The Burn Test - How To Test A Fabric For Its Contents
The Burn Test -Cotton is a plant fiber. When ignited it burns with a steady flame and smells like burning leaves. The ash left is easily crumbled. Small samples of burning cotton can be blown out as you would a candle.
CAUTION. WARNING. BE CAREFUL! This should only be done by skilled burners! Make sure there is a bucket of water nearby and
that you burn in a metal bucket or non-plastic sink.
To identify fabric that is unknown, a simple burn test can be done to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, man made
fiber, or a blend of natural and man made fibers. The burn test is used by many fabric stores and designers and takes practice to determine the exact fiber content. However, an inexperienced person can still determine the difference between many fibers to "narrow" the choices down to natural or man made fibers. This elimination process will give information necessary to decide the care of the fabric.
WARNING: All fibers will burn! Asbestos treated fibers are, for the most part fire proof. The burning test should be done with caution. Use a small piece of fabric only. Hold the fabric with tweezers, not your fingers. Burn over a metal dish with soda in the bottom or even water in the bottom of the dish. Some fabrics will ignite and melt. The result is burning drips which can adhere to fabric or skin and cause a serious burn.
Linen is also a plant fiber but different from cotton in that the individual plant fibers which make up the yarn are long where cotton fibers are short. Linen takes longer to ignite. The fabric closest to the ash is very brittle. Linen is easily extinguished by blowing on it as you would a candle.
Silk is a protein fiber and usually burns readily, not necessarily with a steady flame, and smells like burning hair. The ash is easily crumbled. Silk samples are not as easily extinguished as cotton or linen.
Wool is also a protein fiber but is harder to ignite than silk as the individual "hair" fibers are shorter than silk and the weave of the fabrics is generally looser than with silk. The flame is steady but more difficult to keep burning. The smell of burning wool is like burning hair.
Man Made Fibers
Acetate is made from cellulose (wood fibers), technically cellulose acetate. Acetate burns readily with a flickering flame that cannot be easily extinguished. The burning cellulose drips and leaves a hard ash. The smell is similar to burning wood chips.
Acrylic technically acrylonitrile is made from natural gas and petroleum. Acrylics burn readily due to the fiber content and the lofty, air filled pockets. A match or cigarette dropped on an acrylic blanket can ignite the fabric which will burn rapidly unless extinguished. The ash is hard. The smell is acrid or harsh.
Nylon is a polyamide made from petroleum. Nylon melts and then burns rapidly if the flame remains on the melted fiber. If you can keep the flame on the melting nylon, it smells like burning plastic.
Polyester is a polymer produced from coal, air, water, and petroleum products. Polyester melts and burns at the same time, the melting, burning ash can bond quickly to any surface it drips on including skin. The smoke from polyester is black with a sweetish smell. The extinguished ash is hard.
Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber which is almost pure cellulose. Rayon burns rapidly and leaves only a slight ash. The burning smell is close to burning leaves.
Blends consist of two or more fibers and, ideally, are supposed to take on the characteristics of each fiber in the blend. The burning test can be used but the fabric content will be an assumption.
Or the highly acclaimed article on
The Numbers Game - What Does Super Wool Mean?.
Why the numerical designations-Super 100s, Super 120s, Super 180s-for
ultra-lightweight wools don't mean what you think they do.
The thread of this story is the numbering system used to describe the new breed of super-lightweight, high-twist wools. Pioneered by Italian mills about ten years ago, these fabrics are made using high-tech machines that spin wool lighter and finer than it's ever been spun before. The vari...
Or the highly acclaimed article on
The Tux: A Groom's Fashion Checklist.
With all that wedding planning crowding your mind, you might be tempted to forget about formalwear until the last minute. But looking good requires planning ahead. How to go about it? Here's our checklist.
THREE MONTHS BEFORE
Decide what you and your groomsmen will wear. Go tux shopping or reserve rentals for you and your posse.
ONE MONTH BEFORE
If you’re buying a tux, make sure alterations are finished and go in ...
Lifestyle - Older, Wiser And Trendier - How Dressing Your Age Can Make You Look Younger.
A friend of mine who can’t reconcile himself to having recently turned 60 years old showed up at his birthday bash in a tie-dyed T-shirt he’d worn to rock ‘n’ roll concerts 35 years ago and a black leather jacket with lots of silver studs. He tried to conceal his bald spot by combing it over with the hair he still has left. He looked ridiculous and older than he is.
With the first baby boomers the generation born soon aft...
Great custom tailoring information can be found in
Bespoke Suits For Men - How To Wear.
A Bespoke suit is almost certainly made from animal hair, and in turn it is almost certain that animal is a sheep. Wool has several unique properties. It is an immensely strong fibre that resists creasing and retains heat in cold weather but releases it when conditions are warm. The coarseness of the wool and the length of the fibres dictate its fineness and the finest wools are every bit as soft as cashmere. The very best wools ar...
The following article also comes highly recommended:
The Making Of A Bespoke Suit - By A Suit Maker..
After 22 years of tailoring, I’ve been asked to write how to make a bespoke suit.
Firstly, we must assume we have taken an order by way of a customer coming into our premises. What happens, personally John & I have a very relaxed & business attitude towards serving customers. We feel it’s better to be relaxed when spending money, rather than going into some stuffy nosed over priced tailors who spend a fortune of your money ...