This family sampler of my Mom's (step mom) was framed under glass, and subjected to a humid climate in storage limbo while my parents moved and built their dream house a few years ago. The maker, older relative was long passed and I had never met her.
When I found it in the storage building, I really thought it was beyond saving. Mom told me to just discard it. That made me want to try and save it, for her sake.
I decided that it was a lost cause, which made me want to try and save it. I decided that I couldn't make it any worse...
It had spots of mildew and many yellow areas, I suspect due to exposure to lignin, a chemical in paper from wood pulp (the same stuff that turns newspaper clippings brown). It was mounted years and years ago on a cardboard mount, long before people realized that textiles should only be exposed to acid-free paper.
It was worked on linen and trimmed WAY to close for the framing.
See the residual paper/cardboard around the edges? It was glued to the cardboard mounting. What a freaking mess!
I had this little sample of Vintage Textile Soak I had picked up somewhere and thought I would give it a try...
I soaked it in tepid water with the dissolved wonder product. I soaked it overnight...afraid to soak it any longer because I didn't want to damage the dye in the old embroidery thread.
The water was disgusting before I started rinsing out the cleaning agent.
I soaked and rinsed until the water was crystal clear...you can see below that I wasn't quite "there" yet...
I gently squeezed out as much water as possible before rolling in a clean towel and squeezing further.
Using a pencil, I traced a rectangle of the right dimensions on a piece of foam board to use as a guide, then I stretched out the damp piece and pinned generously before allowing to air dry.
It's not perfect, and I think it looks cleaner than my poor photography demonstrates. I will remove the pins and press it well before choosing some neutral fabric that closely matches to "make" a fabric mat for it using overlapping folded strips. I will show that part later.
There is some very slight staining in places, but I choose to call that patina. We'll see how it looks when the whole restoration is done.