About Class Act Fabrics
contact me at:
Class Act Fabrics
PO Box 307
email me at
Linda (at) classactfabrics (dot) com
Class Act Fabrics
of the fabric I carry is fashion fabric from the current manufacturing season. Funny
thing, though: a lot of the natural fiber fashion fabrics today have the same thread count
and weave structure as the fabrics dug up and dated from the 10th century. And it still
makes great clothing!
Except for the unaccountable urge to buy some glorious current fashion fabric every now and then, I try to buy period appropriate fiber and patterns. Some fabric that is appropriate in pattern isn't the right fiber, but its as close as we can find so I get it.
These fashion fabrics are seasonal and in limited supply!
The fabrics are labeled for width, fiber content, basic weave, and price per yard.
Historically, natural fibers have been washed. When gold-wrapped threads
and velvet piles came along, I'm sure they weren't treated like linen and plain silks.
Historic "dry cleaning" methods have included: brushing with a stiff/soft brush; airing in the sun; working in some sort of dry powder/earth/cornmeal/ then removing it and hoping the dirt, grease, or odor came out too; spot cleaning with grain alcohol; spot cleaning with a chemical; and in this last century, commercial chemical dry cleaning.
Fabrics have received surface treatments since the Egyptians ironed their linens. British wool finishes in the Middle Ages used sheep's dung, urine, Fullers Earth, along with raising wool fibers with teasels and then shearing the surface smooth (and hot presses). Now we use chemicals and special machinery to give many surface appearances.
In many cases, water and/or machine washing destroy that surface appearance so we resort to commercial dry cleaning.... or we go ahead and wash the fabric, accepting whatever change happens.
Some changes that might occur when using water to clean fashion fabrics: shrinking; fibers loosening to make thread look 'fuzzier', looser spun threads shrinking more than tighter spun thread in the same fabric, color bleeding, selvedges shrinking or fraying. If you want the exact look as the fabric has as it comes from the manufacturer, then you need to dry clean it. Wearing protective undergarments or 'underarm shields' can keep your expensive garb/gowns from needing more than an airing or a brushing for longer. (just like they used to do ;)
I tend to wash everything except "exquisite court garb".
The dryer is not your natural fibers' friend.
How would you look after being tumbled, twisted, wrenched and subjected to heat and damp at the same time? If you want natural fibers to last as long as they did in the Middle Ages when they willed cloaks and bed linens/hangings and other fabric items to the next generation, then just hang them dry and press them.
Here is an excellent site about fabric care and much, much more!! www.fabrics.net
Caveat......Even though you may be getting 100% linen when you
buy today's fashion linen, you probably won't be getting what was used commonly
even 40 years ago or less. The machines used to make fabric have changed
enormously....the weaving speed has doubled and tripled. The number of shuttles
used has increased. The threads are being treated differently.
The whole fabric industry is evolving rapidly! And as the old saying goes: "What's old is new again." Milk casein, corn, and other organic matter is being used to make thread.....again.
At www.textileweb.com , their newsletter has continual notice of advances in the industry....from Star Wars-like intelligent textiles with electrode sensors knit in that monitor heart rate, detect and regulate heat, to developing a protein vaccination for wool producing sheep that causes a natural break to occur in the wool fibers, so that a week later the fleece is shed whole!
And in 2007 the fashion industry had re-introduced "organic wool". duh....
I have a glossary of medieval to ca.1900 fabric names (as
you can see at the bottom of the lefthand column. But here's a really cool
glossary of modern fabric terms...
SPEAKING OF COLORS.... and how you see them in the fabric swatches:
Every computer will display colors differently depending on the video
card, monitor, and light in the room. To make sure you are seeing the most accurate color
possible please check these colors below. They should be pure red, bright green, blue,
white and black. If they aren't you can check your video card's gamma configuration screen
and adjust it as necessary. If your white and black need adjusting you can use the
contrast and brightness settings on your monitor.
If you have Windows, you can adjust the colors by going to the Start menu and choosing Settings/Control Panel/Display. There may be a tab that says "Settings" or "Color Adjustment." If you are using Macintosh or other platform, check the documentation for your monitor and video card for similar settings.
(Or....see the last paragraph below....swatches.)
Meet Susie Q.....my quietest helper. Despite being one-armed and slightly "tipsy", she's going to be a great help in showing you the fabric. She has many sterling qualities: can stand long periods of time without moving; doesn't stash the best fabrics under the counter for herself; doesn't demand a lot of attention; and works "real cheap".
Of course, she has her drawbacks: I have to do all her draping; she refuses to lift a hand to help with any of the chores; and her darned arm keeps poking me when I'm trying to adjust the lighting.
One of Susie's jobs is to give you a better idea of the fabric's design size. Susie is about 5' 8" and a size 6-8..(snort!) Unlike a glorious, "broad" figure like mine, Susie's physique doesn't allow much pattern to show.
But you can see the fabric's hand_how the fabric drapes, how soft or stiff it is. Susie is wearing a white silk "rustling" taffeta off-the-shoulder bodice and a black silk crepe sarong skirt, so if the displayed fabric is sheer you can see the difference between the "flesh" color and the white silk, and the white and black silks.
I'm also trying to get a closer shot of the fabric so you can see the weave and the reverse side of the fabric. I'm experimenting with bounced light to keep the white speckles from happening. At the moment I'm having a problem with not enough light. Oh well, it will get better. Someday.
The color of the fabrics is influenced by
the undertone of the fabric, the outside weather, whether I turn on more
incandescent lighting as well as the flood lighting, etc. The floods are
incandescent because it really got weird when I tried to mix 'warm' and 'cool'
Susie's skin tone is 'cool' if you look at it in person. So if the jpg shows Susie with a florid pink complexion, you can be sure that the fabric is off color a bit too! There's just no way to give you the exact colors when no one has the same computer.
The best insurance to be sure you know what you are getting is to purchase a small swatch ....just takes a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) and a quarter. And if there's only a small amount of the fabric left, I can "hold" it for you until you have a chance to get the swatch and see/feel the fabric. So far about 3/4ths of the people who get swatches like the fabric better than the picture. The rest have seen that the color is definitely not what their computer showed them!