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A fabric question…

I wasn’t terribly pleased to find yesterday that my Hildebrand woven-wool Liberty print dress (dates to around 1974, though the retro-1940s styling makes it look a lot more ‘vintage’ – it was merely ‘second-hand’ when I got it about 25 years ago!) was showing distinct clothes-moth tracks in the skirt. I mended a few holes last winter but assumed they were simply old age as they were tiny pinpricks.

It’s identical to this one

It has been living quite happily in an open wardrobe in my (unheated) bedroom for years; two years ago it was decided that my winter clothes should all be stored inside a dark chest-of-drawers in a warm room, and this is apparently the result :-(
The modern equivalent to this cloth costs over fifty pounds a metre….

I can’t microwave it because it has a metal zip: apparently freezing has no effect on clothes moth eggs unless you take it down to -40 for about three weeks; mothballs, cedar oil etc are apparently all useless; so far as I can discover the only solution appears to be to keep your ‘vintage textiles’ locked in airtight bags, which isn’t terribly practical if you actually want to wear them.

I think it’s gone too far to mend and wear this time, because the holes are much more extensive: because the print is so dark and busy I could probably back it with black tape and do a fairly invisible mend, but there won’t be much strength in it, and it will take a very long time. In its current condition I don’t think I can even decently offer it as a static exhibit to the local museum who have had it on loan for display on occasion in the past, since I can’t guarantee that it isn’t harbouring further eggs/larvae.

How can I make it ‘safe’?
(Apparently the life cycle of the moth is up to a year, so I could leave it in a sealed bag for a year and see if any dead moths show up….)


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    Nov 7, 2012, 08.34 AMby marga09

    I’ve read about using ichneumum flies (parasitic wasps) named trichogramma for the elemination of moths. They are very very tiny and eat the moth’s eggs; they are sold for this purpose by specialised businesses and are an alternative to insectizides. But couldn’t you contact the local museum and ask for help? They may have their own proofed ways to face such a problem.

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      Nov 10, 2012, 06.01 PMby harrietbazley

      It’s a local voluntary-run museum with a budget of three thousand pounds a year (if the Council hasn’t cut their grant as they were threatening to do), which is why they were reduced to borrowing textile display items from their members in the first place :-(

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