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Fabric Finds
The fabric market (or sometimes referred to as textiles market) is sometimes an unpredictable market. You never know when you will come across a good deal. Sometimes, you might find 100% linen material for $4 per yard on the web, but you might also be able to buy the same linen for $5 yard locally at a fabric store. Consider your shipping costs charged when you buy fabric. Also, make sure you buy enough fabric to complete a project. If you buy too little, you may not be able to find more in the same dye lot to complete a project should you need more. If you buy too much, then you will have to store it, and it may not be enough to complete another project. Look for quality fabrics without holes, slubs, runs, and dirt. Besides traditional textile vendors, check your local thrift stores and estate sales for drapes and other fabrics that you might be able to use in a project.
 
When deciding on a fabric, take a look and find out what its contest is. There are two different classes of fabrics: man-made (synthetic) and natural. Most people like fabrics made from natural fibers. Natural fibers have better breathability than synthetics, and are generally more comfortable to wear in various degrees of weather.

Knowing what a fabric is made from will also help you determine the best methods of cleaning and pre-shrinking. To find out if a fabric is man-made or natural, conduct a burn test.
Snip a piece of fabric approximately 1" square. Using a lighter, hold the fabric with a pair of tweezers and light it over a non-flammable surface in a well-ventilated area. Examine the quality and color of the flame, the odor produced, and the quality of the resulting ash.
 
Warnings: Use a small piece of fabric only. Hold the fabric with metal tweezers, not your fingers. Synthetic fabrics will ignite and melt and can cause serious burns, so be careful to keep them away from your skin while conducting the test.
 
- wool is a natural protein fiber. It does not burn easily. While burning, it smells similar to burning hair. The ash produced is usually black.
 
- Silk is a natural protein fiber. It burns slowly. Silks smell like burning hair and produce little or no ash.
 
- cotton is a natural plant fiber. It burns readily with a yellow flame. It smells like burning paper or leaves. The ash produced is usually gray.
 
- Linen is a natural plant fiber similar to cotton. Linen fibers burn slower than cotton fibers. Linen smells like burning leaves and usually produces a gray ash.
 
- rayon is a natural plant/wood fiber, but is still a "processed" fiber. Rayon produces very little, if any ash, and smells similar to burning paper.
 
- Nylon is a synthetic fiber and almost melts when it burns. Nylon burns with a bluish flame and leaves hard beads rather than ash. Some fabrics made from nylon are taffeta and bengaline.
 
- Polyester is a synthetic fiber and burns easily. Polyester leaves hard beads rather than ash. Many fabrics are made with polyester, and are usually blended. Blends will produce some ash. Smoke is usually black.
 
If you decide to conduct a burn test to determine the fiber content of a fabric, be careful! Always work in a safe, well-ventilated area with water and a fire extinguisher handy. Never leave a fire unattended!

 
Fabric Storage
Fabrics should be stored in a dry, smoke-free and animal free environment. Some people are allergic to dust from cigarettes and pet dander (not to mention the smell can be awful), so it is best never to expose your inventory to these allergens. If fabric is stored in a moist location, such as a basement, it can mildew. To prevent fading, always protect fabrics from sun or constant bright light.

Wind your fabric on cardboard bolts, upholstery fabric roll cores or wrapping paper roll cores. Velvets and fabrics with a pile should always be hung to protect its fullness. Hangers for such fabrics will have sharp hooks to hang the fabric by the selvage.
 
Once your fabrics are on their hanger or roll, cover with a plastic bag to protect the fabric from dust and insects. Use clear, PVC-free plastic for easy identification. You can also store fabric bolts stacked on shelves, but make sure there is enough air space to circulate fresh air around the bolts to prevent mildew from general humidity.
 
Keep track of the number of yards left of each type of fabric, just as a fabric store would inventory their supply. This will help you properly gauge the value of your inventory and tell you if you need to buy more of a specific fabric of which you may need on a regular basis.

Check these other sites from where we gleaned this article for more information:
http://www.fabrics.net/fabricsr.asp
http://www.fabriclink.com/Burntest.html
http://www.lindrix.com/fabcontent.html

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