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Help with the fabric in this dress, please!

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Chatter - Anything and everything' started by BonniesVintageClothesLine, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. I haven't done a burn test yet on this material yet as I thought the fabric was probably a cotton broadcloth. But the dark back on the material which seems to be part of the weave of the material and nothing applied or attached as a backing has got me a little puzzled. I have not had this type of material before. The outer material has a tiny bit of crispness giving it a little body and the back of the material feels a bit silky. Any thoughts and help would be greatly appreciated. I purchased this Parklane Juniors dress in a lot that mostly was 40s and 50s garments. I have another Parklane Juniors dress that I believe is cotton material. Neither this red dress or the other dress had any moth damage so I'm thinking there isn't any wool in them. I purchase 5 suits and they are wool and have a few small moth holes.



    Maybe you material can be seen in this photo a little closer......
  2. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Acting President Staff Member

    This seems like a compound fabric. Is the back, the black side, a knit, or a woven?
  3. Woven
  4. denisebrain

    denisebrain VFG Acting President Staff Member

    Bonnie, from the label photo, the outer surface looks like it might be twilled. It would be great if you have any close ups just of the inside and the outside of the fabric. In an inseam, can the back of the fabric be separated from the front?
  5. Maggie, the back cannot be separated from the front of the material. It's almost like it was woven this way. I will try to get a closeup of the material tomorrow when I'm not gonna be working. Thanks so much!
  6. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix Trade Member

    I have many bolts of vintage 1950s (could be 1960s) rayon fabrics in many colors that have that same back. The front is a faux nubby shantung (like silk) and the backs are all black and satiny as yours.
  7. vivavintageclothing

    vivavintageclothing Trade Member

    I will second Barbara, that I have had several rayon (and/or rayon blend) dresses over the years that were made of a similar, satin-backed, woven fabric.
  8. This dress is from the early 50s, I believe. It has a "New Look" style to me. The red fabric is a smooth fabric and has a slight sheen. I was thinking it could be a blend. I've just got to figure out what kind of blend it is to describe the fabric. I'm going to try to do a burn test tomorrow. That might help to determine what it might be. Thanks to all for your thoughts.
  9. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  10. Thanks, MJ! It's is such good condition and it is lovely!
  11. Linn

    Linn Trade Member

    Bonnie - I love your dress. I've been looking at it since you posted it. The photo of the front of the dress in the first post - and the way it seems to have a little bit of a sheen, and the way it hangs makes me "think" it "could" be cotton sateen. I wonder if the backing was bonded to the front fabric? That said - I just looked at a Suzy Perette dress that I bought years ago that has the same type of lining - thought it was cotton but am now not sure. It doesn't have the hand that cotton has - and doesn't "smell" like cotton, either, so maybe it's rayon. Of course it's been hanging in a closet in a humid climate for a really long time... Too bad fabric content wasn't required back then!!! I'll be interested in the results of your burn test.

    I don't have a photo of the lining but I do have this picture:

  12. Wow, Linn.....the lines of your dress and the material are so similar. I was thinking possibly cotton sateen, too, but wasn't sure. So today when I get back from our vet appointment, I will burn some material and see what I find out and will report back later. I have another dress that was owned by the same lady and the lines are the same and the label is the same. I was thinking that dress was cotton.....no backing, but an attached crinoline under the skirt instead. I'll post a photo of that dress later. And, btw, I love that Suzy Perette dress, Linn. It's wonderful. Plaids are my favorites.
  13. Do you have any 1950s catalogs? Sears Wards etc?
    These are my "bible" when I am stumped. Either the dress description or their fabric section.

    I have the name floating around somewhere in my head, but.......
  14. I don't have any catalogs from the 50s....sure wish I did as that would be a great resource. But, I did the burn test on the material and I'm even more convinced now that the material is a blend. It didn't burn altogether like a synthetic. I burned one piece on the red side and one piece on the black side to see if there was a little difference in the way the material burned. And, there was a little difference in that the black side did seem a bit more like a synthetic. And the red side burned a little more like cotton. On the red side burned and charred and had a blacker ash. On the black side, grayer ash and burned and charred. The material flamed and there was no bead that formed. And, I could really see that the black material was an actual part of the weave when I cut a little piece an inner seam. Might be a cotton/rayon blend.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
    poppysvintageclothing likes this.
  15. I will see if i can locate my Sears etc tonight. It is stuck in my head and it wont come forward lol I know this!!!!
  16. Thank you so much for your help.
  17. Linn

    Linn Trade Member

    My dress (shown above) has an attached crinoline. It's lined from the waist up. The lining is sewn in but it is not part of the plaid fabric. I think your lining might be bonded to the fabric rather than a woven part of it. I'm not an experienced burn tester but I believe that gray ash indicates cotton and a blacker ash indicates a synthetic. It's more likely that the dress is cotton and the lining is rayon - unless the dress is a rayon cotton blend. Whatever it is it's lovely!

    I don't have any large Sear's '50s catalogues. I have the Everyday Fashions series and this exact dress is not in it. Actually nothing was that similar. In many instances the descriptions have not been included which is not helpful!
  18. Thank you, Linn! I want to say that I remember when we used to attend the jewelry conventions that Lucille Tempesta organized, you were always stunning in your vintage attire and so tiny that I know this dress would have fit you perfectly.
  19. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Silk, wool, acetate and triacetate have a black brittle or crushable bead; nylon, polyester, and other synthetics shrink from the flame and melt.

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