Vintage Bow Ties and the Flame Test

I recently bid on and purchased this small quilt top on EBay.

It came with these extra pieces.

I loved the blue setting squares, but when it arrived and I felt them, I suspected they were not 100% cotton. So I decided to test my theory with the flame test. I trimmed a small piece from one of the extra blocks and lit it on fire with a lighter.

This is what it looked like after blowing out the flame.

It is hard and crunchy. This means it has polyester I. It. The flame melts the poly which is essentially plastic.

This is a piece of 100% cotton.

When burned, the ash turns gray and is very soft to the touch.

You can see the soft gray ash on my finger tip.

I recommend doing this over a sink with water running to prevent any disasters! But it is a good test if you are unsure of fabric content.

Have a great day!


About katyquilts

I am a wife, mom of four amazing adult kids, and a former librarian. I love making everything from traditional quilts to art quilts. I am thankful to God my Father and Creator for the gift of creativity!
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3 Responses to Vintage Bow Ties and the Flame Test

  1. Sandy says:

    I’m thinking that would date your little vintage top in the 1960’s or 70’s. Lots of poly and poly blends around then. Its a sweet little top. Are you going to hand quilt it?

  2. Great tip! I do have some fabrics I am suspicious about.

  3. Loris Mills says:

    The poly seems to smell just when heated with an iron as well. The flame test really proves it!

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