What Is This?

This is a rather lovely (in my opinion) fabric that I bought on Etsy.

It's lustrous, matte and drapes beautifully. But what is it?

The seller wasn’t sure what it was made from and could only tell me this:

“5 yards – 62″
vintage silky fabric
never used
silky material – not sure weather satin or silk”

It arrived a while ago, I’ve only just got round to thinking about using it and I want to pre-treat it before I do.  Which means I need to know what it is!

So, using Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide I did a burn test on a bit of it.


It burns – fast!  With a yellow flame, and has an after glow that creeps.  It smells like paper when it burns.  The burnt edge is tinged brown and the ash (what little there was of it) was light and fine.

This makes me think that it’s either Rayon, or a Cotton Rayon mix.

The burn characteristics for Cotton, according to the book, are:
Burns rapidly, yellow flame; continues burning afterglow.  Smells of burning paper, leaves, wood.  Brown-tinged end; light-coloured, feathery ash.
and for Rayon:
Burns rapidly; leaves creeping ember.  Smells of burning wood.  Very little, light fluffy ash.

So I think it’s a cotton satin or a cotton/rayon satin.

So as far as pre-treating it goes, I think I’ll hedge my bets and go with the treatment for Rayon which according to the book the washability is dependent on the type, weave and garment design!  It does help a bit though by saying that it should be a mild detergent and hand washed in luke warm water and that excess should be pressed out not wrung or twisted.  Or do I get brave and bung it in the machine?!


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