Water Marks on Silk

Water Marks on Silk…you hate them, yet they inevitably appear.

While at costume college, I led a Q&A session on The Care and Feeding of Silk.  And it was awesome!  So much enthusiasm, the energy in the room was high, everyone was sharing tips and tricks.  I loved it.  But in the course of the class, I dropped (deliberately) a spot of water on a previously starched piece of Habotai.  I wanted to demonstrate exactly what water marking was and why it was no big deal.

And as the silk scrap made it’s way around the room, it dried, and someone eventually commented on the discoloration.  Which was fine.  The discoloration was literally the result of the starched area versus the un-starched area of silk.  And it gave me the chance to answer that water doesn’t stain.  Water is a neutral element.  Starch rinses out causing the discoloration.  No one believed me.  So when I got home, I made a video with starch and silk.

However, I was not satisfied.  While no harm came to the silk in this process, I felt I had missed something.  I showed you can rinse silk in water to remove surface starch.  So that was a win.  But mostly, as someone who likes to dance in the rain, I felt really bad for all my friends who love these big, floofy, 18th and 19th century dresses, having to huddle under umbrellas or else have to wash and starch their big floofy dresses anytime they get caught in a rain storm.  Because of water!  Water is a neutral element!  So I tried again…with a bigger surface area than that tiny scrap provided…

So good news for floofy dress wearers!  Feel free to dance in the rain….because you do not have to wash the whole dress to treat a few water marks.




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