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An example of textile restoration: a woman’s dress from ca. 1770

This robe à l’anglaise was restored and prepared for presentation at an upcoming exhibition. The dress was made in England ca. 1770 and originally consisted of an outer robe (mantua), a stomacher, and an underskirt that has not survived.

The coloured, striped silk of the dress was partially stained due to wear and exposure to damp. The dress was first carefully vacuumed to remove a layer of loose dust particles. A tear that had been roughly darned at an earlier time was causing further damage by pulling the fabric. The stitches were removed and the tear mended by lining the outer material with matching coloured silk, and stabilising it with flat stitching and reeled silk thread.  

For the presentation of the dress, a bodice was made out of cotton to which the stomacher and tape with a row of eyelets were attached (fig. 1). The tape with the corresponding hooks was secured to the dress (fig. 2). Further enhancements include the silk underskirt, dyed to match the original fabric, a hoop skirt (pannier) and a petticoat. A mannequin was especially made to fit the silhouette of the dress using materials that would not cause any harm to the fabric and materials (fig. 3).