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Fabric Burn Test help

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by Trish, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. Trish

    Trish Registered Guest

    I was told this fabric was about 50 years old. It first felt like rayon, but then I thought it might be silk because it has such a beautiful sheen.

    When held it ignited fast, burned away from the flame, flared up then smoldered.
    It did not want to burn all the way and left a "skeleton". There was no chemical odor.

    It left a residue I could wipe away with water.
    When I tapped the burned part it fragmented and was soft. No matter how much
    more I burned it it still was soft and black. Now I'm thinking mercerized cotton,
    but what of the yellow residue? Is that from mercerization? From age?
    I appreciate your expertise!
  2. Distantdetails

    Distantdetails Administrator Staff Member

  3. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    Trish, what was the odor just after the flame burned out?
  4. Trish

    Trish Registered Guest

    No chemical odor, and since I used a match it smelled like that. I cut off a narrow strip this morning and soaked it in cold water for 30 minutes. Strong odor of mothballs hit me. Nothing happened to the sample. I soaped it up vigorously and a tiny bit of dye released. I repeated that using hot water and nothing happened. When it was wet it felt like rip-stop nylon, when dry rayon or silk--but it felt much stronger than silk.

    I air dried it and burned it again, this time with a gas flame. Same results, big flare, smoldered, left a skeleton but much less yellow residue. The odor was not chemical and it wasn't strong at all--mushrooms or doused campfire--woody.

    I really appreciate your help!
  5. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    That gloss and the woody scent sound exactly like rayon, but the black ash doesn't. Do you have a photo of the fabric from a little distance away?
  6. Trish

    Trish Registered Guest

  7. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG President Staff Member

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that it is cotton weft and rayon warp. That residue? I can only guess that it is dye or a fabric treatment.
  8. Trish

    Trish Registered Guest

    Awesome. That works for me. Off to make a donation...
    denisebrain likes this.

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