Needlepoint is an age-old art form, and the pieces we stitch sometimes endure quite a bit of wear and tear. Sometimes we stumble upon on an already stitched piece and want to breathe new life into it. There are many reasons an individual may seek out restoration services for their needlepoint. Some examples:
1. The needlepoint is crafted into a piece that looks 'dated' with fabric or styling from a different era.
2. The needlepoint is dirty and/or faded and needs to be cleaned.
3. The needlepoint has come out of skew over time and needs to be re-blocked and re-set.
4. The needlepoint, or some component of it's crafted structure, is broken or worn-out.
These are just a handful of obstacles we have encountered. At Rittenhouse Needlepoint, we receive needlepoint in all conditions, and we are prepared to act accordingly. Preserving needlework of any kind is an art form of it's own.
Let's walk through a standard restoration project together.
Step 1 - Assessing the damage
The piece is inspected thoroughly. Notes are made of what the customer likes, and wants to keep, as well as what they don't want to keep. We carry a wide variety of fabrics so that we can find similar materials to the original piece, if the customer desires. This is typically the part where we can make an estimate on the number of hours the restoration project will take. This customer wanted a similar fabric color, and ruching on the gusset.
Step 2 - Deconstruction & Cleaning
The needlepoint is extracted from the old item and is cleaned in a gentle hypoallergenic soak wash to lift grease, dirt, food, pet stains - whatever the needlepoint has endured. Depending on the fiber content, some areas may be pulled and re-stitched in similar fibers. This piece was not very dirty so it did not to be re-stitched. A quick soak wash and Step 2 is complete.
Step 3 - Blocking
While the piece is still wet we start on blocking. This piece in particular had badly frayed edges, so we could not block with nails without putting holes in the border of the needlepoint. Because the piece was so small and delicate - T-Pins on a foam mat did the trick to re-shape the piece. (This method is not reccommended for larger pieces.)
Sometimes multiple blockings are required to re-set the shape of the needlepoint - especially if it has been stitched in wool or acrylic fiber. Sometimes the piece must be dry-blocked if the fibers are not color fast.
Step 4 - Re-Construction
After a the piece was checked for color bleeding, and the beadwork was reinforced with glue - it was reconstructed. We stuck with the original design and gave the piece a new gussett, with a tighter gather on the fabric. The bows and leaves on the top were swapped out for newer materials. Decorative cording and a hanging loop was added.
A happy ending:
- Restoration is charged at a rate of $25/hr + materials & shipping. It is helpful if you let us know up front about how many hours you want us to put into your piece. This helps us to strategize the transformation process while remaining conscious of your wallet.
- If you have the original threads that were used to stitch the piece, consider including them when you send the piece in. That way, if we want to pull and re-stitch a section, we can use the original fibers rather than our best-matching capabilities. If the piece does not need re-stitching, we can use the fibers to create a tassle or decorative cording to compliment your finished item.
- It is helpful to give us as much information as you can on what you like and do not like about the existing item. If you want your new piece to compliment a room or furniture set in your house, considering including pictures for us to work with.