Magnets for mounting silk dress?

Framar

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Customer bought in the most darling little dress which had been worn by her grandmother about a hundred years ago. It is the sheerest silk over silk, with amazing lace and maybe a tatted cotton collar and a wide silk velvet sash. And it is in the most amazing shape of any old piece of silk I have ever seen. No holes or tears or stains. And no fold lines, either!

She wanted a silver frame and a turquoise mat and a creamy background. Nuttin' fancy. I found the perfect silverish frame - LJ's Spencer 245251 - and took the turquoise mat corner away from her and dug out the turquoisey Confetti fillet and told her I could paint it to exactly match the color of the sash.

Then I went into the back to see what I had in the way of cream-colored suede or silk matboard. But the first board I saw was one of those long-discontinued floral embossed boards. Perfect size for the dress and she went bananas over how perfect it was for her project.

Anyhoo - I told her I would sew it to the board, through the original stitch-holes, and use cotton or silk thread. I also told her I would put a bit of batting inside the dress to give it a bit of shape. She wants it to retain the blousey look.

After she left I got to thinking about how I did not want to go near that thing with a needle or thread. And that's when I thought of the nice little stack of 1/4" x 1'16" rare earth magnets I bought earlier this year. Turns out they are N35 rated, and I tried a pair out on the brocade board with a heavy microfiber cloth. REALLY held good! Did not move at all. But maybe too strong for such thin old silk? I was thinking I could punch out some mylar circles to place under the top magnet, which obviously would not lessen the pull but maybe not damage the silk? Or even a small circle of soft fabric? The whole dress weighs about as much as a feather (I will weigh it tomorrow!). Or - the batting will protect the inner silk from the magnets. Thinking out loud, here . . .
Pink silk dress.jpg

I read somewhere that these rare earth magnets can oxidize and they need to be coated. Coated with what? Would nail polish work?

Any ideas?
 

Framar

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Warning: if any of you tries to repeat that I have used the words "darling" and "dress" in the same sentence I will deny it. :cool:
 

Framar

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I can't afford to buy it but I did read her PDF and it kinda sounds as though these magnets would be suitable for this project. The silk is really in amazing shape - if it did not look so hand sewn with hook and eye clasps, etc. - I would think it was brand new!

Hmmm. Wonder if I could take some pale pink polyester felt and few little pockets for the upper magnets. I simply could not believe how well that microfiber cloth held through the matboard!
 

Rick Granick

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I like your ideas about protecting the silk from the magnets. Did you read Meghan MacMillan's article about working with magnets in the current issue of PFM?
:coffeedrinker2: Rick
 

Framar

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*hangs head in shame* I haven't even opened any of the e-issues of PFM in years.

But I never deleted any of them either!

*goes to find current issue*
 

David Hewitt

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I think I would be bit nervous about any stress points. Any chance to use one of those fancy hangers (the padded kind) and 'free hang" it?

Maybe someone here has Gwen Spicer's book.
Stress from the magnets would be a consideration. Sealing and padding ( silk layers? Mylar pockets? ) of the magnets is a thought, also every layer of material creates less holding power.
Personally I like the sewing method, and a support such as Yiva mentioned. There are needles designed for silk, they have a rounded point rather than a sharp one. The needle slides between the fibers not through them. With sewing you have a solid, along with a light hold on the material. The magnets if not done properly may leave stress marks on the material at the anchor points:shrug:
Silk is very sensitive to light, I recommend doing research on displaying silk items, Museum Glass, Optium Acrylic would be preferred glazing. Im sure you will get more excellent advise from fellow Grumble members. Great project, looking forward to seeing the final results.:popc:
 

Framar

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Mission accomplished - just re-subscribed to PFM. Hope this year's subscription includes May.

Figuring out pricing for Con Clear, Museum, OP3 and Optium. They all offer the same degree of protection.

Have thin felt, mylar, and will experiment tomorrow on the holding power of the N35 magnets. I would think that encapsulating the magnets in Mylar and then placing them in felt pockets would reduce any potential damage without diminishing the holding power.

Stay tuned . . .
 

neilframer

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I did this one about 7 years ago.
It's not quite as old as your dress and I was able to sew it down in hidden areas.
Screen Shot 2021-05-25 at 8.28.26 PM.png Screen Shot 2021-05-25 at 8.47.44 PM.png Screen Shot 2021-05-25 at 8.49.57 PM.png

There might be some hidden spots where you could sew it down or if you are going to pad it, just sew thru the back and the pad and not the front.

I framed a 13 star American flag that was over 200 years old a few years ago and it was so delicate that I didn't want to put a needle thru it or put any extra stress on it.
We actually tried to talk the customer out of framing it to just help preserve it.
We decided to float the flag on a linen wrapped backer with batting under the flag and we did a direct contact overlay using Optium Museum Acrylic to hold the flag in place.
 
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wpfay

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Magnets can be embedded into shaped ragboard forms for the uniform support of the dress, allowing for natural draping.
Hole punches used in leather tooling are ideal for this.
Embedded magnets can be isolated from direct contact using clear film or metalized polyester film.

Padding (polyester batting) can be added to any contact edges or the ragboard can be sanded to relieve any sharp edges.
 

Framar

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Wally, thanks for the idea about the leather punches - I have a set around here somewhere . . .

Also: figured out why my PFM subscription disappeared. Happened around the same time my website's email address stopped working. *sigh* Now all I have to do is figure out how to get back into the cPanel . . .
 

wpfay

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Another source
 

Framar

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Today's discoveries:

1. Even wrapped in layers of tissue paper and a dry cleaner bag, the dress and all that wrapping weighs less than 5 ounces. So I am guessing the dress itself is half that.

2. I do not own one darned tool that will punch out a circle in either felt or Mylar.

3. But I can use an old paper punch to make little supports to glue onto the back of the matboard and they hold the magnets perfectly, keeping them from sliding downwards.

4. I can always buy stronger magnets if necessary. From the seller I bought the last batch from on eBay.

5. Might go with a couple of stitches at the top and use magnets just to keep the rest of it in place.
 

Framar

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I have a set of hole puches just like that cheaper one - they do not punch through felt or Mylar. Leather - yes! Balsa wood - yes!

Kinda nice to know how strong Mylar is though . . .
 

Framar

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Woo hoo! Found N45 gold-plated 1/4" x 1/16" magnets - I believe that would take care of any worries about oxidation.
 
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David Hewitt

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I have a set of hole puches just like that cheaper one - they do not punch through felt or Mylar. Leather - yes! Balsa wood - yes!

Kinda nice to know how strong Mylar is though . . .
I bought a set of hole punches to make small holes in mat board. I either need a sledge hammer or I'm not holding my mouth right. They hardly dented the mat board using my heavy, 16 oz. hammer.
You need a solid base for the punches to work properly, piece of hardwood on a solid work surface, that with a sharp blow from the hammer, works every time. Something has to give way, preferably the item you're trying to cut.
I have a set from Matco Tools, looks the same as the $40.00 set. I've had them for fifty years and have cut many different types of material.
 
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Framar

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I tried using the hole punch on top of my vise to make sure I had a solid base. With a piece of matboard to protect the punch.

Came to the conclusion that the cheap punch is soft cheap steel and now it as dull as dishwater.
 

Framar

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And now, four months later, after many fits and starts and sturm und drang, I am almost finished with the little dress.

Added a couple layers of silvery-blue acrylic over the base of the turquoise fillet. I ordered the frame joined from LJ and told them not to join the fillet so I could paint it. So they did not join it BUT they fastened it into the rabbet with that really fierce rabbet tape. Came very close to breaking all four rails trying to get them out. The paint ended up matching the velvet exactly but, of course, it refuses to show up in the photos.

Customer did not want the whole thing to be "too big" and it will appear to have more room around it after it is installed under mat walls. The silk is so thin and it has a mind of its own. I have spent hours trying to coax it into place. The cotton collar is stitched down with four cotton stitches. And I used about six silk stitches to secure the sleeves and the blousieness of the front which was trying to obscure the roses on the velvet sash. And the customer and I came up with the idea of cutting the best piece of the sash's bow to cover up the interior of the neck opening. And try as might, there was no way those stupid sleeves were going to cooperate and be symmetrical. Chemise.jpg Chemise close-up.jpg

The rest is attached with several dozen 1/2" round N45 rare earth magnets altogether fore and aft. Will take a photo of the verso next week before I finish up.

The mat walls will be a plain light cream ragboard because what you see is what I had of the long-discontinued filigree board. Once this is finished I will feel that a huge burden has been taken off of my shoulders.
 

Framar

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Customer came in to pick it up today - totally loved it, paid for it, went out the door really happy.

Hour later she came back with it. She said she was getting ready to hang it and when she spied, there on the bottom mat wall (mat floor?) one of those pale pink felt circles I had planned on using with the magnets. Decided against them (used the batting instead) but this one much have strayed from the herd and lost itself inside the blousey silk.

While we were discussing this, she admitted to me that she really did not like the velvet sash ribbon inside the neck opening. I agreed with her so I can remove it and maybe fold back the hook and eye area. Not possible to display it as my first photo because we wanted to show the trim on top of the shoulders.

Stay tuned . . .
 

Framar

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Well, it is finally finished (again) and all parties are thrilled with how it turned out.

I used silk thread to sew the back opening out of sight behind the front neckline. And cotton thread to sew the lace collar at the top. All of the rest is held in place by 1/4 x 1/16" magnets, which are in turn held in place with 1" squares of matboard with a 1/4" hold punched into them and glued onto the verso of the embossed ragboard backing.

Magnets on verso.jpg
Magnets on verso captured in ragboard squares glued with Frank's.
Pink chemise in frame.jpg

The best part of the story - customer, name of Lucie, wanted it for Thanksgiving. I finished it an hour before I closed on Wednesday but then I could not find her phone number anywhere!!! I was in a total panic. Lucy, shop cat, jumped up onto my lap to comfort me and I told her to help me send out a mental message to her namesake. I put my hands to my temples and chanted "Lucie, Lucie, Lucie . . ."

The shop door opened, and Lucie walked in, saying, "I hadn't heard from you, so I guess you weren't able to finish it?" I told her I finished it five minutes ago and was sending her a mental message. She got a huge charge out of this and she LOVED the neckline.
 

Framing Goddess

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Wow, Mar, this looks beyond fantastic! I am smitten with it! I am taking notes on your magnet technique for that big ole wedding dress we are about to tackle...after Christmas. Ulp.
 
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