4. Using a shade of colorfast cotton
thread which blends with the color of
the linen fabric of the sampler, stitch
the sampler to the mounting fabric. A
curved needle is recommended for this
procedure. Sew between the threads of
the sampler, tacking down alternate
warps and wefts to evenly spread the
support stitches over the entire face of
the textile as well as along the edges.
When the stitching is complete, remove
the basting threads, cutting each
stitch so that the basting threads are
not pulled against the fragile threads of
Reframing the mounted sampler
Since contact with the glass and/or
wood has often caused damage to
samplers in the past, these should
be avoided in refraining. If it is important
to reuse the original frame and
there is not enough room for a face mat
to create an air space between the glass
and textile, glue a piece of cotton cording
into the rabbet of the frame. The
cording is soft so it will compress
when the mounted textile is replaced in
the frame, but the cording will create a
small air space between the textile and
It is also a good idea to replace the glass
with ultraviolet light filtering plexiglass
(such as UF-3) when reframing
textile materials for exhibition.
While the plexiglass cannot completely
prevent light damage, the most
harmful rays are eliminated, and the
plexiglass also has the advantage of
mounted textile with a sheet of heavy
buffered paper, or a piece of two-ply
acid free mat board. This will prevent
the acidity of the wooden backing from
reaching the textile. The paper or board
backing should also be used where no
other backing board is present to act as
a dust barrier.
Samplers should be stored flat and unframed.
If they have been mounted on
a muslin-covered mat board, they can
be covered with a sheet of acid-free
tissue or muslin as a dust cover. Textile
fabrics should be stored in dust-free
drawers and away from light. If they
are stored in wooden cabinets, the textiles
should be separated from the wood
by acid-free matboard or tissue.
Sarah Wolf is the Senior Conservator
at the Texas Memorial Museum.
Ms. Wolf has worked for the Smithsonian
Institution and the National
Museum of the Fiji Islands among
others. She has published extensively
on the Conservation of Native American
Material Culture in American Indian
Art, Four Winds, Journal of the
American Institute of Conservation
and also a series of conservation notes
on a variety of topics, including textiles.
Currently, Ms. Wolf is working
on a project for the Theatre Collection
of the Humanities Research Center at
the University of Texas at Austin. She
is responsible for the restoration of
five of Vivian Leigh's costumes from
the epic Gone with the Wind.
If there is significant information on
the backing board which necessitates
the board being replaced on the back of
the frame, isolate the board from the
Photos: Courtesy of Balcones Research
Center, Conservation Lab, U. T.
Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Winter 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45443/. Accessed August 4, 2015.