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  1. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest


    I think this dress is silk velvet after researching online. I can do a burn test, but would have to take a snip from pinked seams, which I would do, but I'm pretty sure it is silk velvet, just the pure heaven of feeling it, tells me is. But saying that I don't know too much about silk velvet and there are random brushed areas on the velvet (not crushed), is that how silk velvet looks naturally or are the brushed areas an added finish and if so, is there a name for that? I know, that velvet is brushed, but these areas obviously brushed and permanent, ie I couldn't rub my hand over it to get it back to the same as the stronger coloured parts. I hope you know what I mean!

    Looks early late 60s/early 70s? It's a bit 'yeah baby' isn't it, very Austin Powers....if he were to wear a dress that is :)

    Oh and what colour would you call it? Plum, aubergine or magenta (one of my favourite words, magenta). Ignore the backview cos the colour didnt come out well, but I included it cos u can see more of the brushed parts. The colour is pretty much the first two pics. Actually I had a hard time photographing the velvet, it just wasn't happening!


  2. Catbooks1940s

    Catbooks1940s VFG Member

    doesn't look like silk velvet, which has a *lot* of drape and is 'liquidy.' silk velvet (or rayon, which is similar) wouldn't make sense for the cut of this dress, which is rather structured.

    the parts that you're referring to as brushed are where something has caused the pile to lay down flat - something laying on top of it, for example.

    sometimes you can get the pile up again, if you use a steamer from the reverse side and steam up through the fabric while brushing it with say a stiff toothbrush. sometimes there's just no bringing it back though.

    yes, the dress is late 60s, very austin powers, and in the top shots it looks plum.
  3. Laura

    Laura Alumni

    I personally haven't seen much silk velvet after the 1930s. Synthetics seemed to become much more popular after that.

    I agree with Joan on everything. :)
  4. Agree with Joan and Laura - I think your dress is probably polyester velvet, and so I encourage a burn test. Silk velvet is soft and drapey, cool to the touch. I generally think of it as feeling "buttery" if you know what I mean. It would not be suitable for your dress, which is more structured.

    To see the difference, here is a '30s evening dress I sold few months ago - you can see how soft and flowy it is:


  5. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest

    Thanks everyone, not very good with my gut instincts & research then lol! The patches/brushed parts seem intentional on the dress, so not sure what's happening there or that's just the way the fabric is.

    Nicole, after seeing your photo I'm a bit embarrassed to have ever thought it was silk velvet :duh2: I have got polyester velvet but this one seems softer, thicker, silkier, cool to the touch, maybe that's just cos it's a thicker polyester velvet. Also my hands are so hot from the warm weather that anything seems cool! I'll try and do a burn test....

  6. sarah-jane

    sarah-jane VFG Member

    Nothing to add on the fabric, but I think the colour is straightforwardly purple! A rather regal shade of purple.
  7. nostalgic*collections

    nostalgic*collections Registered Guest

    I vote for orchid or plum!
  8. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest

    Purple ... plum, orchid..thanks! I think I'm just looking for an excuse to use magenta cos I love the word! Could it be magenta?

    Burn test, I've done 3 on the dress now. I haven't performed many before as the half dozen charts I've referred to all say different things, so sure does confuse a gal with little brain!

    Burn test on my fabric:

    Bright big orange flame, continued to burn, burned into dark grey hard curly brittle lacey ash, sometimes broke into pieces but often the piece didn't break up much when extinguished.

    Looking up one chart first, it wasn't conclusive, then referred to others and they say different, so very very confused! Help! :insane:

  9. nostalgic*collections

    nostalgic*collections Registered Guest

    Nicole - You are straight out of a movie. Love the seafoam dress!
  10. I wish it were me! The photo is Candice, one of my lovely shop ladies.

    Sarah, please don't be too hard on yourself - we've all learnt these things the hard way. From your description of the burn test, it doesn't sound like polyester but perhaps it's rayon or even cotton? I'm thinking the former.

  11. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest

    Glad the photo wasn't you otherwise I'd have to hate you lol! But I'm sure your'e just as lovely.

    Yes, I'm always hard on myself, I've had that said to me too many times to count!

    Rayon eh? I took a photo of the reverse side of the fabric as may help identify, it's kind of two tone:

  12. nostalgic*collections

    nostalgic*collections Registered Guest

    I can see the magenta in that photo! Irridescent Plummy Magenta!

    It does look rayon.
  13. laughingmagpie

    laughingmagpie Registered Guest

    One of the things that's tricky about determining the fibre content of velvet is that it is often made from two different fibres: one for the pile and one for the backing.

    The pile is the soft tufts of fabric that stick up and it's often something like rayon, cotton, acetate (really common now), polyester and (very, very rarely anymore) silk.

    The backing is the fabric that the pile is attached to. It's often something like rayon, cotton, silk ,acetate or other synthetics. The pile and backing can be the same fibre, like cotton velvet often is, or different fibres. The "silk velvet" sold these days is often a silk backing with a rayon pile - it's not 100% silk. Silk velvet from say, before 1940, is more likely to be 100% silk - both backing and pile.

    If this backing is woven, it's a velvet or velveteen. If it's knit, it's a velour. The picture of the backing of your fabric looks knit to me - is it stretchy?

    I find smell to be one of the best signs during a burn test, do you remember how it smelt?
  14. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest

    Thanks for all the info!

    My sense of smell isn't great, but the backing doesn't have any stretch. Did bout 3 burn tests and sometimes it burnt and shrivelled to hard dark grey lacey char and I had to break the char up. On one ocasion it burnt it didn't shrivel or shrink much, maybe I extinguished it by accident or it stopped itself. But as well as the lacey part, a tiny area was kind of melted. Did a pic which is very blurry so prob won't be much help. The part covered my tweezers was the melty bit. Either way there was definitely lacey hard ash/char. So seems like mixed fibre?.natural fibre and a synthetic one going on?

  15. laughingmagpie

    laughingmagpie Registered Guest

    It's really hard to tell without being there myself. It sounds a bit like acrylic or acetate to me, but it's one of those things where if I could get a whiff of it and see it burn, I'd have a good guess. And, to tell you the truth, I don't think I could make a call myself without being able to smell it - that so quickly tells me whether there's natural fibres (the most likely one in your velvet would be rayon, which would smell like burning leaves or paper) present. I think the safest way to describe this fabric would be to say it's velvet, and you did a burn test that was inconclusive, but you suspect it's probably a blend that includes some synthetic fiber.

    I know there are several charts out there (and I always end up referring to more than one) but my favorite is this chart:
  16. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest

    Yes, I think that chart is great, that's the chart I printed off and followed when I did the burn test, but the result was a mixture, so that's when I digressed and looked at others which didn't help! Need to practice with swatches of known fabric to get used to identifying.

    :USETHUMBUP: for help!

  17. awaywiffairies

    awaywiffairies Registered Guest

    Helllooo, this thread is probably exhausted, but I just noticed that I had a much clearer photo of the fabric after being burnt, I think this did extinguish before it could get more chared, but even though I haven't got smelly vision, those that are in the know will hopefully tell me what the fabric might be from pic, but if you're all fed up with the subject, no worries!

  18. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    I would go with purple too on the color. And maybe magenta. Aubergine is darker, and I'd say plum is darker too.

  19. Jluthye

    Jluthye Registered Guest

    Well there is deffinately cotton in that! but not sure what your synthetic is?
    and its results can vary if it and ti probabaly was, treated with chemicals... I am thinking poly cotton or acetate cotton... not sure though
  20. Jluthye

    Jluthye Registered Guest

    oh and FYI cotton is the most common natural fiber that will leave a skeleton of the fabric so to speak.. and will almost always have white/light greay ash and sometimes black too.... that piece you showed has much cotton content........

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