Using unmarked vintage fabric ? silk or poly?

Working with a new fabric can be intimidating - discuss everything from washing to needle choice here.

Using unmarked vintage fabric ? silk or poly?

New postby katyb52 on Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:45 pm

I have a large (very large) collection of ladies scarves from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, etc. all the way to present. My mother didn't like tags on her scarves so she trimmed the tag. How do I tell the difference between silk, rayon, or poly of a sheer organza or even material that is not a sheer? I do handwork embroidery and some machine work. I create wall art from fabrics I have on hand. I don't want to destroy the fabric to figure it out. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.
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Re: Using unmarked vintage fabric ? silk or poly?

New postby sewingrandma on Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:51 pm

The only way I know of is by a burn test and for that you would have to burn a piece of each which I know you don't want to do. Here is a site that has a chart for a burn test if you are interested. http://www.ditzyprints.com/dpburnchart.html
She might have some other way of telling the difference and I'm sure someone else will pop in and have some other ideas.
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Re: Using unmarked vintage fabric ? silk or poly?

New postby LeapFrog Libby on Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:04 pm

I am a firm believer in my Mother's way of treating vintage fabric. She said everything is washable, just be careful. Use gentle soap and be careful to dry out of the sun. Natural drying is best. Use only gentle heat of the iron when you have to press wrinkles out. We never even sent velvet to the cleaners or pure silk either. we always sent only wool heavy garments to the cleaners. I had lots of silk garments when I was a little girl. We had all kinds of mill stores here back in the 30s and 40s.. Mom's best friend sewed for a living and is one of the ones who inspired me to sew, along with my Grandmother. But my Mom was the one who taught me to care for all my garments properly. She only used a needle and thread and only once in a while.. LOL..
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