cleaning an antique cotton bag?(+any idea on date?)

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sally
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cleaning an antique cotton bag?(+any idea on date?)

Post by sally »

This macrame/stringwork bag was made by one of my 'seafaring uncles' whilst on a voyage, but we don't know exactly which of the uncles or the exact date (in my family, the seafaring uncles go right back to the late 1700s at the very least, so whilst I suspect its late Victorian or Edwardian, it could be a tiny bit earlier. Its definately pre-war).

The fabric itself is perfectly sound, but its definately a bit grubby. It seems to be made in ordinary household cotton string. Any hints on how best to wash it, I have it in mind to line it with a pretty colour and it can then go into active use with costume. :D
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Brother Ranulf
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Post by Brother Ranulf »

I understand from a friend who works in conservation that the best cleaner for antique (natural) fabrics is soapwort - I use a handful of leaves, crushed, in a half pint of soft water and simmer until it reduces to a concentrate, filter off the liquid and this can be used like washing-up liquid - add more water to wash waterever, including hair, feet, linen, cotton, wool, tapestries, dresses.
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Tuppence
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Post by Tuppence »

Date wise I've seen similar ones that are mid - late Victorian, or as you say Edwardian - though that kind of bag had quite a long period of use, cos the macrame was done for so long, and people tended to make up their own patterns.

Shame you can't relate it to a particular one of the uncles, as this is one of those instances where other facts about it may give more accurate dating than the style alone. I'll have a look in a couple of books and see if anything jumps out at me to do with the style, though.

For the washing and stuff - basic old fashioned detergents are the best - http://www.restore-products.co.uk/ specialise in conservation supplies, and have detergents.

Normal white vinegar may also help, in a diluted solution (using as you would a detergent, with a brief soak.

Equally you may find that sun bleaching will work (assuming it's white, and not off white or cream) - leave it damp in a sunny spot.

The main thing is thouhg, that whatever you use, you make sure that you rinse it out completely. Any detergent or chemical (even soapwort) that gets left in could cause discoloration quite quickly.
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Shadowcat
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Post by Shadowcat »

Conservation staff at the Museum of London use plain, cold de "naturised"/"ionised"? water, and leave things to soak. Do not rub, but move gently up and down occasionally. Remove from water, do not wring. Leave to dry on a towel (white of course), and turn occasionally.

I suggest you draw a template of the original size, and ease it gently back to shape while still damp.

S.

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sally
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Post by sally »

Thanks all. I'll start with a plain water soak then, and move onto a little bit of castile soap for the grubby bits on the handle. Apart from being played with by a couple of generations of kids (hence the grubby handles) its never really been used so its good and strong, it can certainly take a bit of laundering as long as I'm sensible about it.

Looking at the family tree, I would guess this is about 1890, we've got a couple of enormous generations about then where out of around 15 kids all born in the early 1880s well over half of them went off to sea at 13, its more than plausible its one of those boys who made this.

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Post by Dave B »

Tuppence wrote:- though that kind of bag had quite a long period of use, cos the macrame was done for so long, and people tended to make up their own patterns..
My Nann still made bags like that in the early '70's, for a change from knitting.
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sally
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Post by sally »

Dave B wrote:
Tuppence wrote:- though that kind of bag had quite a long period of use, cos the macrame was done for so long, and people tended to make up their own patterns..
My Nann still made bags like that in the early '70's, for a change from knitting.
yeah, I remember making horrible things out of hairy string, usually intended for plant holders or dust gathering wallhangings. :lol:

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Post by ViscontesseD'Asbeau »

That is so beautifully made. Definitely right to try and get it back into action - why not!

We have two christening gowns, from my mum's side of the family (old East Riding farming family). One is silk, one looks like cotton. Have never used them except my oldest son was photographed in the silk one when he was 6 weeks old and although a tiny baby, he only just fit into it then!

Have always kept them inside a silk pyjama case my mum kept them in - and never tried to clean them or anything. Now wondering if there's something I should do doing? Looking at them, they could be early Victorian or even the silk one, 18thC? Is there some conservation grade packaging you should keep things like this in? And whether to wash or not, first? Will try and get a photo up. Wonder where you can take such things to get them dated?

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Post by sally »

Acid free tissue paper is never a bad idea to wrap white textiles in, it can help prevent some of the yellowing and keeps it out of dust etc. Maybe a layer of tissue then back into the silk pillowcase?

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