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Restoring a lace mantilla

Tita36 | Posted in General Discussion on

I have  a 30 year old white lace Mantilla, that my grandaughter would like to use for her wedding, but it is old and discolored. Does anyone have any experience or ideas on how to restore it to its original color? It also has a lace border. Anything that you may come up with would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,



  1. stitchmd | | #1

    What fiber is it made of? It should be safe to start with gently rinsing in distilled water. Use a piece of cloth as a sling to lower it and lift it out to reduce stress on the lace. Rinse it several times to see if it makes any difference. If that seems too big a task try dabbing it with a well rinsed white cloth and distilled water in an unobtrusive spot to see what effect that has.

    This type of discoloration is a chemical change in the fibers and indicates they are weakening. To make this wearable you might need to stabilize it with a layer of something like bridal illusion, but you'd have to be very careful to make a lot of loose stitches scattered all over to distribute the stress, and use a cotton thread which won't cut through the lace fibers.

    1. Tita36 | | #2

      Thank you so much Posdenom,The Mantilla is made of Chantilli lace, and your suggestion is a big help.  I made this Mantilla for my daugther's wedding, and now her daugther                      wants to use it.   

      It has sentimental value to her.                                           Thank you again.         Tita  36                              

  2. alotofstitches | | #3

    I too had a Chantilly lace mantilla 38 years ago!  I put it into my DIL wedding gown 10 years ago.  It made a large insert into the end of her train and was to be sheer.  I used English netting as an underlining to support the lace and with good results.  I've also sewn a wedding gown from bride's mom's gown that was Chantilly and satin .  All these were dry cleaned before using to remove stains; however, the "yellowing" is a normal aging process since none of those things were professionally Heirloomed.  I used a company in Chicago that dyed the new lace to match the old Chantilly & satin--it matched perfectly in color and pattern.  I made a new column gown with lace border at hem that extended up 18" in front, lace sleeves, etc. from a A-line, empire dress/w "beaver-tail" train.   

    Another solution:  Use this solution to clean the mantilla by hand, being careful to keep it waded up rather than letting anything hang down when it's wet.  I've used this on lots of antique fabrics (some 50yrs+) with excellent results.  Haven't found a stain yet that didn't come out.  In a dishpan or mop bucket, add 1/2c. Clorox II, 1/2c. Dove liquid (or generic that smells like Dove), mixed with 2 c. warm water-dissolve well, then add just enough water to cover the mantilla.  Let this soak for 8 hrs. or overnight, then gently rinse.  I'd let it air dry flat on towels and then press with warm iron.  The new chantilly is cotton and my old looked like cotton too.

    1. Tita36 | | #4

      Thank you Liz,

      Your second suggestion sounds like a winner.

      I email all these to my daughter and grandaughter, since we live

      two hours from each other.

      This group discussion is great.

                                                      Thank's again       Tita 36

    2. Lizothelake | | #5

      I would be VERY CAREFUL before using Chlorox/Javex ( USA/Canadian brands of Chlorine Bleach) on an unknown fibre. SILK and WOOL are both dissolved by Chlorine Bleach. Now it is rare to have Lace or Net or Tulle made of Wool, but Silk is still used. My Wedding Veil was Silk "Illusion", not Nylon or Cotton.

      With any delicate object it may well be worth handsewing it to a piece of fine, soft, well washed cotton; ideally well boiled Lawn or Nainsook; not a Poly-Cotton. New fabric contains dressings which you do not want!  That way the fabric will take the strain, and it is possible to handle it a bit more while 'in-the-wash'.

      As for any mending, the best is always to use as close a thread as is possible to the original. So Silk for Silk, Cotton for Cotton. If you are lucky enough to know any true natural blondes with L-O-N-G hair ask for a few; great for invisible mending on fine net or tulle. Sewing thread may not always be the best choice; look at mercerised ( shiny) machine embroidery threads in Cotton, and Silk Stranded embroidery threads; use one strand instead of six.

      Sadly the best treatment is to protect anything of value from Day 1.

      Store any cotton or other vagetable fibre white objects without any starch, folded with pads of acid free tissue paper and placed in a 'Achive Type' box, or hand, well supported, from a padded hanger and cover with a case made from an old sheet.

      Starch makes folds brittle, and you can always wash,, starch, and iron a Christening Dress ready for the big day when it comes, rather than try and preserve all the goffering and lace frills for years on end in a Ready to Wear state.

      Silk should not need starch, but same general rule, folded, flat with pads of tissue is best.


      Do not place in an attic; summer vs winter = massive temperature changes all over North America.

      Do not place in a basement; HUMIDITY.

      Avoid Sunlight, light generally, heat, damp, dirt, critters/moths/bugs/dirty hands.

      And my Grandchild, due in the fall will be the 6th generation to wear our  Christening Gown, made by Generation 7 back in the 1840's by my Great-Great-Grandmother for her first child. It is stored in a cloth bag, on a padded hanger, and will have to be washed, starched, goffered, ironed, frilled, pouffed, and every other bit of handwork to make it look like new for THE BABY!!




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