Conservation of Textiles (A’)

Course Code:

Π1 7010Α


7th Semester

Specialization Category:

Elective ( ΜΕ )

Course Hours:




Course Description

Course Theory

The theory of the course covers the following:

-Materials and manufacturing techniques of textile artefacts (historical development of fabrics, natural and man made fibres, loom types, weaving techniques etc), decoration techniques (dyeing, embroidery etc), categories of historic textiles (ecclesiastical and traditional).

-Analysis of direct and indirect factors of deterioration and identification of the types and the degradation mechanisms observed on the textile objects.

-Evaluation of the state of preservation using destructive or non-destructive physicochemical methods of analysis.

-Analysis of the appropriate conservation processes (cleaning, disinfection /disinfestation, humidification, dyeing, application of new support, consolidation and restoration) and the criteria for choosing the appropriate materials for the protection and preservation of historic textiles.

-Morality and ethics in the preservation of textile items.

-Design of preventive conservation measures and introduction of the appropriate materials and methods for textiles in storage, transit and exhibition.

 Course Practicals

The practical part of the course includes the learning of:

-Micro- and micro-analytical techniques used for the study and identification of the materials used for the manufacture of textiles.

-Documentation and evaluation of the state of preservation of the textile artefacts.

-Surface/mechanical cleaning, wet cleaning by using surfactants, chemical cleaning on different stained specimens and application of the solubility triangle for the selection of solvents or solvent mixtures.

-The process of dyeing of supporting fabrics.

-The appropriate stitches used in the conservation of textiles.

-The application of new support on worn textiles using stitching methods.

-The application of new support on worn textiles with adhesives/consolidants and examination of the welding bonds produced by the different methods, as well as the time and the materials which enable welding.

-Application of different wetting methods on textile items.

-The appropriate materials and methods for storing, transporting and displaying historic textiles (construction of reinforced panels and hangers, construction or adaptation of dummies, construction of boxes, etc.).

Expected Learning Outcomes

The students after successful completion of the module will be able to:

  • Understand the processes involved in forming yarns and fabrics from fibers, including spinning, weaving and production of non-woven fabrics, as well as the main decorative techniques.
  • Identify the manufacturing techniques of historic and modern textiles and comprehend how these influence the deterioration of textiles and be able to document and record the techniques used.
  • Comprehend the agents and processes of the physical, chemical and biological deterioration of textiles and to contribute to decisions regarding the selection, evaluation and implementation of appropriate preventive measures during the exhibition, transit and storing of textile artefacts.
  • Suggest and apply the appropriate scientific methods for the study and analysis of textile objects in order to identify the manufacturing techniques and the state of preservation of these objects.
  • Select and apply the appropriate conservation techniques: documentation, surface cleaning, wetting and application of new support as well as the dyeing techniques.

The Scope of the Course and Objectives

 The Scope of the Course

Students should be capable to choose and apply the suitable materials and the appropriate preventive and remedial conservation methods for the preservation of historic textile artefacts. 

Course objectives

a) to provide students the necessary knowledge in order to be able to understand the manufacturing technology of the textile objects and identify the type and the degree of deterioration so as to choose and apply the most appropriate conservation methods

b) help students to improve their manual skills in order to perform effectively the conservation treatments chosen.



Language of evaluation: Greek (English for Erasmus students). The student’s final grade results from 50% of the grade of the theoretical part and 50% of the grade of laboratory practice.

Students’ evaluation (100%): THEORY (50%): Written final exam with multiple choice questions and open-ended questions LAB PRACTICES (50%): I. Presentation of individual work (10%) II. Oral final examination (20%) which includes: – Questions on topics covered in the laboratory part of the course – Skills exercises ΙII. Assignment on object conservation (10%) IV. Results of exercises (10%).



1. Boersma, F., (2007), Unravelling Textiles – A Handbook for the Preservation of Textile Collections, Archetype. 2. Catling, D., (1998), Identification of Vegetable Fibre, C&H ed. 3. Emery, I. (1994), The primary structures of fabrics. The Textile Museum, Washington: Thames & Hudson 4. Florian, M. et al. The Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant materials. (Getty). 5. Flecker, L., (2006), A Practical Guide to Costume Mounting, Butterworth-Heinemann. 6. Gill K. & Eastop D., (2000), Upholstery Conservation: Principles & Practice, Butterworth-Heinemann. 7. Gordon Cook, J., (1993), Handbook of Textile Fibres, Vol. 1: Natural Fibres, Merrow. 8. Gordon Cook, J., (1993), Handbook of Textile Fibres, Vol. 2: Man-Made Fibres, Merrow. 9. Karsten, I. & Down, J. (2005). The effect of adhesive concentration, reactivation time and pressure on the peel strength of heat and solvent reactivated Lascaux 360/498HV bonds to silk. In: Preprints of 14th ICOM-CC Triennial meeting, Hague, 12-16 September, 2005, London: Kames & James Publishers, 927-935. 10. Mailand, D., (1999), Preserving Textiles: A guide for the non-specialist, Indianapolis Museum of Art. 11. Landi S., (1997), The Textile Conservator’s Manual, 2nd ed, Butterworth Heinemann. 12. Lennard, F., and Ewer P., (2010), Textile Conservation: Advances in Practice. Routledge. 13. Pretzel, B. (1997), Evaluating the use of adhesives in textile conservation. Part II: Tests and evaluation matrix. The conservator, 21, 48-58. 14. Tímár-Balázsy A. & Eastop D., (1998), Chemical Principles of Textile Conservation, Butterworth Heinemann. 15. Vuori, J., (2003), Tales in the Textile: The Conservation of Flags and Other Symbolic Textiles 16. (North American Textile Conference 2003) New York State Museum. 17. Whelan, V. (ed.), (2002), Strengthening the Bond: Science & Textiles, The North American Textile Conservation Conference. (NATCC). – Related journals: -Journal of the Institute of Conservation -Journal of the American Institute of Conservation -Studies in Conservation