Thursday, April 2, 2015

Silk and Fabric Care

by Staci Louise Smith

As we move forward with our Fiber in Jewelry Boot Camp, I wanted to touch on the care of fibers.  

A reader had commented about being hesitant to use fabrics and such because they get dirty, and was concerned about longevity.  I had forgotten that I had those same concerns myself when I first started using silks in my work.
 These are some beautiful Marsha Neal silks on my table just begging to be made into something!

Because I work mostly with sari silk and other hand dyed silks, like Marsha Neal's, I can really only talk of the care they require.  

Longevity:  When making jewelry, I am really pretty strict about making sure it is made well and will last.  I guarantee my work, so I want it to last forever!  Of course, things happen, and I fix them when needed.  So using fiber was a bit scary to me.  I will share my tricks in a tutorial later for making sure your necklace is secure, and is  not going to break easily.  

these are batik fabrics from Starry Road Studio, still on my desk, also waiting to become something!  I cannot wait to dive in.

After I got that down, there was the care and cleaning of it.  I personally love to wear my sari silk necklaces in the summer.  They are much more comfortable and light on a sweaty neck then chain.  However......there is the sweaty neck thing.

The nice thing is, that they are fabric, and you can gently hand wash it in the sink.  I use a little warm water, along with some hand soap.  I wet the fabric, rub in some soap for a bit and rinse, rinse, rinse.  Allow it to air dry, and its all clean! 

I hope this little post will help to ease your concerns as we move forward and find new ways to use fiber in jewelry.  

There really are times when I tear a piece apart, and replace beading or chain with silks, because it either needed that pop of color they can offer, or it needed something soft for contrast.  Once I started using it, I have not looked back!  

If you have any other concerns or questions about using fabric in jewelry before we start up the boot camp, please feel free to ask!


Deb Fortin said...

Hi Stacie . thanks for your answer to my concerns of the cleaning of fabric neck cords.
I do have another question re the same topic . do you remove the silk cord form the rest of the necklace before you hand wash it? or does the whole necklace get cleaned as well each time .
Im thinking that some beads should not be in contact with water , opals, pearls, ivory?? or do you avoid using those in necklaces with fabric cords?

Shaiha said...

I am really looking forward to this boot camp as I have started to add more textiles to my designs.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Also - it is a good idea if you are super concerned about the dye being color fast to test it out by wetting it then letting it dry (pat dry with a towel). The silks I carry (all hand painted by Ute of Silk Painting is Fun) are all color fast under normal every day use.

Most fabrics should not be worn in salt water or in chlorinated water if you want to keep the fibers in tact.

I get mine wet every day I wear them when I wash my hands, or do the dishes, and years later they are absolutely fine :)

Thanks for posting about this concern Staci!

Karen Totten said...

Ahhh... nice to see my ribbons arrived! I look forward to see what you make with them!

stacilouise said...

Deb- i get the entire necklace wet. you can't take apart my cords once they are incorporated into the necklace. as far as I know, water and handsoap are no problem for most beads, even pearls (they come from water after all)....even my poly clay ones get wet. anything harsher is another story- like silver cleaner and other chemicals- chlorine, ect. you don't want to use that stuff with alot of stone. I just clean the fabric under running water, I don't stick the whole thing in the sink and agitate like a washing machine. so, things get a little wet, but mostly just the cord. hope that helps!

Carol Dekle said...

Wow Staci! That necklace is gorgeous! I love how you used polymer to look like driftwood? Very nice! The simple components and the sari pull it all together beautifully!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you addressed this concern. It's one of the first things my daughter asked me when I first made a piece with Marsha Neal silks. I am glad to have my advice validated (I really wasn't sure).

Mardi said...

Great post! I love fabric incorporated into the neck area of a chain. Sometimes, a metal chain will start to ache on my neck, and the ache stops when I take it off. Fabric and leather never do this. I have heard of other women with this same complaint,and as a body-worker I know that metal can interfere with energy flow.

Ann Schroeder said...

Thanks so much for this practical post. I have had this concern as well, and I don't know why I didn't think to just gently wash it. Sometimes you just need someone with experience to tell you stuff!

Deb Fortin said...

thanks Staci,( and also to Marsha Neal about colour fastness)
I feel much more confident in using fibres in my jewellery now.
I am excited to take part in this new boot camp.

ps I Love the driftwood focal bead.

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