A piece from the past…

In the process of going through and re-organizing my sewing-related stuff, I came across a pillowcase top I had embroidered years ago… while I was still in grad school:

It’s one of those preprinted crewel projects made by Janlynn.  I had bought two identical kits with the intention to make two identical pillows for my Mom.  Well, emphasis on “intention”.

Well, I finished the embroidery on one, and gave up on the second one half-way through because I couldn’t stomach embroidering the same thing all over again.

I gave the pillowcase top to Mom.  Mom didn’t want to make it into a pillow.  She wanted me to have it framed, but I never did.

Now about 6 years later, I found it in my stash.  I know exactly what I want to do with it.  I want to make a small wallhanging by adding a few strips of fabrics.   So, over the weekend, I laundered the piece to get the blue markings out.  And then, I noticed the yellowing and the stain…

I don’t think I want to soak it in Biz because the colors of the floss would be bleached…  what should I do?!  Any suggestions as to how I can get the stains out?  I am very tempted to just leave the “beauty marks” on there, and proceed as if they aren’t there – just to remind me the good ol’ school and bygone days.

25 thoughts on “A piece from the past…

  1. What a gorgeous piece of embroidery! I think it will make a beautiful wall hanging. I don’t know about the stain — I know people buy antiques and get stains out, so there must be a way, since this isn’t antique, but I don’t know it. But I’d be tempted to just leave it — it’s not very noticeable in the photos.

  2. Your work is stunning. When I was collecting quilts in Miami years ago, I had success with lemon juice and the sun. I have tried that here in Charlotte, North Carolina as well with good results. Not perfect results, but good. I do not know where you live, but my guess is that there is some sun! I am glad that you are going to enjoy your beautiful embroidery. I love to find surprises in my stash that years later I can look at with new eyes.

  3. Some of the older pieces they lay out in the sun and it bleaches out the light stains. A weak soultion of bleach and water maybe would help. At the fabric stores and some grocery stores they have small bottles of stain removers in around the fabric dyes. Read the package and test on a small corner. Lovely work. I love to do embroidery and took on twin top sheets and pillow cases to match while in high school. Lots of work. Chris

  4. absolutely lovely!! i had a friend in germany who swore you could bleach anything as long as you had it wet to begin with and then rinsed it well. might try it on a corner? and of course maybe use a teaspoon to position the bleach so it doesn’t bleach your lovely embroidery. good luck. i think framed will be perfect. i had an old piece i found at a garage sale and had it framed with a matt covered in velvet–it’s stunning, but the stitchery was in silk threads, so maybe velvet wouldn’t work with yours, but a fabric-covered mat might work well with it. would love to see when its done

  5. I would try to clean it Wendy. If the stain won’t come out you could always tea dye it. It is so beautiful it should be displayed.

  6. Omigosh, that piece is so lovely! However, I’m like you–I wouldn’t enjoy doing the same exact piece twice. (Heck, I can’t even make the same exact block in a quilt!) Unfortunately, I don’t have any help for the yellowed spot. If you find no good solutions, it will still look fabulous. It’s pretty light, and I doubt most people will notice, but if they do, the yellowing just makes it look like an heirloom.

  7. I would try using a cotton ball dipped in something like Biz water or Oxyclean and just gently dab it and then rinse the whole thing again. But think of all the beautiful vintage pieces that have stains and, in my eyes, it doesn’t detract from their beauty. So if your stain must remain, consider your lovely piece prematurely vintaged. :) (I, myself, am prematurely silver, so I know about that premature stuff!)

  8. You do very beautiful work!! Have you thought to tea dye it ? Maybe it would cover the stain… good luck to you on which ever you decide on …….

  9. I got this soak called “Vintage Textile Soak”. The web address is http://www.vintagetextilesoak.com. It is safe for vintage fabric. I have used it for a couple of old quilt blocks that I have and it worked quite well. I did use some Oxyclean on some other old blocks but that may bleach the color as well. I got my Textile soak from the local quilt shop. Maybe you can call around and see if one of them has it.

  10. Is there not some fabric cleaner that will bleach whites and not take the color out of color? I’m just wondering if you could spot clean with something that isn’t bleach… dab with a q-tip or something. I would soak it in something and see… even it it’s simply a mild detergent like Woolite. There is some sort of special cleaner for linens, though, and I can’t recall the name. I have a book, ‘Hints from Heloise,” and if I can find it, I will look up stain removal. Maybe the dry cleaner can get it out, Wendy. That’s an idea!


    Sheila :-)

  11. I usually use Napisan (disinfecting diaper soak) or Oxysoak for that sort of yellow stain for my vintage linen, it is not a bleach and so it won’t affect the embroidery, it comes out beautiful. No yellow stain. I remember reading about this sort of thing a lady in the States used, you can go to her blog to have a search for the brand you can get over there. http://myromantichome.blogspot.com/

  12. Just read this, and the answer is simple. Oxyclean. Make a soak, using the proportion of 1 Tb to one cup of water. I use hot water to make sure it dissolves completely. Allow to cool, then put in your piece and soak as long as necessary. I have soaked items in excess of 24 hours in the past. This erases generic age spots of unknown origin, old stains, without damaging or bleaching the fabric/thread. It’s a non-bleach alternative. Highly effective on protein-based stains, like sweat, blood, etc. I use it all the time, and don’t know what I’d do without it. I have used it successfully on a very delicate Christening gown made more than 50 years before. It was yellowed and came out white as snow. Wow! Billy Mays would have been proud!

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