I have in my stash quite a few traced embroideries (e.g. Semco and DMC). They are mostly on hemstitched doilies - some quite large and all Irish linen. Since I would prefer to be able to change the designs - maybe do some whitework or the like - I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on how I can remove the tracing These are all more than 50 years old so it has had a good long time to react with the fabric fibres. I really don't want to have to use bleach as that would weaken the linen too much., All and any ideas are very welcome.
Hmmm. Hi, Marg! By tracing, do you mean pre-printed designs? I wonder if they were meant to be "wash-out-able"? You might try just one tiny section, using a Q-tip and some gentle cleaner, to see if it can be removed. I'd hate for you to try washing it, only to set it further.
I'm afraid I'm not much of a help, but I do agree with you - I'd not want to use bleach, either!
Thanks Mary. Yes these are the designs that were preprinted (I guess we mean the same thing) i.e how I bought them sith the instructions and thread colours , using stranded cotton from whoever sold the piece - DMC or Semco or Coats Anchor. In those days it never occurred to me that I could do it any other way except perhaps ironing on a transfer - the designs are nice but I have so many other ideas for which I could use the linen. I don't like the colour choices and could change those if it is totally impossible to get rid of the designs- however I think they might stay in my stash in that case for that rainy day that never arrives.
I could try cleaners on whatever is on the linen outside the hemstitching - a great idea - will let you know how I go.
Sometimes one just needs a gentle nudge, or in my case, maybe a good shove!!!! Firstly I tried on some of the printing on the outside and then decided since it looked paler, what could I lose, so decided to attack the entire piece. First of all I scrubbed the tracing with Preen soap. I use liquid preen on any stains before normal washing where it usually works like magic especially on greasespots while I keep the soap for any stains that might be more stubborn so it ahd to be my first port of call. The soap I have is many years old as it is rarely called into service .
Well to return to my method. I spread the centre out on the bench and rubbed well with a very wet cake of soap. I then used some detergent - handwashing actually - and lots and lots of elbow grease. I kept telling myself that linen thread is stronger when wet so no harm should come to the fabric as it is not at all weakened by age. It did need lots of rubbing but the result is 100%. When I press it I will put it onto my blog.
thankyou for that gentle nudge :) Now which one will I try next?
Marg, if these are printed fancy work pieces then they cannot be removedwithout doing some damage to the linen . It does weaken them and also tends to make them "fluffy". Even though it doesn't look as though it is weaker the threads are so don't use this method on something important because it could put a hole in it. Sandra
The fabric still has nice smooth threads viewed under my lens. I appreciate that excess abrasion can cause fluffing of fibres . It would be much more of a problem if the yarn used in the construction of the linen fabric had been tow not line - this certainly looks and feels like line linen, certainly warpwise. It is fairly closely woven, more than 45 threads to the inch, and is not quite even weave.
I also considered that the rubbing I did would have been not harder on the fabric than the wet finishing that would have been done after the linen had come off the loom and in any case the linen is of not much value to me in its old state. Maybe I have reduced its life a small amount but I do not feel this is a disadvantage at this stage. Linen does wear with constant use and I would probably not have tried this if it had been subjected to years of wear beforehand. I always wonder about the wisdom of freezing my damask serviettes and tablecloths before I iron them . This must subject the fibres to incredible strain. i have done this for many years and I continue to do so because it gives such a nice finish . One of my tablecloths belonged to my greatgrandmother and I am sure it will see me out.
I took photographs but an allover cream piece just is not photogenic on its own -so sorry, no blog entry.
Sadly I have to confess that the tracing is not completely gone - there are a few lines still visible. I didn't see them until the fabric was pressed. I will repeat the process and hopefully then have a perfectly clean piece of linen. At the moment I think I could safely use the reverse side without anything showing through.
It has suddenly occured to me that there is something I didn't make quite clear.While I said my piece of cloth is still nice and smooth I am certainly not advocating that everyone should use this method as abrasion can have a deleterious effect on fibres. .I chose to do what I did quite conciously with the knowledge that linen's strength increases in a wet state . Also if I harmed the fabric in the process I was prepared to accept the consequences.