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Silk smell
Will my garment always smell funny?
margk

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Date: 3/15/12 10:58 PM

I have a piece of silk fabric which is probably about 20 years old! I am planning to use it as lining for a jacket. I pressed it yesterday ready to cut it out, and the smell is really strong! It is that funny silk smell, and now I'm worried that when I wear it, the jacket will smell.

Can anyone help here?

------
Marg
Tamworth NSW Australia Bernina 1130, Bernina 810B Babylock Imagine Wave Elna 614DE Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX

Rosews13
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In reply to margk <<


Date: 3/15/12 11:27 PM

Can you hand wash it in a little mild shampoo and hang or lay outside to dry? It might be the "20 years old" not the silk that you smell.

Carol Mendoza
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In reply to margk <<


Date: 3/15/12 11:38 PM

I don't know - I can smell certain silks from a mile away. I've even tried airing it outside and could still smell it. I would try to wash it as suggested. Good luck.

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Bernina 780; 440QE; Vintage 121; Babylock Evolution

Elona
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In reply to margk <<


Date: 3/16/12 0:12 AM

Yes, it will probably always smell that way. The reason is serecin, the protein "glue" that silk moths use to glue their cocoons together. The stuff is only denatured by heavy processing (high heat and chemicals).

Here's more information.

Vonnevo
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In reply to margk <<


Date: 3/16/12 0:56 AM

Marg, you could try washing the silk in eucalyptus wool wash.
This may help if the smell is more from storage than the silk gum.
Hoping you have some luck with it

------
Vonne O Brisbane Australia
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Lena Merrin
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Date: 3/16/12 0:56 AM

Maybe try old fashioned vinegar-baking soda combo? It works for most smells

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www.iconicpatterns.com

kathi s

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Date: 3/16/12 2:33 AM

I bought some beautiful silk tweed 5 years ago and my family kept saying "what is that awful smell". I traced it to the fabric I had purchased. I tried airing it- no luck. I finally threw it in the washer with some color catchers and while it "bled" copiously, it still stank. I washed it 5 times, and while it didn't smell as bad, it still smelled. It still smells funny, but I can't bear to get rid of it. Lot's of luck.

JOshiro
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 3/16/12 12:39 PM

Quote: Elona
Yes, it will probably always smell that way. The reason is serecin, the protein "glue" that silk moths use to glue their cocoons together. The stuff is only denatured by heavy processing (high heat and chemicals).



Here's more information.

According to Sara Lamb, she processes silk for dyeing as follows:

The first step in the process is de-gumming. The sericin needs to be removed so the dye will penetrate. I use a soda ash bath, with a bit of detergent (the exact recipe is *about* 2T soda ash and a *squirt* of Dawn dish detergent in the roaster, fill to about 3" depth with water). Then lay the silk top on the water:
Turn the roaster to 250F:
put the lid on and walk away for three hours.

(From http://saralamb.blogspot.com/2005/10/back-to-dyeing-silk.html)

She is a master dyer with lots of experience, I suspect she knows what she is doing.

Personally, I can't stand the silk smell. In my limited experience, the stink gets stronger when a garment is worn, probably from body heat/moisture.
Elona
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In reply to JOshiro <<


Date: 3/16/12 4:37 PM

I agree: the stench gets stronger with time, heat, and moisture, and that's because serecin is a protein, which as it breaks down--as happens with meat, for example--falls apart into various stinky components.

If you can denature the protein during the manufacture of the silk, or before dyeing, as happens with the process you describe above, nothing that can smell terrible will remain.

margk

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Date: 3/16/12 6:15 PM

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I have a Miele front-loader washing machine and recently bought some Miele delicates wash liquid. I have now washed the silk on the "Hand-Wash/Silk" cycle. It's funny, but the smell of the wash liquid is a bit odd - not your usual "washing product" smell. Perhaps even a bit like the silk smell!!

I have pressed it again and laid it out on a bed. (This is when I really noticed the smell last time, every time I went into the room). So far it smells like the washing liquid.

------
Marg
Tamworth NSW Australia Bernina 1130, Bernina 810B Babylock Imagine Wave Elna 614DE Janome Coverpro 1000 CPX

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