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the chart that follows is reproduced from the Singer Sewing Book by Mary Brooks Picken, published in 1949. no warranty stated or implied, etc, etc.
|Touch lighted match to scrap||Smells like burning paper. Flame sputters and smothers. Burns slowly.||Like cotton but burns more slowly.||Smells like burning hair. Burns fast and steadily. Leaves very tiny globules like hair. Weighted silk slower burning. Leaves gritty ash.||Smells like burning paper. Quick flame but slower than silk. Leaves carbon ash. Acetate melts and leaves hard globule.||Smells like burnt hair.|
|Drop caustic soda on scrap to tell pure wool from that which is mixed with cotton||Pure wool dissolves. Any cotton fiber mixed with it is left.|
|Wash or drop water on scrap||Drop of water remains whole a moment before sinking in||Drop spreads and absorbs quickly||Drop will spot silk. Washing will remove sizing and cloud water. Dries quickly.||Feels gummy when wet. Fibers weak when wet. Dries slowly. Acetate absorbs very little water. Feels dry almost at once.|
|Drop oil or glycerine on scrap to tell cotton from linen||Spot is opaque.||Spot is translucent when held up to light|
|Drop ink on scrap to tell pure linen from cotton and linen mixture||Spreads evenly and rapidly on pure linen. If cotton is mixed with fabric, spreads further on some threads than on others.|
|Rub scrap with fingernail or coin to tell rayon from other fibers||Threads may slip or separate more than in any other fabric.|
|Ravel a thread to compare it with one you are sure of||Fiber short and fuzzy. Not lustrous or hairy.||Fibers longer, mor elustrous than cotton. May seem woody.||Lustrous as compared with wool or cotton.||Lustrous. Feels cool and slippery as compared with other fibers.||Feels springy and hairy.|
|Old white fabrics can be compared for whiteness to tell rayon from other fibers||Remains white; all natural fibers end to yellow with time.|
by Mary Brooks Picken
©1949 Singer Manufacturing Co.
used without permission