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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services

samplers and embroidery


typical problems

Embroidered samplers frequently yellow when they age, often so much that they appear a dirty brown colour. This is a combination of the natural degradation of sampler material and the acidic backboards they were mounted on. This acidity accumulates over the years, not only yellowing, but also adding to the fragility of the samplers and the degradation of their appearance.

Fading of the threads is also particularly noticeable in older, framed cross-stitch or embroidery samplers. These often appear an overall muted brown. Unfortunately, the fading of the threads cannot be reversed. The light damage which affects these threads is cumulative and we cannot restore the original colours once they have been lost.

Holes and fraying threads are common either from mishandling, accidental damage or insect attack.



Textiles_Sampler and Embroidery


treatment options

Most embroidered samplers benefit from a complete washing treatment which removes acidic products and stabilises the sampler for the future. While our textiles conservators cannot restore the original colour, the reduction of the yellowing makes the sampler look fresher, cleaner, and become more stable for the future.

Holes and loose threads can be easily stabilised and secured to conserve the integrity of the sampler and its design.

We recommend that cross-stitch or embroidery samplers be framed using conservation grade materials that are acid free and cause no adverse pressure or environmental effects on the sampler.



Ivory Fan_Embroidery

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