Textile Conservation Conference

logo NATCCUniversity Products will be exhibiting their products at Material in Motion, the 10th Biennial North American Textile Conservation Conference (NATCC) on November 19th and 20th, 2015 from 9 am – 4 pm.  It will be held in the kinetic city of New York. The Fashion Institute of Technology will be the site of two days of presentations and posters that will promote new technology and a deeper understanding of the critical issues facing textile conservators. The conference theme will be further explored through tours and training workshops.  Tours include: the newly renovated Costume Institute, the Department of Textile Conservation and the Antonio Ratti Textile Center at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; transdisciplinary artist Laura Anderson Barbata’s studio in Brooklyn; Penn and Fletcher, a custom embroidery workshop in Queens; and l’aviva home, a design studio in Soho.
Experts in the field are leading the workshops:
•“Aqueous Cleaning Methods” with Dr. Richard Wolbers, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Science, Art Conservation Program, University of Delaware/Winterthur Museum;
•“Basic Patternmaking for Costume Exhibition Dressing” with Tae Smith, free-lance textile conservator, professor at Parsons The New School for Design, New York, NY;
•“Advanced Fiber Identification” with Dr. Denyse Montegut, Professor and Chairperson of the graduate program in Fashion and Textile Studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY;
•“Documentation Color Management Strategies” with Scott Geffert, Senior Imaging Systems Manager, Metropolitan Museum of Art Photograph Studio; and
Fosshape•“Making Mannequins with Fosshape” with Shelly Uhlir, Exhibits Specialist, Mountmaker in the Conservation Department at the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
The NATCC was founded in 1994 as an international forum to share research, theory and practice in the field of textile conservation, and foster collaboration. Though the organization was conceived as a North American venture, it has attracted more global participants with each successive conference and is now an internationally recognized and respected forum for textile conservation. We received 90 abstracts from 25 countries for the 21 spots in this year’s program. We anticipate the largest number of participants to the conference will be from the United States, Mexico, Latin America and Europe.
All who attend bring what they learn from the conference back to their work at home. They find new methods to explore and/or discover suppliers with just the tool or material they need.

Tale of the Three Dresses

A wedding dress can serve as one of the most symbolic and treasured items of clothing in a woman’s closet. Throughout history, brides have long anticipated the occasion to wear exclusive fabrics and rich materials of a luminous color. Let’s be honest – wedding dress is designed to make every girl feel like a princess!

Specialist textile conservators at the Historic Royal Palaces recently completed a major project to conserve five iconic British royal wedding dresses. These wedding dresses are kept in carefully controlled storage conditions at Kensington Palace, enveloped in many layers of protective and supportive packaging materials. The silk satin wedding dress worn by Queen Victoria in 1840 is among one of the most popular dresses in the collection, as it set the trend of white wedding dresses for years to come. If you are seeking the royal treatment for your own special garment, we have some tips and products that will help you conserve your precious gown for years to come!

Unless you want to “trash” your wedding dress (for personal reasons), preserving it is much easier and more affordable than you think! Conserve your gown the way museum professionals do using all archival quality supplies from University Products.

What You Will Need:
• Clean gown. All additional pieces removed and stored separately.
Large textile box. Textile conservators prefer white poly box because it is lightweight yet sturdy, and won’t snag the fragile fabric.
White cotton gloves. Always wear gloves to handle something that can deteriorate from contact with human secretions (yes, even tiny amounts of natural oil that can hide in your fingers. Overtime the invisible “fingerprints” can turn into ugly stains and destroy delicate fabrics.
Unbuffered acid-free tissue paper. Put down a few layers on the bottom of the box, lower the dress, folding it in as few places as possible and place rolls of loosely crumpled tissue paper within the folds. Stuff the sleeves and the area between shoulders with similar “rolls” of tissue paper. Your dress will hold shape and won’t wrinkle from long term storage. Put some more tissue in the corners so the dress won’t move even if the box is being transported. Cover everything on top with a few more loose layers of tissue.
• Add a packet of Silica Gel Desiccant for some internal moisture control.
It is best to store the dress in the conditions that are comfortable for a human! No musty and cold basements or dry and hot attics. Drastic changes in humidity and/or temperature are very very bad for your dress. And our goal is to make it last as long as possible, right?

What NOT to do:
• Don’t try to preserve a dress that is dirty, soiled with sweat, dirt or food.
• Don’t encapsulate the dress in air-less container. Vacuum is not good for the fabric, it will start to deteriorate.
• Do not use boxes with clear windows. They might be pretty, but light will discolor part of the dress that is showing through and it will become different from the rest of the garment.
• Keep away from dust and mold.
• No basements and attics, high humidity or dryness, extreme heat or cold.

What You Should Do:
• Have the gown looked at by a textile preservation specialist or at least professionally dry-cleaned.
• All little rips/snags should be mended, loose threads tied up and hidden. All additional decorations (especially those with metal base) removed and stored separately.
• Obtain a large, acid-free textile box that will easily fit the dress and some tissue paper.
• Handle everything in gloves.

To illustrate this blog post, we used 3 generations of beautiful white dresses, courtesy of one of our treasured #TeamUPI members – Kim. They are her grandmother’s, mother’s and her own wedding gowns. All three were carefully preserved and sent home in archival textile boxes, padded with acid-free tissue paper.

Happy Flag Day!

According to all-knowing Wiki, in the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 and commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.


University Products’ Vice President and General Manager John Dunphy recently had the opportunity to visit Camille Breeze at the Museum Textile Services studio in Andover and took these snap shots. Read MTS’s blog to find out more about Solon Perkins Flag and Mary Baker Eddy Peace Flag projects.