:  Attachment-270263.jpe
Views: 70
Size:  40.9 KB

    Close up of embroidery
    Name:  Attachment-270267.jpe
Views: 74
Size:  64.8 KB

  2. #2
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    Beautiful silk, the embroidery is amazing.

  3. #3
    Super Member BizzieLizzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewgull
    Beautiful silk, the embroidery is amazing.
    Exactly what I said when I first saw it. Thank you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lucymae's Avatar
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    It it so beautiful. I would be afraid to touch it. It seems that a bed quilt would not be practical. maybe a wall hanging? It is definetly an heirloom. let us see what you accomplish with this challenge!!

  5. #5
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    oh my....no way will that hold up to wear and use...let alone Laundry! and for a child???...I nearly fainted...

    try to explain to her the fragile state of silk and how it must be cared for. Perhaps you can make her a special wall hanging from it or something..But please NOT a childs quilt!

    the water damage with black spots..the spots are from mold.

    you might also do some research online about the care of vintage silk.

  6. #6
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    This is beautiful fabric. I believe the black spots are mold, though. I'd take the fabric to a reputable cleaners and get their take on it. Once I purchased a brand new all silk dress to wear to a family wedding. During the party, the dress literally shredded up the side seams leaving me quite exposed. Turns out, the fabric was found to be old and I was fully refunded. (I ended up wearing my husbands suit jacket for the remainder of the night) Silks can be funny....

  7. #7
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    I would design a quilt with a foundation peicing somewhat like a crazy quilt would be done. Foundattion would be a good qaulity muslin prewashed and ironed. I would use a fine needle in the machine and it should be fine but would test a small area first. I would not try to repair the damaged tape. I would work around the damage. This quilt when finished should be displayed and not used I don't think it will hold up with wear.
    Glenn

  8. #8
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaciqltznok
    oh my....no way will that hold up to wear and use...let alone Laundry! and for a child???...I nearly fainted...

    try to explain to her the fragile state of silk and how it must be cared for. Perhaps you can make her a special wall hanging from it or something..But please NOT a childs quilt!

    the water damage with black spots..the spots are from mold.

    you might also do some research online about the care of vintage silk.
    Same thoughts here.

  9. #9
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    I would politely decline. The fabric is way to fragile to be used in a quilt. I'd suggest she get the mold issue resolved then have the remaining fabric and embroideries made into a shadowbox or wall hanging or picture, framed by a professional picture framer.

  10. #10
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    i can't imagine a child dragging that around in a quilt. the wall hanging idea is a good one. maybe a small strong piece could be used in the label area so that the child can have a part of memory all of the time.

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