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Thread: How to store fabric out of light. Does light fade fabric?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Deb53's Avatar
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    How to store fabric out of light. Does light fade fabric?

    I am planning to redo my sewing room and have been thinking about how to store my fabric. In the past I have read that fabric color does fade from light exposure and you should have the fabric stored out of light. Now I realize that "light" is different for every room situation - light bulbs, window light, sunlight, etc. I have seen fabric where the outer folded edge was affected by how it was stored.
    Does anyone have opinions about this and/or good ways to store fabric??
    I've attached a photo of how I currently store my fabric.... in bankers boxes turned sideways.
    My next house I'll have a big room to start fresh with organizing it.
    Thanks for any input you may give.
    Attached Images Attached Images Click to view large image 

  2. #2
    Super Member paulswalia's Avatar
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    there is a UV film you can put over your windows (on the inside) that blocks some of the problem. We use it at the quilt shop where I work. But we have found that if fabric is stored right by the window, you can still have some fading. Fabric stored a little ways away had no ill effect.

  3. #3
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    I think you are mistaking light for sunlight. Direct sunlight is the light that fades fabric. Indirect sunlight doesn't fade; artificial light doesn't fade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    I think you are mistaking light for sunlight. Direct sunlight is the light that fades fabric. Indirect sunlight doesn't fade; artificial light doesn't fade.
    I wonder about that - the quilt museum in Paducah uses very subdued lighting.

    Also, a lot of shows request that no flashes be used when taking pictures of the quilts.

  5. #5
    Super Member Country1's Avatar
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    Direct sunlight a def no-no. I was wondering if the boxes you have it stored in is acid free?
    Country 1

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    I can't speak for the museum but I would guess that the subdued lighting is due to the fact that colors show to their best advantage in that light. Bright artificial light will flatten out colors, make them appear dull, lack luster and even fainter than they truly are. The amount of distortion of color refraction depends on the amount of lumins, the color of the walls (how much reflection is going on), and other factors. Subdued lighting is common in all museums. Special high lighting is usually done with spot lights in the ceilings and these are designed so that there is no reflections or glare and they themselves are soft lights. But if artificial lights would fade, there would be no spot lights on paintings, quilts, carpets, tapestries, etc.

  7. #7
    Junior Member Deb53's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies. I'll be sure the fabric is not stored at the window area. The window is very large so I'll check into the UV film to put on the windows.
    Thanks again.

  8. #8
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    I think using the boxes for fabric storage is good. I just label mine with a sheet of paper on the front "RWB" "CQ", etc. I have fabrics that are 15 years old. No fading. That is as organized as I get!

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Do be careful that even flouresant bulbs will fade fabric. A friend hung a quilt in her office .. no outside source of light .. the only source was the overhead fixtures... and it faded. If you are redoing your room I would get solid doors on the area where you store fabric.
    Last summer I helped redo my Mom's sewing room... so much fabric had been damaged from sunlight and artifical lights.. it was a real shame . I put together some tall cabinets with doors so the fabrics can be protected from light and dust. My sewing room I only have the ability (currently) to put a sheet over the fabrics to protect them... its a pain and looks ...terrible. It is on my list of things to do to redo my fabric storage area.
    Museum use incandesent lights not flouresant over works of art , as the incandesant lighting does cause fading.
    It is hard to get all the lighting we love for sewing, but at the same time it is harmful to the fabrics we love/collect.
    Last edited by Lori S; 06-07-2012 at 07:01 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member happyquiltmom's Avatar
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    I store all my fabric in a huge dresser, away from all light sources.

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