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Conserving Your Textiles to the TMC

Caring For Textiles

While textiles may not seem fragile at first glance, they are in fact quite sensitive to their environment. Light can fade and degrade textiles as they age. Humidity can cause mould growth and fabrics can be stained easily. Moths and other insects eat woollen garments and damage any adjacent materials in the process, be they natural or synthetic. Rodents are highly destructive to textiles which they shred and soil while collecting nesting materials.

Whether your textile is a rare antique collectable, a treasured family heirloom or just a favourite item of clothing or home décor, it is important to store and clean it properly. There are a number of online resources available which can instruct you on the proper care of your textile:


Caring For Textiles - A Selection of Local Suppliers

The Textile Museum of Canada provides the following list as a service for our visitors. The Museum does not regularly engage the services of outside contractors. Individuals should make their own independent assessment of any contractor. We do not warrant the information or services of the suppliers listed below. The list is not exhaustive.

Dry Cleaners & Specialty Laundry:

  • Boyd's Cleaners
    727 Dovercourt Road
    416-536-1490
  • Del Ray Cleaners
    586 Parliament Street
    416-925-7393

Rug Cleaners:

  • Royal Antiques Rugs
    270 Eglinton Avenue West
    416-488-2029
  • Turco-Persian Rug Co. Ltd
    452 Richmond Street East
    416-366-0707            

Framers:

  • Akau Framing
    1186 Queen Street West - Rear Unit
    416-504-5999            
  • Art & Gallery Services
    345 Sorauren Street (1 street east of Roncesvalles Avenue & south of Dundas
    Street West)
    416-534-7399

Repairing Textiles

The services of a professional conservator should be considered for particularly valuable, damaged or fragile pieces.

Conservators can be found in the yellow pages phone directory. A list follows of some local professionals. You may also refer to the Canadian Association of Professional Conservators - a non-profit association dedicated to the maintenance of high standards for professional conservators in Canada.

  • Canadian Association of Professional Conservators
    c/o Canadian Museums Association
    Suite 400, 280 Metcalfe St.
    Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1R7
    Telephone 613-567-0099
    Fax 616-233-5438

    They have a list of members on their Web site.

Textile Conservators:

  • Margaret Ballantyne (519) 534-5484 or (647) 998-4717
  • Caterina Florio (416) 838-5626
  • Elizabeth Griffin (416) 203-1015
  • Ada Hopkins (416) 979-7799, ext. 241
  • Joyce Whiteford (905) 839-1498

Textile References

The type of cleaning and care a textile requires depends upon the fibre content and the condition of the piece.

There are several useful books on the subject for non-conservators, including the following general references. The Textile Museum of Canada provides the following list as a service for our visitors. We do not warrant the information or services of the suppliers listed below. The list is not exhaustive.

  • Preserving Textiles: A Guide for the Nonspecialist
    by Harold F. Mailand and Dorothy Stites Alig
    Published by Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Laundry: The Whys and Hows of Cleaning Clothes
    by Robert Doyle
    Published by Sartorial Press  
  • Conservation of Textiles
    by/Published by Getty Conservation Institute

More in-depth titles are also available on this subject.

Some of these titles are available for reference in the Museum's H.N. Pullar Library. They are also for sale in the Museum Shop.

The Canadian Conservation Institute has an excellent website entitled Preserving My Heritage that outlines the basics of textile care and storage.

 

Curator working in the collection.  Photo: Brent LewinVintage textiles from the Museum ShopInfo for Textile Owners