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Thread: Melting fabric - HELP!!!

  1. #1
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    I am trying to make a memory quilt from my Mom's clothes. She had alzheimers & lived with us for the last 2 yrs of her life - she past about 2 1/2 yrs ago. She was such a joy - even my husband feels that way

    I washed & began to cut up some of her clothes - however - I was shocked when several of the pieces melted when I was ironing them - I thought they were cotton but they must be a cotton blend

    But what blend would melt when ironed???

    Feeling dumb, stupid and FRUSTRATED!!!

    Please, HELP

  2. #2
    Senior Member yellowsnow55's Avatar
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    Polyester melts when ironing on cotton setting. Try using a cooler setting, I have mine on wool setting for poly/cotton.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    The fabric is probably polyester. Cotton can take high heat from an iron, but polyester requires only a warm iron. Also it's best to iron polyester from the wrong side only, so as not to leave a shine on the right side.

    Have you cut the fabric? Polyester frays more easily than cotton, so you may see many more strings along the cut edges. If the pattern you are using allows it, you might want to use 1/2-inch seam allowances instead of 1/4-inch.

  4. #4
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    A poly, or poly blend will melt.

    Please don't feel frustrated. You might want to do a 'burn'test with a scrap of fabric. Take a snip of fabric, hold it with tongs over the sink & touch a match to it. Let it burn a bit & extinguish & let it cool, or dip it in water. If the burn residue is hard, then there's some poly in it.

  5. #5
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    A synthetic. :(

    You can do a burn test to check the rest of your fabric. Burn a small piece in a safe manner and blow it out. If the burnt part is hard the cloth is not natural fiber.

    http://www.fabriclink.com/university/burntest.cfm

  6. #6
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I don't know but I'm so glad you were able to keep your Mom at home and have good memories
    That's just awesome. :)

  7. #7
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    If the fabric was polyester, I doubt if it needed to be ironed. Only iron if a piece of fabric is really wrinkled.
    The test for yarn if it is wool or polyester, is to set a piece in a fireproof dish and light it, if the fire goes out,it is wool and if it is orlon, acrylic, polyester or synthetic anything, it will burn up and disappear. Synthetic fabrics and yarn are an oil by product. I haven't tried burning a piece of cotton fabric or yarn but my guess would be it would burn slowly. I think I will try it and find out.

    Carol J.

  8. #8
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sueisallaboutquilts
    I don't know but I'm so glad you were able to keep your Mom at home and have good memories
    That's just awesome. :)
    So am I, but it still hurts 2 1/2 yrs later. Even though she slowly went alway mentally - it hurt like H..LL when she passed.
    Left a very big hole in our lives.

  9. #9
    Super Member Doreen's Avatar
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    Polyesteer. Lower your setting. Good luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member SparkMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carol J.
    If the fabric was polyester, I doubt if it needed to be ironed. Only iron if a piece of fabric is really wrinkled.
    The test for yarn if it is wool or polyester, is to set a piece in a fireproof dish and light it, if the fire goes out,it is wool and if it is orlon, acrylic, polyester or synthetic anything, it will burn up and disappear. Synthetic fabrics and yarn are an oil by product. I haven't tried burning a piece of cotton fabric or yarn but my guess would be it would burn slowly. I think I will try it and find out.

    Carol J.
    Cotton burns easily, but it burns up to ash. It doesn't leave a little "nugget" like synthetics.

  11. #11
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SparkMonkey
    Quote Originally Posted by Carol J.
    If the fabric was polyester, I doubt if it needed to be ironed. Only iron if a piece of fabric is really wrinkled.
    The test for yarn if it is wool or polyester, is to set a piece in a fireproof dish and light it, if the fire goes out,it is wool and if it is orlon, acrylic, polyester or synthetic anything, it will burn up and disappear. Synthetic fabrics and yarn are an oil by product. I haven't tried burning a piece of cotton fabric or yarn but my guess would be it would burn slowly. I think I will try it and find out.

    Carol J.
    Cotton burns easily, but it burns up to ash. It doesn't leave a little "nugget" like synthetics.
    Will have to try the burnning technique when DIL goes to play golf - however - since the West Coast of SUNNY Florida has been having rain every day this week, it could be a while

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    It could have acetate in the blend. It will shrivel up under high heat.

  13. #13
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    Rayon, nylon, orlon, polyester, ninon, look at the ends of fabric boards and you will see all kinds of synthetic threads used with cotton or alone. All require little or no ironing and that was the feature the manufacturers pushed, the convenience for travel and use, no ironing needed. So we have to be cautious when using old fabric for quilting or crafts.

    Carol J.

  14. #14
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    most synthetics burn with black smoke - and smell different from all cotton fabrics.

    Some cottons do burn "whoosh!" but they always leave a powdery ash.

    Synthetics either leave a crispy ash, or a sticky glob. This also takes a LOT LONGER to cool down than cotton ashes -

    Wool smells like burning feathers.

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    rayon, poly and acetate....

  16. #16
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    I have a harder time telling rayon from cotton, because rayon is derived from wood pulp, so it will burn more like cotton that polyester.


    Some more info about doing burn tests on fabrics.

    http://quilting.about.com/od/fabrice.../burn_test.htm

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the site about burning fabrics, will come in handy when in doubt about the content of the material we buy at sales or receive as donations. This is something we all should take a look at.

    Carol J.

  18. #18
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    I can "tell" (from most fabrics) with a piece as small as 1/4 x 1 inch.

    One's neighbors may think one a bit odd sitting by a table burning snippets of fabric - - - but it's nice to know what one has to work with.

    If one plans to burn quite a few pieces - it is better to do it outside. I've done it in our laundry tubs that are in the basement (they are cement - not plastic) - but the smoke smell from the synthetics gets to be a bit much.

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