Please help me identify this fabric
March 5, 2012 12:53 AM   Subscribe

Please help me identify this fabric.

The swatch in the photo is about three feet wide. It's a stretch jersey that feels like swimsuit material, but a little thinner. I did a burn test but had trouble identifying the smell; it did melt into grayish-black drops of goo. The selvage edge is white, but has no markings.

I originally bought it from a boutique fabric store, but the owner doesn't recall where she got it.

At this point any info would help; for example, what kind of flowers are depicted in the print, or if there are better forums for addressing fabric-identification questions. :)
posted by homodachi to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's another example of this fabric in action on a sewing blog:
posted by homodachi at 12:55 AM on March 5, 2012

Can't help with the fabric, but the print says 'peony' to me.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 1:32 AM on March 5, 2012

Have you tried emailing the blogger? She invites questions.
posted by jon1270 at 4:04 AM on March 5, 2012

Looks to me a bit like hibiscus flowers, maybe a slightly different take on the kind in some hawaiian shirts...
posted by belau at 4:06 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

When you flame tested the fabric, can you explain what happened? Did the fabric melt into beads? After you let them sit for a bit are they still hard or do they sort of dissolve into ash? Was the odor at all chemical? Were the beads uniform in shape or irregularly shaped?

(These seem like odd questions but they can help identify what kind of fabric this is, if that's something you're interested in...)
posted by youandiandaflame at 5:06 AM on March 5, 2012

Yes, those look more like hibiscus – peony leaves are quite different, and their flowers are "layered" and rose-like, whereas these aren't.

Most stretch materials like that are among the following:
- rayon (also sometimes called "viscose", made from wood fibers, so will burn-burn)
- polyester (melts)
- acrylic (melts)
- cotton, though if it feels slippery it's probably not (burns, leaves ashes)
- some lycra for stretch (this will melt when burned)

If you go around touching known fabrics (labeled ones in stores) for a while, you can also rather accurately tell what an unknown fabric is; definitely whether or not it's a natural-content or plasticky-man-made fiber if you have sensitive hands. (I know some people who are serious, well-informed fabric buyers and simply can't feel the difference between silk and polyester, for instance, so it does happen.)

You say it felt like swimsuit fabric: to me this says slippery and cool, so probably a polyester-lycra blend. (Lycra's added to practically everything stretchy nowadays, though there are exceptions.) However, some rayons feel a bit like that, though more "smooth" than slippery and with a touch of warmth to them. Natural fabrics, and those man-made from natural materials, have an immediate warmth to the touch, slight as it may be; man-made ones feel cool under the fingers. Mid- and low-range polyesters are my least favorite because they also feel a bit "ick", to be honest – that's your hands telling you "this doesn't breathe!"
posted by fraula at 6:33 AM on March 5, 2012

Thanks for your responses so far!

More than the fiber content, I'd like the name of this print and/or its designer, so I can buy some more. If the fabric content provides another google keyword, well great.

When I did the burn test, the fabric melted, dripped, and hardened as it cooled. The flame wasn't self-extinguishing, but that's probably the cotton content talking. There was a lot of black smoke that smelled absolutely hideous. I used this chart, and the idea of identifying what the burning smelled like was immediately rejected; my visceral reaction was OMG DO NOT BREATHE THAT.
posted by homodachi at 9:27 AM on March 5, 2012

jon1270: I haven't emailed her but I'll do that now. I think I originally didn't because she mentioned in an earlier post that she'd only found 1.5 yards of it, so it seemed like a long shot.
posted by homodachi at 10:34 AM on March 5, 2012

I have had some success in the past using Google's Search by Image to find other places the fabric shows up on the web. I didn't have any luck this time. Here are the results I got. But since your image is a little skewed and not a perfect representation of the pattern, you might try scanning the fabric or trying to take a photo of it straight down in order to get a more accurate one and trying Search by Image on it. (If you've never used it before, click on the camera in the Google Images search box, then upload your image or paste in its URL.)
posted by jocelmeow at 11:15 AM on March 5, 2012

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