Defining the fabric type is a very difficult task. It is almost impossible to define whether it is just old or really antique textiles. For example, some cottons, such as batiste, nainsnook and lawn, are so similar to each other that they become indistinguishable after washing. Whether washed or new, longcloth and mull cannot be distinguished from lawn and nainsnook.
Voile can be easily identified. Though it is still produced nowadays, it can be easily differentiated from antique. In the past voile had wide selvages, while today they are much narrower. Speaking about vintage fabrics it is possible to say that percales are the most definable thanks to their print designs, smooth finish and colorful flora. The textiles have been removed by super pimas from Italia. However, old percale is still highly appreciated nowadays.
Such antique textiles as organdy, Swiss muslin and lawn organdy are often confused. There are some descriptions of the fabrics helping to differentiate them. It is possible to say that organdy has a very stiff finish and is difficult to gather. Swiss muslin is very fine possessing smooth finish. And lawn organdy is sometimes called Swiss muslin of a poor man because of the soft crisp finish. Besides, all the three fabrics keep their original level of crispness after washing.
Some antique textiles, like lawn and Swiss muslin, are not available nowadays. Old books tell that lawn organdy is similar to Indian linen, which left the market in the middle of the 20th century. The fabrics are similar, because both of them are easy to gather, keep their crispness and a little resemble dimity. These antique textiles were used for aprons and pinafores, collars and children's clothes, for tea-rooms and for other purposes. Organdy was widely used for dolls clothing in the middle of the 20th century. Whatever the quality of the fabric is, it is a perfect textile to deal with.
It is worthy of note that most antique textiles has not changed since 1800s in the variety of the widths and weave patterns. Most old wool has musty smell, which can't be removed even by thorough airing. Though people often are able to identify and date a fabric, it is impossible to identify its trademark and special finish, the origin of which will never be known.
It is advised to keep antique fabrics in clean, dry, cool, dark and free storage area. As strong changes in humidity and temperature are harmful for old fabrics, they are never kept at the attic or in the basement. It is best to keep them in a chest of drawers. It is necessary to keep them as clean as possible. If an item cannot be cleaned, it should be vacuumed. It is advised to store textiles flat to avoid abrasion.