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Subject: Storing silk flag

Storing silk flag

From: Deborah Lee Trupin <deborah.trupin<-a>
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
Anne Lane <alane [at] charlottemuseum__org> writes

>We have recently unpacked a silk flag that was given to the museum
>in 1982. It was stored in a box, its folds padded with tissue. The
>date appliqued on the flag is July 4, 1836 ...
>The flag measures roughly 60 inches high x 80 inches wide. It is of
>a very thin plain weave silk with a glossy finish, and has appliques
>of the same type of fabric in a contrasting color. The silk is in
>narrow strips, sewn together lengthwise with flat felled seams. ...
>The fabric of the flag itself is in remarkably good condition,
>fragile but not shattering. At some time in the past, patches of
>silk were sewn to the back of the flag to reinforce the corners
>where they were somewhat worn. These patches have shattered and are
>pretty much lost. A fine linen backing, machine hemmed, was also
>sewn to all but the bottom three inches of the flag. It is attached
>around the sides and top with running stitches ...
>... In some
>places the silk has come loose from the stitches, and along the fly
>end, there are some long rips along the stitching line. ...
>... It is quite obvious that folding or rolling put
>strains on the silk fabric because of the ill-fitting backing and
>irregular seams.
>I have two questions. Should I remove the backing from the silk to
>alleviate some of the strain? and, assuming I have no room to store
>the flag flat, would it be better to roll it or to fold it? And yes,
>we will probably be consulting a textile conservator once we have
>settled the identity and provenance of the flag. Right now it's a
>mystery object.

Anne, I would recommend that you contact a textile conservator
first--the advice you receive will be helpful regardless of the
flag's provenance.  Assuming you must re-house it now and cannot
keep it flat, I would prefer rolling, around a very wide (at least
10 inch diameter) tube, possibly with some padding out between the
layers. I would most likely roll this flag with the flag in and the
lining out--the opposite of how most lined textiles are rolled. I
would not recommend that you remove the lining, but perhaps
selectively clip stitches that seem to be pulling as you roll.  The
number of times perhaps and possibly are used in this message points
out the need for a textile conservator to see the flag in person and
help you with this.

Deborah Lee Trupin
Textile Conservator
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Bureau of Historic Sites
Peebles Island
PO Box 219
Waterford NY 12188   USA
518-237-8643 ext. 3241

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:30
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 25, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-30-006
Received on Thursday, 13 November, 2008

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