Later this year, to coincide with the school summer holidays, there will be an exhibition of some of the many treasured textiles from the costume and textiles collections. Highlights include large patchwork bedcovers, embroidered letters and clothing. The exhibition will explain their significance and tell the fascinating stories of the people behind each object.

Conservation work began in October last year and currently in the lab, there are two objects being treated. One is an intricate and colourful hexagonal patchwork dressing gown, made for the wearer by his mother while he recuperated from injuries sustained in WW1. The hexagons have been hand stitched together and then the garment made with the sewing machine. It is made of silk and there are many colours and many different weave patterns included in the garment. The main damage has come from its continued use within the family before it was donated to the collection in 1974.

The image shows the conserved dressing gown, mounted on a bespoke padded mannequin, with soft arm supports and petticoat.

The image shows a section of the patchwork near the fastenings. The netted, repaired hexagon on the right was done approximately 40 years ago when the dressing gown was last on display, the net was the finest available at the time. On the left, the fine pins are holding a new piece of repair net prior to being stitched down. The difference in quality and fineness of the net is now obvious, the current repair is significantly more discreet, yet still effective. The old repair will not be removed, to take the stitches out will quite possibly cause more damage to the already weakened silk fabric, and the colour of the net is a good match.

This is just one of over 20 objects that will be on display, a great opportunity to view and learn more about some of our textile treasures.

Textile Treasures will run from 26th July to 6th September 2020.

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