Maren Rozumalski

Book and Paper Conservation

Suturing Velvet

This 19thcentury European sheath (scabbard?) was a collaborative project with metals conservator Kasey Jane Morning ( I was responsible for stabilizing the velvet embellishment.

The velvet was brittle, and the purple pile was worn away from most of the fabric. It was preserved where the metal portions overlapped the velvet. The lower metal piece has slipped, exposing the intact fabric. Approximately half of the fabric has been lost from the sheath completely.

The edges of the cloth needed to be prevented from lifting and cracking further. Japanese paper sutures (bridges made of just a few fibers) were used to secure the edges without restricting them. The sutures were used only where the pile was missing; Japanese paper hinges were applied under the cloth where the velvet was intact (those areas are circled in green). Wheat starch paste was used as the adhesive throughout the treatment.Watercolors were used to tone the sutures in situ once they dried.

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