[HNW] Vintage Chinese Robe Restoration

Violin Goddess violingoddess at sbcglobal.net
Sat Aug 4 23:37:16 PDT 2007


Hello all,
I and my boyfriend (who is chinese) found a vintage chinese robe in a local antique shop for $50.  I insisted he buy it and I told him I would restore it for him.  I emphasized the fact (as far as I know it to be true) that traditional chinese metal(laic)-thread embroidery....couching style is, to my knowlege, not an embroidery technique that we can vbeen able to reproduce by machine yet.  Meaning that ALL of the intricate metal thread embroidery covering the front, back, and sleeves of the ronbe was all done by hand(s).  

My problem is how to find information on how to repair and restore this robe.  My assesment of the robe is that is is no more than 100 years old, but was likely made IN chine.  However, in it's lifetime, it has been ripped, worn, badly repaired, and some of the dye has bled through to other parts of the robe making very obvious stains.  The robe is (for some unkown reason) lined  with cotton muslin.  ANd the two tie closures are mismatched and not original.  One made from cotton, another amde from some sort of polyester fabric.  Both haphaserdly sewn to the robe.

Anyway, I can replace the lining with silk, and couching is easy.  Although, I WILL have to find a seller who sells the exact thickness and type of metal thread that is used on the robe.  (it appears to be cotton or silk thread twised and wrapped with metal fillament of some kind)  I apologize for my obvious ignorance about metal-thread embroidery.  But that is not a field of Needlework that I have under my belt as of yet.  My biggest worry (and also the aspect of the restoration that I know the least about) is the dye stains.  The main color of the robe is red.  But it has on the back of the robe two (what I call) "banners" that are attached to the back of the neck by an cord and drape diaponally down either side of the back until the meet the sides of the robe below the lowest closure where the are sew to the front part of the robe itself.  THe "banners" are blue colored with four or five chinese symbols embroidered (satin stitch) along the length of them.  The blue dye has bled not only throughout the "banners", but also onto parts of the red robe (both front and back).  This is something I have no idea as to how to approach, much less fix.  

Please, any adive, links, resouces, or even books that anyone could suggest would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and generosity;
Meghan Doty
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