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Forum > Fabrics and more... > upholstery silk ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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upholstery silk
what's that funny smell?
kathi s

kathi s
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California USA
Member since 1/23/03
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Date: 12/31/04 9:36 AM

I bought a length of beautiful violet and multi colored rough woven raw silk at Hancock's the other day with the idea of turning it into a jacket. It was in the fashion fabric section and there was no indication that it was really an upholstery fabric. When I popped in there yesterday, I found my beautiful "fashion" fabric in the upholstery section, chopped into flat cuts. I reexamined my fabric at home and found it has a funny "burlap" smell as well as being kind of stiff. I am going to serge the edges and pop it in the washing machine on cold and delicate to see if I can eliminate the odor. Does anyone else have any suggestions? What would happen if I added some lavendar fabric softener to it? I am open to experimentation as it was only $13.00 for two yards.

Georgene
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Georgene
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Date: 12/31/04 9:48 AM

Silk does have its own peculiar 'silk' smell, whether it is very fine or coarse. Since your fabric sounds like it is a very raw silk, that may be more pronounced. Washing may help, but it may shrink alot and change texture drastically. Hopefully you will still love the results.

BjP
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BjP
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Illinois USA
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Date: 12/31/04 10:52 AM

I had a beautiful RTW silk blouse several years ago that always just.....well, stunk. I loved the blouse, hated that smell, and ended up chucking it. I tried everything possible (washing it, d/c, scented strong fabric softener) and never could get rid of the odor. I wish I had something to offer you, but I'm not sure it's possible.

------
Bev

AnneM
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AnneM  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/31/04 12:28 PM

How about trying Febreeze?

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With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

kathi s

kathi s
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Date: 12/31/04 1:46 PM

Thanks for the suggestions- I think I will just toss this into the washer and hope for the best. It actually smelled up my sewing room after I unloosed it from its plastic bag! I hope a good bath will sweeten it up (think really raunchy dog), because it's very pretty tweed- violet with shots of blues and orange- but if not, then no great loss.

Elona
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Date: 12/31/04 5:58 PM

The smell is probably mostly due to serecin, the "glue" that caterpillars use to spin and secure their cocoons. The more highly-processed the silk is, the less serecin remains. Rough-textured or raw silks are likely to have quite a bit of it. It's a protein, I think, and that means that ordinary washing won't remove it (you need a strong base to denature protein--think ammonia or permanent wave solutions on human hair).

I've certainly tried and tried to wash it out of raw silk garments, and never had any real success. Some people get to like the smell, I understand.
-- Edited on 12/31/04 6:59 PM --

kathi s

kathi s
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California USA
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Date: 12/31/04 6:05 PM

Thanks Georgene, Anne and Elona,
I did toss it in the washer with a color catcher sheet (it bled like mad but the quality of the color doesn't seem to be too different) and a healthy dose of the fabric softener that I got as a freebie. Ran it through the rinse cycle twice and am waiting for it to dry before I decide what to do with it. Hmmm- I wonder if the stuff you use on dog urine would do any good. It's supposed to break down protein? Maybe I'll cut a little piece and experiment.

AnneM
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AnneM  Friend of PR
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In reply to kathi s


Date: 12/31/04 6:09 PM

Quote: kathi s
I wonder if the stuff you use on dog urine would do any good.

Good idea. Let us know if you need to try it, & if it works.

------
With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

Jennifer shaw
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Jennifer shaw  Friend of PR
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California USA
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Date: 12/31/04 9:26 PM

A white vinegar rinse will help to reduce the smell and will set the dye in the fabric!

kathi s

kathi s
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Date: 1/2/05 1:11 AM

I washed it and double rinsed it and after it dried the smell is somewhat improved, but not completely gone. I will try the vinagar rinse tomorrow. Thank you for the suggestion, Jennifer.

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