Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.654


Dear Ichiroya newsletter readers,
Konnichiwa, this is Mitsue from Ichiroya.
It has been very hot and humid in Osaka, and I want to go to cold country.
My daughter wore Furisode on a hot sunny day!

(Furisode is a most formal type of kimono worn by unmarried women. Furisode have long sleeves and and usually have very colorful and decorative dyed patterns. Furisode are commonly rented or bought by parents for their daughters to dress, celebrating Coming of Age Day the year they turn 20.)

Do you know why she did it?
It is Maedori, taking pictures in advance.
She will be 20 years old in August, and a ceremony of coming of age will be held in January of next year at a city hall.
Now it is common to have pictures taken at studio wearing Furisode  before the ceremony.
Guess, what is the textile of this Furisode?
Silk? or Polyester?
It is difficult to distinguish from the photos, but actually it is polyester and easy to take care of.
Now, most of you may already know well about character and difference of textiles such as silk, cotton, 'Jinken'(rayon), polyester and so on. We will write about the materials of kimono.
Ichiro(the president of ICHIROYA) wrote 'How to know the material of kimono' on his blog 3 years ago. So let us introduce it in English in serial (1)-(4).
We are including the burning test video (Youtube) too. We hope you enjoy the video too.

How to know the material of kimono (ICHIROYA's definitive edition)
First of all, you have to understand the basic things what is fiber made of before distinguishing.
At the same time, the specific terminologies in kimono business which are spoken incorrectly need to be corrected.
(1) silk
Both 'exquisite silk' and 'silk' are silk. YES!
You understand such a thing, right?
Then, how about 'synthetic' and 'blend' ?
Actually, these two words are mixed up in kimono business.
'Synthetic' is an artificial fiber in other words. Fiber is made of yarn and yarn is made by human. Basically, synthetic has some different kinds.(details will be mentioned later)
'Blend' means it is woven with plural materials.
For example, jinken (rayon) and silk blend is common. As for old ones, jinken (rayon) warp and silk weft is popular combination.
According to the definition of words, 'asa and cotton' and 'basho and asa' should be called blend. But in kimono business, 'blend' indicates materials made of both 'artificial fiber and natural fiber'.  
Even so, 'blend' is often used as synonymous with 'synthetic' unconsciously.
Now let's see, what is fiber made of?
Strictly speaking, what is yarn made of?
"The yarn is made of protein or cellulose or one of the oil."
If you understand this, it is easy afterward.
First, What is a thing made of protein?
Yes, silk is the representative one.
The secretion which comes from silkworms is made of protein.
Wool which is hair of sheep is definitely protein.
By the way, what will happen when I put protein on fire?
Let's remember an explosion scene of comedy movies and dramas.
Faces are sooty, and hair gets frizzily, not flare up.
The movie below is my burning test of silk, both the warp and weft yarn.

Followings are the features of silk burning test.
*The fire goes out soon, and does not spread.
*The black ash is easily crushed by fingers.
However, most of fabrics dyed in black do not create such a black ball after burning because of the dyestuff. In addition, the flame is delivate, does not blaze up.
If you are checking such fabric to know it is silk or 'Jinken'(rayon) , you should judge it from texture by touching it, because there is no easy method to determine those two fabrics.