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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Trouble with "iron shine" on upholstery fabric ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Trouble with "iron shine" on upholstery fabric
stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
Intermediate
KS USA
Member since 12/13/08
Posts: 3076
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Date: 6/23/13 1:51 PM

I'm not a beginner and I'm actually a pretty accomplished iron-jockey, but I'm struggling with "iron shine" on my current project. I've always been curious about what causes this phenomenon, so now's as good a time as any to ask! I'm putting it in this forum, since it deals with a combination of issues--fabric, pressing technique, equipment--and I didn't want to pigeon-hole it. :)

I'm using some upholstery-weight chenille of totally unknown (but clearly synthetic) content, and it's giving me fits at the ironing board! (You can see a picture of the fabrics here. The black is a perfectly well-behaved cotton blend, and the stripe is the Troublesome Mystery Chenille). I have machine washed and dried the fabrics, because, as you see, I will be wearing them. It actually improved the hand and drape of the chenille immeasurably--it went from board-stiff and rough to soft and somewhat drapey.

The black presses beautifully, but the stripe... even pressing from the back, using lots of steam, a press cloth, and the lowest setting on my iron (silk; below that it doesn't steam, OR hold a crease) I'm still having issues with the fabric becoming shiny when pressing. It's noticeable, and short of pressing the entire yardage, I'm not sure what to do. I had a little better luck practically dousing the entire piece with my spritzer bottle of water beforehand... but I'm hoping the PR gurus have some less drastic advice.

I suspect that the synthetic content of the fabric is an issue--but I also sometimes get iron shine with linen, and that washes out; is it possible this is temporary? After pressing just now, I spritzed the shiny bits with water and then fluffed up the chenille to raise the nap again... and at the moment things are looking better, but I don't want to forge ahead until I'm confident I'm not going to wreck the whole piece.

Ideas?

Thanks!!

------
~Gem in the prairie

beauturbo
beauturbo
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In reply to stirwatersblue <<
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Date: 6/23/13 3:19 PM

I would keep the iron off the upholstery fabric, (if problems) as just not ever made or expected to be ironed at all, (as you don't iron sofas most times) and since synthetic in it, the "iron shine" may be actually because of getting hot enough to change and start to melt the fibers. And it has a deep pile to it too, so pressed down is probably not too great, just like anything with a pile to it, that maybe better off face down on a towel and press cloths or some velvet board or anything else. I think no reason why you can't give it a shot/blast of steam though, without the iron pressing on it, and then ruffle it up with your fingers instead. Or maybe hang it in the shower, and try to let the steam from that kind of unwrinkle it.

Also look at the back of it, it might even have some synthetic, rubbery coating on there (like a lot of them do) that might soften up and melt also.

When they make stripes in that kind of stuff, since may be multi fibers in the yardage, the stripe or one stripe in it, really can have different fiber content, than some other stripe or the back ground too. If it's rayon or cotton in it which most times does not melt, then probably the shine is just whatever way you have those fibers pressed down, it just reflects light different, though it probably has a nap and direction to it too. Kind of like panne velvet. If synthetic in the stripe though, possible "shine" is just because low melt temp, and it's really starting to get soft, melt and change properties.

So if you notice shine could be either, but I would be worried I was starting to melt my synthetic high pile fabric at that point, and really back off with the iron. I think finger pressing would be better. Synthetic stuff when starting to melt actually does often get a lot more shiney, just because may change texture of it too. If that kind of thing is happening, next is it will probably be gooey on the bottom of the iron even.

Since you got no label and no fiber content, no way to know what is in that stuff or what made of. Unless you really did a burn test on it, and even if so, you would have to test different parts of it, if different things woven even into different strips of it.

aonori
aonori
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Date: 6/23/13 5:10 PM

Hi stirwatersblue,

Isn't iron shine annoying? I'm not sure this will work on chenille, but it has worked for me to get rid of shine: sponge the area with a solution of 1 part vinegar & 1 part water or spritz it on. Iron with a press cloth.

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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In reply to beauturbo <<


Date: 6/24/13 8:45 PM

Quote: beauturbo
maybe better off face down on a towel and press cloths or some velvet board or anything else.


When they make stripes in that kind of stuff, since may be multi fibers in the yardage, the stripe or one stripe in it, really can have different fiber content, than some other stripe or the back ground too. If it's rayon or cotton in it which most times does not melt, then probably the shine is just whatever way you have those fibers pressed down, it just reflects light different,

Oooh, excellent points, BT! I'm not sure why I didn't think of pressing it on a towel; I guess it wasn't really registering that there was a *nap,* until I actually sat down and wrote the word "chenille."

My experiment with spritzing it down & fluffing up the fibers seems to have worked, so today I tried again, this time with the towel and extra spritzing (I soaked the linen press cloth), and from what I can tell... no shine!

Doing a little research, it looks like the shine comes from a couple of different causes--either the fibers have melted from too much heat (in which case the shine is probably permanent), or they've been shifted from the pressure of the iron (like with the napped fabrics). I think this must account for why I get a little shine sometimes with linen.

I can now forge ahead, pressing happily--although not *too* enthusiastically. I have been doing a *lot* of finger-pressing today.

------
~Gem in the prairie

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