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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Wow! That’s a PINK Dress!

by Obie Linn, Textile Conservator


CAMConservation , textile conservation , pink dress

Now you see it, now you don’t? Or at least, you see it a lot less!

Treatment is complete for this 1920s silk chiffon and velvet dress which showed loss in several places, including the right shoulder as seen here. You may recall the quest for the perfect pink to patch this dress, discussed in the blog entry posted this past December. (Behind the Scenes in Conservation: The Perfect Pink). Once we found a good match, a larger piece of silk in the chosen color was dyed using the scaled-up formula. In this case, we incorporated a few layers of the silk chiffon to help achieve the right opacity.

Patching chiffon is not easy! The filmy translucency poses a challenge in color, movement, and stability. To attach a patch to this dress and account for all the limitations of the material, we used a combination of adhesive film and stitching. Even so, the result isn’t completely invisible, but it does take this from “Oh no! a hole,” to “Oh wow! That’s a PINK dress!”