The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

Fabric Identification

Over on Ann Steeve’s blog, she talked about this a little, but this is the best chart I’ve ever seen.  This is from B&J which is a fabulous, fabulous store in the Garment District  I discovered B & J before Mood and for a long time didn’t even think that there was anything comparable, and then Mood and so now I’m a devotee of both!

Anyway – to the topic at hand.  If you get a piece of fabric and 1.) don’t remember the content, 2.) never knew it to begin with, and/or 3.) couldn’t tell what it was if it hit you over the  head, then this is the best way to tell what it is.

B & J gives a chart

It’s a lot bigger than this (right click, and view image to see it in full size).  But this is probably one of the best and most complete charts I’ve seen.

As they say on their site, you have to use your nose, eyes and touch (after the burn) to id the fabric properly and even give ideas about how to id blends, which is always a problem.

There’s still the old fav of putting a piece of silk in Chlorox and it will pretty much disappear after a while (an hour or so, depending upon the size of the piece of fabric), but burning is probably the best way to tell the enough of the content so that you know about care and how to make up the fabric.

One of my favorite signs in burning is that if it smells icky (like rotten eggs), that’s usually an animal fiber (silk/wool) and it’s the sulfur burning that makes it stink.  And if it ashes but doesn’t stink it’s probably a plant fiber.  If it “melts” or bubbles up, it’s plastic, but this chart takes it even further  detailed and I love it!

BTW, this is the B & J blog, which is also worth keeping up on!



1 Comment
  1. Hello Claire, thank you for linking to this on Twitter. The topic of burn testing was covered on the Twitter chat #fabricchat back in July and this explains clearly a lot of what was ‘said’.

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