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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My first burn test

First off, the bad news: I have no camera. I did a little photo shoot yesterday, but I can't find the connector cable to download the pics to my computer. We have another camera... but I apparently left the battery for that one in the States. Oh well. I tried to buy a new cable today but couldn't find one (not a lot of store options for that here). So, no photos until I either find the cable here at home or order it online, or I buy a new battery for the other camera.

Now, the real subject of this post: I did a burn test on the black fabric I plan to make some pants with. It is of such old stash vintage, I had no clue what it really was... feels like wool to me. If you don't know what a burn test is - you can set fire to a piece of fabric, and depending on what the burn is like, you can determine the fiber content. At least some people can. Sounds like fun, no?

I have Sandra Betzina's book, More Fabric Savvy, in which she explains how to do a burn test and what is characteristic of different fibers. Armed with a large scrap of fabric (slight fear of burning my fingers!) and a lighter, I set fire in the kitchen, figuring there's not much nearby in there that could catch fire and burn down the house.

Best I can figure, I've got a wool/cotton or wool/rayon? blend. I've never heard of a wool/rayon blend, though. I think wool blends better with polyester. The burn had the yellow, quick-burning flame of cotton or rayon and the crushable black ash of wool or silk. Oh, and the smell... It smelled like burnt hair - apparently another sign of wool or silk. I have scented candles burning all over the first floor now, so my husband doesn't walk in the door in a few hours and say "What the....?" Maybe it's a cotton/silk blend. I just can't tell at all by feeling it.

Has anyone else tried a burn test? Anyone else more confused after the test than before? :-)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wool and rayon is (or was) a fairly common blend for suiting. I don't have any on hand to burn, so can't tell you how the blend reacts, but pure rayon does burn very enthusiastically. Pure wool is more likely to smolder than burn. Wool and silk do act and smell pretty similar (both protein) when burned but look and feel very different so trust your fingers on this one.

I do burn tests under my range hood (turned on) and burn a small scrap held with tweezers. Saves the fingers and the nose ;)