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Thread: Anyone allergic to fabric?

  1. #1
    Super Member Debbie B's Avatar
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    I have been quilting/sewing crafts for a little over a year now. I love this hobby. I have sensitive skin, but it has gotten better as I have gotten older. Some, but not all, perfume, lotion, shampoo & certain jewelry will cause me to get an itchy red rash. The past two months I get a rash on my face & hands. It gets better and then reoccurs. I can't think of anything that I am doing or using that is different. And then someone told me that maybe I'm allergic to fabric. I hope not. If it's fabric you would think that new clothes would break me out and that has never happened. Some fabrics I can wash & others are designer fabrics that I'm afraid can't be washed. Just wondering if anyone else does this????

  2. #2
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie B
    I have been quilting/sewing crafts for a little over a year now. I love this hobby. I have sensitive skin, but it has gotten better as I have gotten older. Some, but not all, perfume, lotion, shampoo & certain jewelry will cause me to get an itchy red rash. The past two months I get a rash on my face & hands. It gets better and then reoccurs. I can't think of anything that I am doing or using that is different. And then someone told me that maybe I'm allergic to fabric. I hope not. If it's fabric you would think that new clothes would break me out and that has never happened. Some fabrics I can wash & others are designer fabrics that I'm afraid can't be washed. Just wondering if anyone else does this????
    I can't wear wool, as it causes me to break out in a rash, and I can't knit or sew with it; makes my hands all itchy. I have to be careful with home dec fabric because of all the chemicals used to treat it for UV resistance, etc. I get terrible migraines when I sew or iron it while working with it. I have cut back on my home dec sewing for people for this reason. Did you change your laundry detergent or softener? My son is very allergic to these things. He can't even wear deodorant.

  3. #3
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    There are a lot of chemicals in fabrics as they are processed. I have trouble in fabric stores. I'm also allergic to fabric softener.

  4. #4
    Power Poster Sadiemae's Avatar
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    You may be allergic to the chemicals that are added to the fabric. These aren't always added to fabric that is made into clothes. I know people who have to wash fabric as soon as they take it home.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Quiltzilla's Avatar
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    I had trouble with fabrics and in particular, fabric stores in the past. It was due to a formaldehyde allergy. I could be in a fabric store for no more than a 15 minutes before the reaction would start. Carpet store caused the same trouble. That was back more than 15 years ago. I am thinking that there is currently much less formaldehyde in fabric than there was back then.

  6. #6
    Super Member Debbie B's Avatar
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    I haven't changed laundry detergent or fabric softner. I have been sewing a lot...almost 5 - 6 days a week. My friend & I are getting into a craft show come Nov and I've been sewing a lot of Bow Tucks purses and some messenger bags, plus some lap quilts & table runner/toppers. Maybe I should take a week off & see what happens. I hate to do that though, because I enjoy this so much.

  7. #7
    Senior Member marknfran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie B
    I have been quilting/sewing crafts for a little over a year now. I love this hobby. I have sensitive skin, but it has gotten better as I have gotten older. Some, but not all, perfume, lotion, shampoo & certain jewelry will cause me to get an itchy red rash. The past two months I get a rash on my face & hands. It gets better and then reoccurs. I can't think of anything that I am doing or using that is different. And then someone told me that maybe I'm allergic to fabric. I hope not. If it's fabric you would think that new clothes would break me out and that has never happened. Some fabrics I can wash & others are designer fabrics that I'm afraid can't be washed. Just wondering if anyone else does this????
    I can't wear wool, as it causes me to break out in a rash, and I can't knit or sew with it; makes my hands all itchy. I have to be careful with home dec fabric because of all the chemicals used to treat it for UV resistance, etc. I get terrible migraines when I sew or iron it while working with it. I have cut back on my home dec sewing for people for this reason. Did you change your laundry detergent or softener? My son is very allergic to these things. He can't even wear deodorant.
    WOW you have just described me!!! We have found only one detergent that we are not allergic to and that is the Original
    Tide powder (we have a front loader and so only use l/4 cup for a full wash).We cannot have wool or anything made from wool in the house. All the fabrics we buy (clothing and sewing fabrics) must be washed as soon as we get them in the house. So, all of my fabrics are washed before I sew with them. We do not buy any cleaning products with chemicals. And, we do not use deodorants. It has taken us many years to locate products we can use for cleaning our bodies and our home. So, You Are Not Alone!!!

  8. #8
    Super Member Lv2sew2011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie B
    I have been quilting/sewing crafts for a little over a year now. I love this hobby. I have sensitive skin, but it has gotten better as I have gotten older. Some, but not all, perfume, lotion, shampoo & certain jewelry will cause me to get an itchy red rash. The past two months I get a rash on my face & hands. It gets better and then reoccurs. I can't think of anything that I am doing or using that is different. And then someone told me that maybe I'm allergic to fabric. I hope not. If it's fabric you would think that new clothes would break me out and that has never happened. Some fabrics I can wash & others are designer fabrics that I'm afraid can't be washed. Just wondering if anyone else does this????
    I can't wear wool, as it causes me to break out in a rash, and I can't knit or sew with it; makes my hands all itchy. I have to be careful with home dec fabric because of all the chemicals used to treat it for UV resistance, etc. I get terrible migraines when I sew or iron it while working with it. I have cut back on my home dec sewing for people for this reason. Did you change your laundry detergent or softener? My son is very allergic to these things. He can't even wear deodorant.
    I'm alergic to wool too! makes me itch awfully.

  9. #9
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie B
    I haven't changed laundry detergent or fabric softner. I have been sewing a lot...almost 5 - 6 days a week. My friend & I are getting into a craft show come Nov and I've been sewing a lot of Bow Tucks purses and some messenger bags, plus some lap quilts & table runner/toppers. Maybe I should take a week off & see what happens. I hate to do that though, because I enjoy this so much.
    Try using some of the organic cottons and see if things change. They also have organic cotton batting and bamboo batting. Those might help your problem. I can certainly sympathize with you because of all my allergies. I can't go through a department store without having an allergy attack because of all the perfume displays. And going into a restaurant where they can only smoke outside; you have to walk right through it; I start having a coughing spell and feel like my breath is being taken away from me.

  10. #10
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marknfran
    Quote Originally Posted by grann of 6
    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie B
    I have been quilting/sewing crafts for a little over a year now. I love this hobby. I have sensitive skin, but it has gotten better as I have gotten older. Some, but not all, perfume, lotion, shampoo & certain jewelry will cause me to get an itchy red rash. The past two months I get a rash on my face & hands. It gets better and then reoccurs. I can't think of anything that I am doing or using that is different. And then someone told me that maybe I'm allergic to fabric. I hope not. If it's fabric you would think that new clothes would break me out and that has never happened. Some fabrics I can wash & others are designer fabrics that I'm afraid can't be washed. Just wondering if anyone else does this????
    I can't wear wool, as it causes me to break out in a rash, and I can't knit or sew with it; makes my hands all itchy. I have to be careful with home dec fabric because of all the chemicals used to treat it for UV resistance, etc. I get terrible migraines when I sew or iron it while working with it. I have cut back on my home dec sewing for people for this reason. Did you change your laundry detergent or softener? My son is very allergic to these things. He can't even wear deodorant.
    WOW you have just described me!!! We have found only one detergent that we are not allergic to and that is the Original
    Tide powder (we have a front loader and so only use l/4 cup for a full wash).We cannot have wool or anything made from wool in the house. All the fabrics we buy (clothing and sewing fabrics) must be washed as soon as we get them in the house. So, all of my fabrics are washed before I sew with them. We do not buy any cleaning products with chemicals. And, we do not use deodorants. It has taken us many years to locate products we can use for cleaning our bodies and our home. So, You Are Not Alone!!!
    My family can't use Dial soap. And I can't stand the smell of Tide; makes me start sneezing. I use All free and clear.

  11. #11
    Super Member Izaquilter's Avatar
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    i had a friend that would have reactions when she would walk into a fabric store. Especially the ones that had the isles together. At one point she literally had to leave the shop. So it could very well be what the fabric is treated with. Good luck, hope you figure out what is causing it. I've also heard that fabric attracts mites & I know none of us like to think about something like that but if we keep it stored for any length of time, what a nice cozy place for them!

  12. #12
    Junior Member glassnquilts's Avatar
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    I have an allergic reaction in a fabric store too. It causes me to buy stuff I don't need.

  13. #13
    Super Member chickadeee55's Avatar
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    I have heard of this, and some lower line fabrics have even more die and chemicals in them. Does it still bother you if you wash the fabric before sewing with it?

  14. #14
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    I can't do wool either. Itchy, red hives. And I will sneeze when first working with fabrics and batting. The sneezing goes away eventually. Cotton dust can't be very good for you.

  15. #15
    Super Member lynnsim's Avatar
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    If you buy 100% cotton, there is no reason not to wash before using. That is what I would do. I have allergies, so know how bad they can be. Thank goodness, fabrics don't bother me, lol.

  16. #16
    Super Member Debbie B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    I can't do wool either. Itchy, red hives. And I will sneeze when first working with fabrics and batting. The sneezing goes away eventually. Cotton dust can't be very good for you.

    I never thought about the cotton dust. I recently bought some cotton Coats & Clark machine quilting thread and it is so dusty! I'm cleaning my machine out more because of the dust and I clean the needle & foot off during a project a few times. I wonder if this could be it...hmmmm.

  17. #17
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Debbie B
    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    I can't do wool either. Itchy, red hives. And I will sneeze when first working with fabrics and batting. The sneezing goes away eventually. Cotton dust can't be very good for you.

    I never thought about the cotton dust. I recently bought some cotton Coats & Clark machine quilting thread and it is so dusty! I'm cleaning my machine out more because of the dust and I clean the needle & foot off during a project a few times. I wonder if this could be it...hmmmm.
    I bought some C&C cotton quilting thread only because I was at Wal-Mart which is the opposite direction by 20 miles of Joanns. I am using it for charity quilts, but won't get any more. It is pure C---! So much lint I can't keep anything clean. I am going to have to place an order from CT. Oh what a shame, may have to buy some fabric too to reach the $50 free shipping. :roll: I do a lot of sneezing while I am sewing.

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    I'm not sensitive to many things, except for scents..some stores, like the ones for leather stuff...I walk in and take a deep breath, stagger out gasping for breath.
    I am careful about washing fabrics before cutting into it, my family have a lot of different allergies and it's hard to keep up with all the chemicals in everything, from food to fabric nowadays.

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    I had some materials gifted to me and also some send so I could help with charity quilts. (sewing room in bedroom) I got really congested, just happen to wash the materials except the charity ones sent... my congestion is leaving. I moved the charity material out so I would not be sleeping with it. I sure feel better. Guess I have an allergy of sorts to it and never knew. I did my cutting in bedroom also. I found that bothers me, so will be cutting at table from now on.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    I can't do wool either. Itchy, red hives. And I will sneeze when first working with fabrics and batting. The sneezing goes away eventually. Cotton dust can't be very good for you.

    I haven't tried this for self, but was just thinking. Wonder how a mask would help? Like a nurses... for sure dust would not enter.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltzilla
    I had trouble with fabrics and in particular, fabric stores in the past. It was due to a formaldehyde allergy. I could be in a fabric store for no more than a 15 minutes before the reaction would start. Carpet store caused the same trouble. That was back more than 15 years ago. I am thinking that there is currently much less formaldehyde in fabric than there was back then.
    i had that same problem, oh maybe 20+ years ago. My eyes would burn so bad when i walked into a fabric store I couldn't stay more than a few minutes.Haven't noticed it in recent years though.

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    I am sensitive to flannel. I have to wash it really well and dry it in the dryer, not on the clothesline. I get laryngitis and lose my voice when working with it if it's not washed well.

    Also, I can only stay in the fabric store about 15 minutes before I begin sneezing. I have to wash everything before I cut it. Gets a little troublesome. Have to keep my sewing room aired out or I will sneeze in there too.

  23. #23
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    When permanent press first come out it was loaded with formaldehyde sic. It was reminiscent of college zoology lab with a tank of the stuff to preserve the fetal pigs we were disecting then. That stuff really gets me in the eyes.

    I wash everything before cutting. All dyes run to some degree and the cottons shrink in vaying amounts. I wouldn't dream of not washing with a color catcher sheet and some dye fixative. I then dry with a softening sheet but with your sensitivites you'd probably to better without. My detergent is always odor free. I can hardly stand to go down the detergent aisle in the store. My nose itches and I get the sneezles. Besides, who wants everything to smell like cheap perfume. When I was in high school almost 60 years ago we referred to type of super sweet perfume as smelling like a French whorehouse. I don't think I knew anyone who'd ever been in one of those establishments however.

  24. #24
    Super Member Snorky Lvs2Quilt's Avatar
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    I can't wear wool or work with wool fabric. I get all red and itchy so I steer clear of them. I can't even knit with wool yarn.

  25. #25
    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheryl rearick
    Quote Originally Posted by Chele
    I can't do wool either. Itchy, red hives. And I will sneeze when first working with fabrics and batting. The sneezing goes away eventually. Cotton dust can't be very good for you.

    I haven't tried this for self, but was just thinking. Wonder how a mask would help? Like a nurses... for sure dust would not enter.
    Well, I worked for a dentist for years and had to wear a mask, caused my glasses to fog up from my breath. No matter how I pinched the nose area I still had the problem. No more masks for me since I am retired.

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