Thursday, October 2, 2008

Determining Fibre Content

Unless one is dyeing fabrics there may not be any need to know the fibre content of any fabric. The colours, patterns and the intended use for a particular fabric, are the prime considerations.
In dyeing fabric however, determining the fibre content of any fabric is the first consideration before any fabric hits the dye water. If the right dye for a particular fabric is not used, all will be in vain.
Recently I purchased a piece of fabric labelled linen/polyester. I knew that my dyes (Procion MX) would not touch the polyester but it would be interesting to see what would happen to the linen component. Nilch, nothing, not a hint of colour! Obviously no linen present. This piece of fabric did have a 'linen' look so perhaps that justified its 'linen' classification. All was not lost however, and Plan B had me painting a repeating motif on to this fabric using a textile pigment (see photo below).
Many fabrics in shops of course do have labels stating their fibre content, and proportions if more than one type of fibre is blended in the fabric. However, it is not always quite that simple and standard practice is to burn a small snippet and observe the burning characteristics. I have discovered a good Fiber Burn Chart on However, I am not sure when this was written as she states that she carries in her purse a pair of collapsable scissors and a lighter in an old candy tin. Um.... not sure whether I would like to have such items found in my purse at Customs, or anywhere else in fact! At The Fabric Warehouse, Sar Street, Thorndon, Wellington, they have their own cigarette lighter for this very purpose.
Earlier in the blogs I refered to an url to use if you wish to receive this blog as a regular email. This site, despite originally being accessible, seemed to go awol. It is now back, and 'beta' (better) so they say!. Visit and follow the three simple instructions. If this site doesn't open by clicking on the url, copy and paste it into your Google search and go from there.

FL16 Painted 'Linen'/Polyester 150cm x 1.4m

And just to be cheerful in this time of early spring. This photo came across the internet. Wouldn't we all like to have roses like these in our gardens!

Next Blog: Vat Dyes, what are they?