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Thread: telling cotton from polyester

  1. #1
    joy
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    Sometimes it is difficult to tell cotton material from polyester material... how do you know?

  2. #2
    Super Member 2 Doods's Avatar
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    I need to know too!
    I have inherited some fabric from my quilt group for a charity quilt. It is Daisy Kingdom and should be pretty made up. I would like to know if it is 100% cotton.
    Educate us Please!

  3. #3
    Super Member MissTreated's Avatar
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    One sure way to tell is a burn test. Take a small piece of the fabric in question, hold it with a pair of hemostats, and light it up. (I do this over a sink) If the fabric melts, it's poly. If it burns, but turns to ash, it's cotton.

    M

  4. #4
    Super Member 2 Doods's Avatar
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    I had heard of a burn test but could not remember what to look for.

    THANK YOU!

  5. #5
    joy
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    Thank you people... I had heard of the burn test also but couldn't remember which one shrivelled up...!!! I have difficulty deciding in a shop.... will just have to trust to luck, although the shop owner could tell me...

  6. #6
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    Yes, Joy, the owner should be able to tell you if its cotton. Also, on
    the end of the bolt it should say 100% cotton and where its made.

  7. #7
    joy
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    There is a material shop about half an hours drive from here that sells cheaper materials.... are there cotton materials that are not as good as the ones sold in the quilting shops? I have felt some of them and they seem thinner....

  8. #8
    Super Member MissTreated's Avatar
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    Indeed, you are correct. The cottons sold at the quilt stores are the better quality cottons. The weave is not as tight and often the colors aren't as fast.

    M

  9. #9
    Connie Hadba's Avatar
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    When I first started buying material here in Lebanon, I stumbled into a small fabric shop with an extremely helpful owner. The shop was no larger than my bedroom, but was piled from floor to ceiling with bolts of fabric on three walls and then some lying on the floor. A marvelous place to explore. :D
    Anyway, when I told him in my very bad Arabic that I needed 100% cotton, he proceeded to show me how to tell the fabrics apart using the burn test. He took bits of several fabrics and lit a match to each one then showing me how the cotton and polyester blends melted and partially burned and the way the cottons burned into ash. I learned a lot from him but was terrified that he would set his entire shop on fire. :shock:
    That was 4 years ago and his lesson on testing fabrics sticks with me. His method works every time - but I make sure the fabric is held over a sink with lots of water in case of accidents. :wink:
    Connie

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