Beaumont & Fletcher’s unique hand embroidered fabrics are created using the finest materials – silks, velvets, taffetas, freshwater pearls and crystals and gold and silver thread, and they need to be handled more delicately than more robust factory-made fabrics. But with common sense and a little care and attention these beautiful textiles should last for generations.
One of the greatest threats to all textiles, especially natural fibres, is light. Ultraviolet radiation from natural daylight and from fluorescent light, causes textile dyes to fade, and particularly in the case of fabrics containing silk, makes the fibres brittle and fragile. The use of blinds, particularly on sunny days, will reduce these risks substantially, and most modern windows are glazed with treated glass that substantially reduces UV penetration. The phasing out of incandescent lighting in domestic use will also benefit the lifespan of delicate fabrics.
High temperatures and excessive humidity are also potentially harmful to all fabrics. In the case of accidental water damage the fabric should be dried with a fan; if a water mark remains, or any other accidental staining occurs, a specialist cleaner should be consulted.
Before dry-cleaning any embroidered fabric consult a specialist cleaner to discuss suitability of process. (In central London we would recommend Pilgrim Payne from our own experience, but there are a number of other specialist cleaners of excellent reputation).
Avoid allowing the embroidered face of the fabric to rub against itself; the threads may catch and pull.
In the event of an accidentally pulled yarn, using fine pointed scissors snip off the damaged thread as close to the base cloth as possible without damaging or cutting other fibres. Airborne dirt and dust are probably the greatest everyday threats to fine handmade fabrics, just as they are to valuable antique textiles. Microscopic dust particles are sharp edged and can cut into the fibres of the cloth, even without wear, as the fibres expand and contract in response to changes in temperature and humidity.
Gentle vacuuming a couple of times a year, will extend the life of the fabrics. A low-power hand-held vacuum-cleaner is the ideal tool for the task. Ideally this should be used in conjunction with a fine mesh net over the nozzle, to ensure that the delicate embroidery is not pulled or damaged. Vacuum carefully, working in the direction of the nap when cleaning velvets, and taking care that the net and nozzle do not catch on metal threads, stones or embroidery. (When handling fine fabrics, care must always be taken to ensure that hands are completely clean and free from any contamination, dirt, acids or perspiration).
With sensible care, following these guidelines, Beaumont & Fletcher’s beautiful hand embroidered fabrics will last many years of everyday use.