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Thread: Sunny Sewing Rooms--Have You Had UV Damage to Your Fabrics??

  1. #1
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    Sunny Sewing Rooms--Have You Had UV Damage to Your Fabrics??

    My sewing area is in a very sunny nook. I originally had my fabrics in plastic storage boxes but got to the point where I had too much fabric for this to work. I bought two of the $25 bookcases from IKEA (the Kilby style--I highly recommend) so for only $50, I have almost 4 feet across and 7 feet tall which gives me 5 shelves of almost 4 feet each storage. I have been folding my fabric using the corroplast sheets cut down to 8 by 12 inch boards. It is working out great and looks fantastic. However, the big downside is the potential for UV damage to the edges of the fabrics that are exposed.

    I am curious how soon or how long it takes to damage the color. I have enough fabric to last 5 to 8 years so I know I need to do something to cut down the UV rays. I am considering having my husband put up the solar screen fabric (we have 80% solar fabric on our sunscreens we use on the front of the house) in front of the bookshelf as a curtain. I am considering the windows, of course, but unfortunately, there are 6 windows and 2 are a special shape that you have to custom order the screen for (an octogon). Have you resorted to the special solar screens for your windows I am talking about or do you "curtain" your fabric somehow to shield it?

  2. #2
    Super Member JUNEC's Avatar
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    I am not sure where you live, but I am in sunny FL - believe me the sun is strong down here and direct sun can really do some damage. If the windows in your sewing room face the east, I would put film on them & cover the fabric on the shelves with a piece of fabric to protect it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kat Sews's Avatar
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    Maybe you could use a pull down blind in front of the shelves. Covered with flannel this could double as a design wall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Sews View Post
    Maybe you could use a pull down blind in front of the shelves. Covered with flannel this could double as a design wall.
    What a great idea, Kat Sews.
    Esther
    Esther

  5. #5
    Senior Member gingerd's Avatar
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    I have a southwest exposure and the damage is bad. I love the sunny room, but the rays just ruin items I have in this room.
    **************
    Ginger
    ~stitching one thread at a time~

  6. #6
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    Wow, Kat Sews, that is a great idea!!! I have no other place for a design wall and now with both shelf units together, I have a 4 foot by 6 foot area. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I haven't had any sun damage, but I had a yard of very dark blue & black starry fabric folded up on a corner of the table right underneath the overhead lamp/ceiling fan. It's got CFL bulbs in it - fluorescent. The top layer of fabric is clearly much much lighter than the rest of the yard.

    Fluorescent lights can cause fading as fast or faster than sunlight.

  8. #8
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    Great idea, try an inexpensive shade from the local big box hardware store. The sun will fade your stash. In NH (where the sun doesn't shine much), our dressing room closet had a window in it, in a couple of years even my suits were discolored at the shoulder and arm. We ended up creating a true closet complete with doors where our clothes were hung. When we built in DE, we used Low E windows, but my stash is in a closet, not in the open. I love my stash too much.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Sews View Post
    Maybe you could use a pull down blind in front of the shelves. Covered with flannel this could double as a design wall.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    You could do a simple pull curtain in front of the shelves.
    I reciently helped my Mom re -do her sewing space.... Frist thing was to get shelves with doors , as she had sun fading damage happening .

  10. #10
    Super Member MissTreated's Avatar
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    I guess maybe I shouldn't complain so much about sewing in a "dungeon!"
    M

  11. #11
    Super Member thequilteddove's Avatar
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    To protect your fabric from the sun, you could make 'curtains' for the book cases.

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    I like the idea of the design wall to cover bookcase. I have most of my stash behind doors. The rest is in those cloth cube storage bins. I try to keep blinds closed over windows when not in room. but I love a sunny room to sew in.
    Denise

  13. #13
    Super Member woody's Avatar
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    Most window film will cut out over 98% of UV light which is partly to blame for fading (around 40%). other causes are visible light, another 25%, heat another 25% and miscellaneous causes around 10%. So the best thing for fabrics is to keep them dark and cool.
    I have window tinting and I would never draw the curtains during the day, I love a sunny room. I try to keep my very meager stash in a wardrobe to keep in in the dark as much as possible
    The biggest risk is the one not taken

  14. #14
    Senior Member roxie623's Avatar
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    I love the idea of using flannel. The sun here in AZ is unforgivable as you can imagine. We do have 90% sunscreens but it still shines brightly into the room.
    Roxie

  15. #15
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    Fabric can definitely fade along the fold lines - even in what I thought were protected areas - blues seemed to be most vulnerable. Definitely get something in front of the fabric to protect it.

    Actually, some of the Jinny Beyer fabrics for RJR seemed to be more prone to damage than some other lines.

  16. #16
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    You definitely need to do something to protect it, but I don't have any fancy ideas. I have most of my fabric in 2 wardrobes in plastic boxes.

  17. #17
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    Great idea Kat Sews.

  18. #18
    Super Member carolaug's Avatar
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    Wow!!! what an AWESOME idea!!! I was thinking of using a bookcase but do no like the open look when I am not sewing...this is perfect!!! Thanks...love this board!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Sews View Post
    Maybe you could use a pull down blind in front of the shelves. Covered with flannel this could double as a design wall.

  19. #19
    Super Member Becky Crafts's Avatar
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    They sell insulation fabric at JoAnn's for drapes which would probably help and although your windows sound huge, perhaps some of the plastic that adheres to your windows to shade you. It's not dark enough so you can't see out, but it does stop some of the heat and UV from coming in. You can get it at most RV stores in varying sizes. We used some because the bird ate our blinds and he's right in front of the window. It does a pretty good job and you can't see it unless you miss a spot!
    Live Simply, Love Generously, Care Deeply,Speak Kindly, Leave the rest to GOD

  20. #20
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    One of my first wall hanging s was a school house quilt,the east sun got it!!!! Now the navy blue is ruined on it, it faded so badly. I now make sure my quilts and fabric are covered or put in dark containers.

  21. #21
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    my hubby asked for one of my quilts to hang at his office- i gave him a black & white one i had finished- about 4 months later i stopped in and found a few of the strips of black background fabrics were very noticably faded- a couple gray- a couple a brown---i was quite upset- it was from the florescent lights- not the sun- i reclaimed the quilt-
    and replaced it with one the fading would not be so---damaging
    i think any light can cause problems - in my sewing room i have a roll up shade over my fabric shelves- i roll it up when i'm working- and drop it down when i leave the room
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kat Sews View Post
    Maybe you could use a pull down blind in front of the shelves. Covered with flannel this could double as a design wall.
    I agree, that sounds like a great idea.
    Barb O
    Strasburg, IL

  23. #23
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    I like the idea of a shade with flannel. Very clever. You definitely need to cover it with something. I made a large ironing board and covered it in fabric and it didn't take any time for it to fade. Really surprised me since it wasn't even in direct sun light.
    I am Mimi for 2.

  24. #24
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    I've read, with interest, all you thoughts and ideas. Thanks to you all! It's frustrating to realize that a piece has faded - when you thought you had it covered well. Very soon - I'm off to check and make sure my stash is as fade proof as I can make it.

  25. #25
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    The sun will damage your fabric. I had bookcase shelving for my fabric and had to throw a lot away and do some creative cutting on a lot of it. I got rid of them and bought cupboards to keep my fabric in. It works great, and protects the fabric. Fabric costs too much to let the sun damage. By the way, I live in Michigan, and the sun is not seen as often as in the warmer climates and I only have one window in my sewing room.
    Sue

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