Question for readership: Coping with a Cope

From a reader…


My parish priest has asked me to find a trustworthy cleaner  who can clean an old, very beautiful and still in very good shape Cope. It was made in France for the local Polish church and seems to have gold thread, satin with lots of embroidery and is of a very high quality. Any thoughts? I am located in the north east of the USA but obviously am willing to mail it. Thank you.

Any thoughts?

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  1. luciavento says:

    Ask your local museum which professional cleaner they use to clean and restore vintage clothing and textiles.

  2. In the ten years I have been doing restoration work I have seen gorgeous antique vestments sent to the cleaner and destroyed in the process. Old silk, when exposed to the heat and chemicals of dry cleaning, will most likely disintegrate and the (also silk) embroidery will disappear.

    If you call the Lyric Opera in Chicago and ask them how they clean their lovely 100+ year old costumes they will tell you “they don’t.” The best care for these pieces is prevention and preservation.

    If you are beyond prevention and preservation with a piece that is already damaged, depending on the level of soil, restoration may be the only real option to save it. I am happy to consult and make recommendations if anyone wants to reach out please feel free:

  3. Titus says:

    V.P. is correct, there is no dry-cleaning protocol, even a natural and gentle one, that will be safe. The only cleaning agent I have ever seen work on fragile antique cloth is sodium perborate, and then only on washable fabrics like linen and cotton.

    If Via Providence can’t help, you might try contacting The Liturgical Co., who does vestment restoration as well:

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