Sunday, April 8

Burn Test

A bit ago my mom sent some fabric my way.  I really liked this one, lovely colours, pretty pattern, feminine but not girly.

It's quite thin, a loose woven and feels like it should be cool to wear.  I was thinking Sorbetto, underlined in cotton, add some flutter sleeves so I can wear it to work.

There is a bit of a mystery as to where this fabric came from.  My mom has never ever been to Europe, her grandparents came from England and Scotland, but I think Hawaii is the only place she's been outside of the US and Canada.  And yet this piece of fabric was priced in pounds.  So strange.  With it being a remnant and it does have a mark along the selvage, it wouldn't have been a gift from a visiting relative.  Someone must have given this to her at some point.
I was thinking it would be cotton blend of some sort.  Although it's soft, it did feel a little like there was something not quite natural fibre to it.  It had creases after being folded up so long and ironed well.  I thought I'd do a burn test.  It just... melted.  No black beads, most of it stayed the colour of the fabric.  Once cool it's hard and will snap.  Parts did seem to go a little grey rather than the blue of the fabric.  I wish I could tell you about the smell but my sinuses are still uncooperative thanks to this never ending cold.  So is it nylon?  Acetate?  I cut the snipped from the marked area at the selvage so the fabric looks a little darker here.

The concept of a burn test is so much easier than the application.  The results never seem as clean as the chart.

And a happy Easter everyone.  We're off to my parents for dinner in another hour or so.  Just 6 of us for dinner so far as I know, Scot and his wife will be there too.  It should be a nice evening.


  1. Happy belated easter! I feel you on the frustration of burn tests---I suspect I should do a bunch on my "known" fabrics so I'd have more of a sense of what the variation actually looks like, as opposed to some terse description on a chart. I bought a lovely-feeling (if overpriced) piece of lining/slippery twill at VV this past weekend hoping it might be silk, but the burn test suggests poly. Poopy---but it's still the most luscious-feeling lining fabric ever, so I'm trying not to pout.

    1. Luscious feeling is a good thing. It's the one aspect that is missing from online shopping, I love touching fabric. Drape changes so much about a fabric and it's hard to tell from pictures.

  2. Happy late Easter! I've never done a burn test because I'm sure I'd fail at deciphering it. Maybe I should burn my known fabrics like Tanit-Isis suggests. I just use the back of the pattern list as a general guide for the type of material because even when something is challis or charmeuse or whatever, it's never clear to me which of my fabric is which.

    My categories are more like: quilting cotton, twill, wool, annoying satiny slippery stuff, annoying matte slippery stuff, and lining. Not very scientific, I know!.

    Hope you're feeling better soon. Didn't parts of Canada use pounds sterling way back in the day? I may be thinking of Australia...

    1. At least a burn test will separate the synthetics pretty quick, does it melt or char is pretty clear. However the specifics of which synthetic or blended fabrics, eh...

      I'm with you on the categories. Fabricland isn't great for grouping by fibre content so when I started reading blogs I was really confused by some of the terminology. I think that's why the few online purchases I've made are about fibre content so I can see what the heck people are talking about.

      I had to google that to find out the history of Canadian money. Seems like there was some unclear usage of various money prior to Confederation, but with the creation of Canada in 1867, they united to agree on the Canadian dollar. There were still some issues after that because in 1867 Canada was only 4 provinces, but it is old enough to be sure that synthetic fabric was not purchased in Canada with pounds.

      I asked at Easter about the history of the fabric. She had a friend who worked in the fashion industry who often destashed to Mom, she assumes it came from her.

  3. If the fabric is acetate, a drop of acetone (also known as nail polish remover) will disolve through it. Or drop a small bit of fabric into a container of acetone and the whole bit will disolve.

    The important thing to get out of a burn test is whether the fabric in question is a natural fiber or man-made. Natural fibers breathe and absorb perspiration (making them comfortable to wear for long periods of time)and man-made fibers don't (making them uncomfortable to wear when the temperature goes up). This info should inform your choice of what to make with the fabric. --Melissa Bee

    1. Well it is most definitely synthetic. I suppose going further into determining the fibres is more about curiousity than necessity. As you say, just knowing it melted means I won't be putting a sleeve on the final shirt to let some air flow under my arms.

      I can't remember if my current bottle of nail polish remover has acetone or not, I will have to check and test that out if it does.

      Thanks for the comment!


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