Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design


Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design

First Advisor

Margaret Ordoñez


Fragile fabrics in textile collections are subject to deterioration due to use, exhibition, and improper storage conditions. Textile conservators often sew sheer fabrics as overlays directly over weakened fabrics to protect them from abrasion and to help maintain the integrity of the objects. Conservators rely on subjective opinions about fabric properties in choosing materials for their overlay treatments because objective data are not available. Textile properties, such as abrasiveness, of sheer overlay fabrics play a role in the success of conservation treatments over time.

A survey of textile conservators provided data about the use of overlay fabrics including criteria for selection and type of objects being treated. Cross tabulation of the data revealed trends in the use of sheer overlay fabrics.

Eleven fabrics were purchased from retailers. Properties, such as yarn type and woven or knit structure, were described, and eleven different textile performance tests were run. Nylon net was significantly more abrasive than polyester georgette and polyester English net. Three nylon nets were the sheerest fabrics. Other properties of sheer overlay fabrics measured in this research included cover, gloss, weight, thickness, surface roughness, coefficient of friction, elongation, electrostatic cling, and stiffness. Photomicrographs of fabrics and a summary table of specific fabric properties provide textile conservators with valuable information to use when selecting overlay fabrics.



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