Date of Award
Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design
Margaret T. Ordonez
Reweaving and reknitting techniques rebuild losses in textiles by replacing damaged yams to duplicate original structures and patterns. Traditionally viewed as restorative methods used mainly for consumer clothing and household furnishings, reweaving and reknitting have much potential for adaptation to the repair and stabilization of historic and collectible textiles.
Standard textile conservation repair and stabilization techniques utilize handsewn underlay and overlay patches and adhesive-coated underlay supports. Although these techniques can provide practical and time-saving approaches for a wide variety of situations, problems with these techniques can sometimes develop over the long term when issues of structural integrity and appearance are concerned. While reweaving and reknitting techniques can provide superior aesthetic and structural results, they require more time and are more costly.
This study evaluated the possibility of expanding the use of reweaving and reknitting techniques in the repair and stabilization of damaged textiles to meet textile conservation challenges. The research involved a panel review of actual textiles that had received various stabilizing treatments and a statistical analysis of the evaluation data. This report includes detailed instructions outlining basic reweaving and reknitting techniques and a discussion of applying these and traditional treatments to woven and knit fabrics.
Three different reweaving or reknitting techniques, applying an underlay with hand stitching, and attaching an adhesive-coated backing were used to repair damaged fabrics. The textiles treated represented a range of woven and knitted structures including a plain weave I low thread count, plain weave I high thread count, twill weave, patterned weave, stockinet knit, double knit, and patterned knit. Each of the three treatments was applied to each of the seven fabrics.
The 21 fabric I treatment combinations were examined by a panel of reviewers and evaluated with respect to specific qualities of visual appearance, structural integrity, and effect of repair on drape. They recorded their rating on a Visual Analogue Scale.
The evaluators (n = 49) of the treated fabrics gave the reweaving and reknitting treatments statistically significantly higher ratings in all of the three qualities reviewed compared with the treatment samples repaired with standard textile conservation repair and stabilization techniques. These repairs took the longest time to complete with average completion times ranging from 2.63 to 17.50 hours per sample.
The treatment samples repaired with the textile conservation techniques of applying an underlay with hand stitching and an adhesive-coated backing received the lowest ratings in all of the three qualities with no statistically significant difference between the means of these two conservation techniques. Both textile conservation techniques took the least time to complete with average completion times ranging from 0.88 to 2.00 hours.
The high ratings that the reweaving and reknitting treatment samples received in this research suggest the need for curators and conservators to be aware of the benefits of reweaving and reknitting and consider using these techniques to repair objects that merit the time and expenditure required. This research confirmed the lack of current, thorough information on reweaving and reknitting techniques and negligible commentary in the textile conservation literature to explain the application of these methods; this seems to indicate their minimal use or consideration in the field.
Aho, Sandra C., "Comparison of Reweaving and Reknitting Techniques with Textile Conservation Repair Methods" (2008). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 967.