July 2023 – Fabric burn tests

You ever light fabric on fire? Like, on purpose? We did this month, under the watchful supervision of Laura, one of our chapter members. She volunteered to teach us how to find out what those “100% fabric” pieces in our stashes really are.

Laura presenting and other chapter members busily burning pieces of fabric.

Laura explained how to conduct a burn test safely, what to look for, and of course how different fibers behave and smell both as they burn and after the flame is out. It’s not for the faint of heart because you are working with fire, after all, but we managed it well, working in small groups, using Laura’s handy-dandy props and cheatsheets.

Handout detailing different fibers' behavior, with swatches of various fabrics attached to index cards.

Lots of fun and good learning, but listen, if you try this at home, don’t burn your house down. There’s a reason we were gathered in that large, mostly concrete room. So keep a fire extinguisher handy and work carefully.

Show & tell

With all the flames safely put out and all fabric burning questions answered, it was time to ooh and ahh over our members’ latest creations.

First up was our presenter Laura with 27(!) small zipper bags for bridal shower gifts, a Christmas apron featuring a panel of penguins combined with plaid, a batik top without side seams, two turtlenecks from a Kwik Sew pattern, and a sweet color-blocked T-shirt, also from a Kwik Sew pattern. We were so busy complimenting Laura’s creations, we only got a picture of that color-blocked T-shirt, but hey, better than nothing, right?

Laura holding up her color-blocked T-shirt.

Next up, Deb told us all about the cute dress she made for her Raggedy Ann doll, and three elegant projects from Sallie Tomato patterns – a large tote bag, a small bag in faux leather, and a wallet with many pockets.

Deb showing off her doll dress and elegant bags.

Then Belva showed off three vintage garments she’d scored at a real estate sale – a 1950’s “California Shirtdress” with full circle skirt (pictured) , a 1970’s brown wool top by Bill Blass that originally came from Neiman Marcus at the eye-popping price of $1,585, and an Anne Klein blouse in blue striped poly with a self tie. We can’t wait to see what she does with them.

Belva showing off her vintage dress.

Next up in the spotlight was Lynn, with three colorful tops (Simplicity 2195), two baby sleep bags, and two baby shirts. Not picture of the sleep bags, but here you can see the colorful tops and one of the shirts.

Lynn hodling up colorful tops on hangers, and a shirt.

And then came Donna – not just showing, but wearing her latest creations: a sleeveless top from a Burda pattern, a striped cardigan (Sewing Workshop Ann’s Cardigan with added SafTPockets), a short bolero, and a cotton print shell top. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Donna wearing and showing her latest tops and cardigan.

Wrapping up our show & tell, Phyllis showed off a very summery table topper with cherries, polka dots, and gingham, and two sets of potholders in a rather more subdued beige and yellow colorway.

Phyllis showing off summer table topper in bright colors and potholders in beige and yellow.

Ready to get inspired by other people projects? Or even show off your own to oohs and aahs and compliments from the rest of us? Then join us – second Saturday of every month, at 1500 Blairs Ferry Rd in Hiawatha. (Yep, we rent space in the church. Come on in!)

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