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Archive for February 8, 2011

DON’T FORGET THE SHOP PAGE

 

Cherokee Earrings, #SS11-MSFH, $20

DON’T FORGET TO GO THE SHOP PAGE & PUT IN AN ORDER. CLOTHES COMING SOON!!

JEWELRY CONEST COMING UP!!


L’Histoire de Mode~Fabric Burn Testing

BURN TESTING

Burn Test – CAUTION. WARNING. BE CAREFUL!

This should only be done by skilled burners! Make sure there is a bucket of water nearby and that you burn in a metal bucket or non-plastic sink.

What it is & how to do it:

To identify fabric that is unknown, a simple burn test can be

done to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, manmade fiber,

or a blend of natural and manmade fibers. The burn test is used by

many fabric stores and designers and takes practice to determine the

exact fiber content. However, an inexperienced person can still determine

the difference between many fibers to “narrow” the choices down to natural

or manmade fibers. This elimination process will give information

necessary to decide the care of the fabric.

It’s important to do a burn test in a well ventilated area to avoid inhaling potentially toxic fumes. At minimum, open some windows, or better yet, do the test outside on a calm day and avoid inhaling the fumes from the burning fibers.

 

• Pre-wash the mystery fabric to remove
any finishes that may affect the burn
characteristics. Cut fabric swatches for
testing approximately 2″ square.
• Use long tweezers to hold the swatches
you burn.
• Use a non-flammable container to place
under the burning swatch—a large
ashtray or glass dish will work, as will a
metal baking pan.
• Use a lighter, an unscented candle or a
fireplace starter to create a small flame.
• Keep water nearby in the event of a
flare-up, or do the testing near a sink.
• If you have long hair, tie it back out of
the way of the flame.

WARNING: All fibers will burn! Asbestos treated fibers are, for the most

part fire proof. The burning test should be done with caution. Use a small piece

of fabric only. Hold the fabric with tweezers, not your fingers. Burn over a metal dish with

soda in the bottom or even water in the bottom of the dish. Some fabrics will ignite and melt.

The result is burning drips which can adhere to fabric

or skin and cause a serious burn.

Cotton is a plant fiber. When ignited it burns with a steady flame

and smells like burning leaves. The ash left is easily crumbled.

Small samples of burning cotton can be blown out as you would

a candle. Cotton fibers ignite as the flame draws near.

Linen is also a plant fiber but different from cotton in that the

individual plant fibers which make up the yarn are long where cotton fibers

are short. Linen takes longer to ignite. The fabric closest to the ash is very brittle.

Linen is easily extinguished by blowing on it as you would a candle.

Silk is a protein fiber and usually burns readily, not

necessarily with a steady flame, and smells like burning

hair. The ash is easily crumbled. Silk samples are not

as easily extinguished as cotton or linen.

Wool is also a protein fiber but is harder to ignite than silk as the individual

“hair” fibers are shorter than silk and the weave of the fabrics is generally looser

than with silk. The flame is steady but more difficult to keep burning. The smell

of burning wool is like burning hair.

Man Made Fibers

(Synthetic fibers curl away from the heat and tend to “melt.” Hard lumps are the remains of melted synthetic fibers.)

Acetate is made from cellulose (wood fibers), technically cellulose

acetate. Acetate burns readily with a flickering flame that cannot be

easily extinguished. The burning cellulose drips and leaves a hard ash.

The smell is similar to burning wood chips.

Acrylic technically acrylonitrile is made from natural gas

and petroleum. Acrylics burn readily due to the fiber content and the

lofty, air filled pockets. A match or cigarette dropped on an acrylic blanket

can ignite the fabric which will burn rapidly unless extinguished.

The ash is hard. The smell is acrid or harsh.

Nylon is a polyamide made from petroleum. Nylon melts

and then burns rapidly if the flame remains on the melted

fiber. If you can keep the flame on the

melting nylon, it smells like burning plastic.

Polyester is a polymer produced from coal, air, water, and petroleum products.

Polyester melts and burns at the same time, the melting, burning ash can bond

quickly to any surface it drips on including skin. The smoke from polyester

is black with a sweetish smell. The

extinguished ash is hard.

Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber which is almost pure cellulose.

Rayon burns rapidly and leaves only a slight ash.

The burning smell is close to burning leaves.

Blends consist of two or more fibers and, ideally, are supposed to take on the

characteristics of each fiber in the blend. The burning test

can be used but the fabric content

will be an assumption.

Household Chemicals

Several chemicals usually found in the home can help further identify fabrics. As in the burn test, caution should be used. Reactions between some of the fibers and household chemicals are rapid and could cause damage to surrounding surfaces.

Acetate is dissolved by acetone, an ingredient in nail polish remover and Super Glue. Caution should be used when wearing acetate or an acetate blend fabric and using any acetone containing product.

Fiber-Etch, a liquid used in embroidery or cutwork embroidery, dissolves any plant fiber including cotton, linen, and rayon. Since this product removes plant fibers, it is also useful to determine fabric content. With blends of plant fiber fabrics, the blended fibers will remain. For example, a cotton/polyester fabric will, when this product is applied to a small area, remove the cotton fiber and leave the polyester fiber.

REMEMBER:

FABRIC FLAME
QUALITY
ODOR ASH
QUALITY
COMMENTS
WOOL orange color
sputtery
burning hair
or feathers
blackish
turns to powder
when crushed
flame will self extinguish
if flame source is removed
no smoke
SILK burns slowly burning hair
or feathers
grayish
turns to powder
when crushed
burns more easily than wool
but will self extinguish is flame
source removed
COTTON yellow to orange color
steady flame
burning paper
or leaves
grayish, fluffy slow burning ember
LINEN yellow to orange color
steady flame
burning paper
or leaves
similar to cotton takes longer to ignite than cotton but otherwise very similar
RAYON fast orange flame burning paper
or leaves
almost no ash ember will continue to glow after flame source removed
POLYESTER orange flame, sputtery sweet or fruity smell hard shiny  black bead black smoke
ACETATE burns and melts,sizzly acidic or vinegary hard black bead will continue to burn after flame source removed
NYLON burns slowly and melts,  bluse base and orange tip, no smoke burning celery hard grayish or brownish bead self extinguish if flame source removed
ACRYLIC burns and melts, white-orange tip, no smoke acrid black hard crust will continue to burn after flame source removed

Fiber Burn Chart

I know this isn’t the normal Fashion History segment, but it’s a helpful technique for the most part plus it’s fun to experiment with burn testing, fiber Etching, and dying using tomato soup or anything really. BE SAFE & Have fun!


Quote of the Day: 8 Feb. ’11~Cecil Beaton

“The truly fashionable are beyond fashion.”~Cecil Beaton

Beaton was an English fashion and portrait photographer, diarist, interior designer and an Academy Award-winning stage and costume designer for films and the theatre. He was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1970.


L’Histoire de Mode~Haute Couture

Haute Couture

Haute couture (French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking”) refers to the creation

of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer,

and it is usually made from high-quality, expensive fabric and sewn with extreme attention

to detail and finished by the most experienced and capable seamstresses, often using

time-consuming, hand-executed techniques. Couture is a common abbreviation

of haute couture and refers to the same thing in spirit.

It originally referred to Englishman Charles Frederick Worth’s

work, produced in Paris in the mid-nineteenth century. In modern

France, haute couture is a “protected name” that can be used

only by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. However,

the term is also used loosely to describe all high-fashion custom-fitted

clothing, whether it is produced in Paris or in other fashion capitals such as

Milan, London, New York and Tokyo.

In France, the term haute couture is protected by law and is defined by

the Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris based in Paris, France.

Their rules state that only “those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year

by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves”

of the label haute couture. The criteria for haute couture were established in 1945 and

updated in 1992. To earn the right to call itself a couture house and to use the term

haute couture in its advertising and any other way, members of the

Chambre syndicale de la haute couture must follow these rules:

  • Design made-to-order for private clients, with one or more fittings.
  • Have a workshop (atelier) in Paris that employs at least fifteen people full-time.
  • Each season (i.e., twice a year), present a collection to the Paris press, comprising at least thirty-five runs/exits with outfits for both daytime wear and evening wear.

However, the term haute couture may have been misused by

ready-to-wear brands since the late 1980s, so that its true meaning

may have become blurred with that of prêt-à-porter (the French term for

ready-to-wear fashion) in the public perception. Every haute couture house also

markets prêt-à-porter collections, which typically deliver a higher return on investment

than their custom clothing . Falling revenues have forced a few couture

houses to abandon their less profitable couture division and concentrate

solely on the less prestigious prêt-à-porter. These houses, such as

Italian designer Roberto Capucci, all of whom have their

workshops in Italy, are no longer

considered haute couture.

Many top designer fashion houses, such as Chanel, use the word for

some of their special collections. These collections are often not for sale or they

are very difficult to purchase. Sometimes, “haute couture” is inappropriately used to

label non-dressmaking activities, such as fine art, music and more.

French leadership in European fashion may date from the

18th century, when the art, architecture, music, and fashions

of the French court at Versailles were imitated across Europe. Visitors

to Paris brought back clothing that was then copied by local dressmakers.

Stylish women also ordered fashion dolls dressed in the latest Parisian fashion

to serve as models. As railroads and steamships made European travel easier,

it was increasingly common for wealthy women to travel to Paris to shop for clothing

and accessories. French fitters and dressmakers were commonly thought to be the best

in Europe, and real Parisian garments were considered better than local imitations.

The couturier Charles Frederick Worth (October 13, 1826–March 10, 1895),

is widely considered the father of haute couture as it is known today. Although

born in Bourne, Lincolnshire, England, Worth made his mark in the French

fashion industry. Revolutionizing how dressmaking had been previously perceived,

Worth made it so the dressmaker became the artist of garnishment: a fashion designer.

While he created one-of-a-kind designs to please some of his titled or wealthy customers,

he is best known for preparing a portfolio of designs that were shown on live models at the

House of Worth. Clients selected one model, specified colors and fabrics, and had a

duplicate garment tailor-made in Worth’s workshop. Worth combined individual

tailoring with a standardization more characteristic of the ready-to-wear clothing industry,

which was also developing during this period.

Following in Worth’s footsteps were Callot Soeurs, Patou,

Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli,

Balenciaga, and Dior. Some of these fashion houses still exist today, under

the leadership of modern designers.

In the 1960s a group of young designers who had trained under

men like Dior and Balenciaga left these established couture houses and opened their

own establishments. The most successful of these young designers were Yves Saint Laurent,

Pierre Cardin, André Courrèges, and Emanuel Ungaro. Japanese native and Paris-based

Hanae Mori was also successful in establishing her own line.

Lacroix is one of the fashion houses to have been started in

the late 20th century. Other new houses have included Jean-Paul Gaultier

and Thierry Mugler. Due to the high expenses of producing haute couture

collections, Lacroix and Mugler have since ceased

their haute couture activities.

For all these fashion houses, custom clothing is no longer the main source of

income, often costing much more than it earns through direct sales; it only adds the a

ura of fashion to their ventures in ready-to-wear clothing and related luxury products

such as shoes and perfumes, and licensing ventures that earn greater

returns for the company. Excessive commercialization and profit-making can be

damaging, however. Cardin, for example, licensed with abandon in the 1980s and his name

lost most of its fashionable cachet when anyone could buy Cardin luggage at a discount store.

It is their ready-to-wear collections that are available to a wider audience, adding a

splash of glamour and the feel of haute

couture to more wardrobes.

The 1960s also featured a revolt against established fashion

standards by mods, rockers, and hippies, as well as an increasing

internationalization of the fashion scene. Jet travel had spawned a jet set

that partied—and shopped—just as happily in New York as in Paris. Rich women

no longer felt that a Paris dress was necessarily better than one sewn elsewhere.

While Paris is still pre-eminent in the fashion world, it is no

longer the sole arbiter of fashion.

Couture Samples: