Friday, April 8, 2011

Thrifty Finds Part 3 - Where We Set Things On Fire

Burn tests... I've heard about them.  I've heard that phrase thrown around by the ones in the know, "Oh I did a burn test..." and suddenly all the mysteries of their fabric universe were unfurled.

Pretty much every piece of fabric I've purchased has had the content known, and in handling it or working with it, there have been few mysteries at all.  So of course, given the opportunity I jumped at the chance!  

(And just for the record, I was very careful, especially with my (older) kids around, to make sure this was all carried out in a precautionary fashion.  I would suggest the same to anyone trying this.  Safety first!)

I used this handy-dandy chart to help me navigate the results:

As suggested, I used small parts from the cut ends - although let me tell you it was tough to cut even a little off - I'm pretty frugal when it comes to my fabric layouts and layout paranoia set in who knows what I might need?

A reminder:

I was pretty confident the red and the floral were mostly cotton.  The white and blue stripe was the most mysterious to me.  Cotton/poly blend?  It reminded me of unwashed linen, but it was a tad bit slubby and I didn't want to get too excited.  I'd been hunting for a striped linen for my summer dresses project for a while...  It would be too crazy to find some in a thrift store!

And the results?

Red first:

This burned like cotton in burn quality, odor and ash colour.  I did notice that the ashes were stiffer overall and had some very black streaks.  My best guess is that is due to the melted lurex threads.

The Floral: 

This burned exactly how cotton/ramie/rayon is described.  My daughter even commented (without knowing the chart) "That smells like paper!".  The print seemed to leave an interesting burn pattern on the ash.  Given the feel of it I'm pretty sure this is a brushed cotton, and after laundering it, I'm almost positive.  It's probably the softest woven fabric I've ever felt!

On to the mystery fabric.  I was expecting some sort of polyester deal - self extinguishing, dark beads of melted plastic.  Oh well, and I'll re-thrift.  Nothing lost.  

The Blue & White Stripe:

On first try I didn't believe my eyes, so I tried it again.  This wasn't polyester.  It was a natural fiber.  The charring, the odor, the palest of the gray ashes... delicate almost.  This wasn't cotton... this was linen!

Now granted, it might not be the most awesome quality Irish linen you've ever seen, but for 2 1/4 yards at $1.99, I was pretty happy!  My hunting for a striped linen for summer just went up in smoke! 

Have you recently done the happy found fabric dance?  I want to hear about your fantastic fabric finds!

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