Crewelwork Curtain Conservation and Remaking

We conserved these four original Crewelwork curtains dating from the 1880s and then recreated them to allow our client to use them in their new windows.

In 2021 we received a commission to conserve four Jacobean Crewelwork curtains which we had conserved in the Embroidery Studio 20 years before. The curtains date from the 1880s, and were worked during the revival in Jacobean Crewelwork, which happened during the Arts and Crafts movement. 

The curtains are very traditional in their design and colouring with a central tree of life growing from hillocks and embroidered in crewel wool on linen twill. The curtains are in constant use, and with exposure to light, the edges of the curtains had suffered the most damage.

We began by deconstructing each curtain and lightly surface cleaning them with our low suction conservation hoover. Following this the weak areas and holes were supported with a suitable fabric in a sympathetic shade and surfaced couched to prevent the damage increasing in size. This was completed with a thread that was of a suitable colour and weight so that it was discreet. When undertaking repairs such as this, we have to select the most appropriate threads and materials. In this instance, a very fine invisible thread would not have been strong enough for the weight of the fabric and embroidery especially once they were re-hung.

Once all the conservation was completed we reconstructed the curtains to match the customer’s new window measurements. As the measurements had changed slightly from the original this meant we needed to add a fabric extension of linen twill at the top to extend the length. The edges were bordered with a strip of blue linen to replace the tapestry tape that had originally been around the curtains. They were interlined with a soft padded interlining, known as domett which added body and protection to the curtains.

As can be seen from the photograph below they look absolutely stunning back in situ and I am sure that they will be keeping the room a little warmer in these cold nights.