- Originally made of silk that came to the West from China via Damascus. In the 13th century, Marco Polo wore Chinese robes of crimson damask in order to prove to his dinner guests that he had been to the court of Kublai Khan in Cathay.
Damask is one of the oldest and most popular cloths to be found today. Very elaborate designs are possible. The firmer the texture, the better the quality.
Damask garments and household items may be dry cleaned.
Heirlooming and preservation of antique damask is also recommended for museums as well as individuals.
- In 1850, the California gold rush was in full swing, and everyday items were in short supply. Levi Strauss, a 20-year-old Bavarian immigrant, left New York for San Francisco with a small supply of dry goods. Shortly after his arrival, a prospector wanted to know what Mr. Strauss was selling. When Strauss told him he had rough canvas to use for tents and wagon covers, the prospector said, “You should have brought pants!” saying he couldn’t find a pair of pants strong enough to last. Strauss had the canvas made into pants. Miners liked the pants, but complained that they tended to chafe. Levi Strauss substituted a twilled cotton cloth from France called “serge de Nimes,” which became known as denim.
Denim garments may be dry cleaned.
- DUPIONE [SEE SILKS]
- EMBROIDERY & MACHINE EMBROIDERY
- Queen Elizabeth I was a great admirer of embroidery and kept her women at it. Domestic embroidery was all the rage, whereas the work done before then had been done professionally. Much of the embroidery done in the queen’s time and later periods were done by amateurs and was very hard to tell from professional work! The records for the first charter for the Broderers’ Co. were destroyed in a fire, but we know it existed in 1430. The Queen renewed it, and they were fussy to say the least about the work turned out by its members.
We have a great source of information on embroidery done in the 17th century by the list of gifts given to Queen Elizabeth I. Slippers, hankies, gowns, covered cases, mantles, hats, cloaks, hose, belts, even embroidered covered buttons, tunics, scarves, sleeves (which were removable, charming idea!), collars, linen caps, occasional mittens and gloves, sweet bags, which were tied with gilt ties, strings, and tassels, hangings that surrounded her when she met with visitors were opulent and impressive, too.
Embroidered garments and items should be dry cleaned. Heirlooming and preservation of antique embroidery is also recommended for museums as well as individuals.
- FINE SILK [SEE SILKS]
- Preferred fabric of the early-1990s grunge movement. A general term that describes a number of woolen fabrics woven in different weights of worsted. Usually soft and made of a plain or twilled weave slightly napped on one side.
E.T. wore a flannel shirt when visiting Earth.
Flannel garments may be dry cleaned.
- Your fur coat will make you look gorgeous for decades, but only if you take care of it right. Improper care can cause your fur to dry, crack, tear, and even change color over time. Yes, experts agree that professional cold storage and cleaning each summer really are necessary. Nothing shortens the longevity of your fur and reduces its value and attractiveness like keeping it in your closet during the long, hot summer. And no, your dry cleaner, basement, or cedar chest won’t do. Furs must be cleaned and conditioned using a special process. Plus, you get an added bonus when you service your fur.
- Types of Fur:
- An extremely durable fur, badger is heavy, warm, and somewhat rugged. The long silvery guard hair covers a dense underfur, which should be white or tan.
- Most beaver is American, but there is now increased beaver production in the Russia. Beaver can be plucked and sheared, or left natural. Sheared beaver is shorn to its amazingly deep, soft pile. Natural beaver’s lustrous guard hairs give it a completely different look and feel…rugged, warm, and durable.
- An infinite variety will be found in the markings. Natural colors include browns, whites, blacks, tans, and others. Many calf coats are dyed.
- Now almost wholly ranch-raised, most chinchilla boasts lustrous slate-blue top hair and dark underfur, and more colors are becoming available. Fur is short, dense, and very silky to the touch.
- Coyote is a natural choice for women and men who desire warmth, softness, and durability. Colors range from pale gray to tan. The finest coyote is layered with long guard hairs over thick, soft underfur.
- Fisher is the smaller North American cousin to the Russian Sable. The finest fisher are chocolate brown in color and native to the Northwest U.S. and Canada.
- Colors range from ecru with black markings to an orange tone. In its natural state, fitch has long guard hairs over woolly underfur.
- Quickly regaining the popularity it had earlier in this century, fox is available in a tremendous variety of natural mutation colors: silver, blue, white, beige, red, gray, and brown. With the proper care, a fine fox coat can be expected to wear 10 to 12 seasons. When selecting a fox, be sure the guard hairs are long and glossy and the soft underfur is thick.
- This group of furs encompasses a wide variety of weights and textures, from flat and wavy to thick and curly. Once you’ve decided on the luxury of lamb, you can choose from dressy Karukal or Persian, broadtail, sporty Mongolian; soft, water-repellent Mouton; or dense, luxurious Shearling.
- The rarest lynx is found in the Russia. It is highly prized and priced because of its exceptionally soft fur, subtle markings, and protected status by the Russian government. Only a limited number of pelts are sold each year.
- Whether you choose dyed or natural marmot, you can expect the fur to be warm, thick, and fairly course. The best marmot has a bluish cast. Because it is often dyed, there exists a wide range of possible colors.
- America’s favorite fur due to the high quality in relationship to price. A fine mink coat will be dense but surprisingly lightweight. Guard hairs shine with an unmistakable luster, and the underfur is lush and soft. No other fur offers a larger selection of natural colors, ranging from whites and grays to rich browns and brownish blacks. Garments made from female animals may be higher priced than those made from male animals. The female pelt is narrower, smaller, and softer.
- Due to the large number of pelts that make up a mole garment, matching must be done carefully. Evenness in color and hair height are signs of a high-quality mole fur. Mole skins are always dyed.
- With the northern and the Jersey, dense, well-matched skins are the ideal. The southern variety should have a pale color, and there should be uniformity of the sparse guard hairs.
- Similar to BEAVER, Nutria can be sheared or natural. When selecting sheared Nutria, pay particular attention to the quality of the shearing…the desired effect is plush and even. Natural Nutria should be uniform in color and texture,, with long sleek guard hairs and thick underfur. Ant Nutria may be dyed. Natural colors range from the bluish beige of ranched Nutria to the more delicate brown of wild Nutria.
- Usually originating in either Australia or the U.S., the American is the longer haired of the two, with silver gray guard hair and dense underfur. The color should be uniform. The fur of the Australian opossum will be dense, plush, and short. The best is blue gray and especially soft with woolly underfur.
- Ranch rabbit is available in a wonderful array of 14 natural colors. Silky texture and uniformity of color are the qualities to keep in mind for the finest garment. The colors and choices between shearing, grooving, and natural rabbit present a generous selection of warm, soft fur coats, jackets, vests, and hats.
- AMERICAN RACCOON
- In contrast to the bulky college student’s coat of the 1920s, today’s fashions are sleeker, more understated, and much more sophisticated. The best raccoon furs come from northern Canada, where they develop long, silvery guard hairs over a dense, luxuriant underfur. May be bleached or dyed, or sheared to a silky, even texture, or left natural.
- One of the rarest, most expensive furs, the finest sables are found almost exclusively in the Russia. At one time, every sable was considered property of the Czar. Even today the export of pelts is limited, and the export of live animals is forbidden. Each pelt is extremely light, long and narrow. Crown sable is brown with a blue cast. The golden sable has an amber tone. The finest sables have a silvery hair dispersed throughout.
- A finely defined white marking and lustrous blue black coat give the fine skunk fur its tremendous visual appeal. Its tactile appeal comes from the silky texture. North American skunk and the zorina from South America are similar, except that the zorina has a flatter, silkier texture.
- Russia, Poland, Finland, and Canada are the origins of the finest squirrel furs. Squirrel is heavily furred yet lightweight. Density and silkiness are the qualities that mark the really fine squirrel fur.
- Imported from Japan, tanuki is actually a member of the raccoon family. It may, due to its already close resemblance, be dyed to resemble a cross fox. Or it can be left as is…a glorious tribute to its own natural beauty.
- Similar to mink, and perfect for the discerning buyer who wants the feel of mink in a shorter, more lightweight texture.
- Fur Storage:
- Professional cold storage is always recommended. The environment should be 58% humidity and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. If storing the coat at home, use a broad hanger, and do not cover the coat with plastic. Plastic, which has no pores for air ventilation, will prevent the coat from breathing. This will cause drying of the skins and will prematurely age the coat.
For proper care of fur garments, professional cleaning is recommended. Proper storage of fur garments is also recommended.
3325 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chicago, IL 60659
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Evanston, IL 60201
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