I think it’s time for a little tutorial… so here we go.
smalltownfrocks is all about the reLove. I have always loved vintage and thrift store finds… and more often than not the labels are not attached or readable any more so it can be difficult to know what type of fibre something is made out of… there are a few simple ways to test.
Let’s start with something basic and handy… wool. Itchy is not always a good way to test, other than deciding if something is too itchy… there can often be blends. However, as we all know too well if you just chuck a wool sweater into the wash you will be left with a lovely piece of felted wool instead. Friction and temperature change is what makes wool felt. Acrylic or even some blends can be safely washed however… so how to tell the difference.
The burn test. Take a small snippet from the seam allowance or the end of yarn from a colour change. Hold it with a pair of tweezers (NOT your fingers!). Put a flame to the end and then pull it away. If it continues to burn after the flame is removed it is a synthetic.
Wool is self extinguishing, it will burn exposed to flame but will not continue to burn once the source is removed. This is why I stuff all of the toys that I make with wool. Naturally antimicrobial and flame resistant. The second clue is the smell of burning hair. Wool is a protein similar to your own hair and will smell as such when burnt. Synthetics will smell like burning plastic. A blend can smell like a combination of burning hair and plastic… yick.
The third and final clue that something is pure wool is that the bead that forms from the ash will crumble. Synthetics make a hard bead, think plastic. Wool will crumble like ash. Do not try to crumble the bead until you are sure that it is cool… it can stick and burn your skin if you grab it to soon.
So before you throw your latest treasure into the washing machine… check to see if it’s wool or not. If you end up with a felted mini sweater… send me an email… I could probably use it for a snuggly creation ;-)
Next week is testing for silk.