Silk on playa - Damage? Alkaline issues?

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Silk on playa - Damage? Alkaline issues?

Postby Solito » Mon May 23, 2011 9:13 am

So I just acquired several Japanese silk Haori (jackets) and Juban (under-robes) that would go well visually with my playa ensemble. However - I would assume the worst in terms of what damage they would receive.

If I limit my selection to one garment, and then only wear that when walking or at camp - I think damage would be a dust and rebar issue only. I doubt biking with it would even be an option, as they are very light and very flowing.

So:
Has anyone seen any permanent effects of alkaline dust on their silk stuff?

Thanks in advance.
-Solito

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Postby jkisha » Mon May 23, 2011 10:02 am

Doesn't the playa have its effects on everything? Best advice is old advice. If it really matters, don't take it.
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Postby phil » Mon May 23, 2011 10:02 am

The alkali and the powder itself cause problems. All your fabrics will become saturated with the very fine powder. For most fabrics, not a big problem. However, the powder saturates the fibers, stiffens them, and is abrasive. You'll find, I believe, that the fabric will be scoured by bends and folds as the newly sandpapery fabric rubs against itself. The alkaline powder will likely bleach the dyes as well.

We all get to make our choices, and I would not bring fine fabrics of any kind onto the playa for a week, and I don't bring anything I can't throw in the washer when we get home.
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Postby Solito » Mon May 23, 2011 11:34 am

I've seen etsy skirts for sale made of silk, and would suspect that at least someone is wearing them... I wonder if any of the ladies could chime in on damage to silk skirts...

regardless, I'm 90% certain i won't be wearing silk at BM.

Thx again.
-Solito

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Postby AntiM » Mon May 23, 2011 12:46 pm

I had a flowing silk cape made of old silk scraps from a disassembled kimono/obi guts. It did fine on the playa until it was stolen after a couple years. However, this was silk scraps and I was risking very little. It had fur over-shoulders and I just air tumbled it and beat the dust the hell out of it. Yes, the reds sun faded quickly. I have taken a wedding kimono out to the playa as a tent cover. Again, just beat the dust out of it. I know, a full on wedding kimono in the dust. It isn't a prime piece, but it is fabulous.

Raw silk is tough as hell, I'd wear it on the playa if I could bring myself to cut it and make something.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon May 23, 2011 1:07 pm

I think Solito just wants to share costume pictures?
Please to visit PAGE TWO.
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TOJO's WARDROBE

Postby Solito » Mon May 23, 2011 2:02 pm

You can Google Image "Mens Haori" and "Mens Juban" for a view of them. Make sure to punch in "Mens" cause the women have the same articles but cut/colored very differently. But in the interest of furthering the thread and discussing Tojo's Wardrobe in more detail...

There are lots of ebay stores selling used Japanese traditional clothing. Lots of the old folks are dying away, and their traditional clothes are sold to the auction houses. A thriving business exists in re-selling these to the younger generations in Japan and abroad.

Anyway - Most of what I bought is way too fancy for the playa, but one of the juban cost me only $10 - It looks very much like a black mirror smoking jacket that runs down to my ankles. It has no complex hand paintings, but does have the 5 white little circle family crests on the back and sleeves. It catches the wind just by walking and flows like a cape, it also drapes like nothing I've ever owned. It's stunning, and it was INexpensive.

Clearly I would not be able to climb on anything with this, nor would I really want to bike with it unless I had to. It would be used in the mornings, runs to the loo, lounging at camp, and possibly as outerwear for deep playa expeditions at night (lit of course). My little pack fits right over it - and it folds up into a nice little rectangle and can fit in my pack. It would also make a great sheet for myself and... someone else.

I suppose my worries are the alkaline destroying the stitching over time, the sun dulling the intense black color, and tears to the fabric since it would be blowing around all the time and could easily catch on everything... I could always buy another, there were tons of em. Even with a few patched tears, some faded color, and some bike chain grease stains it would STILL be an impressive outer garment for BMs to come, and I may just declare it my outer layer for all nights.

...apologies for rambling on.
-Solito

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Postby Savannah » Mon May 23, 2011 2:18 pm

The $10 juban sounds like that might actually be worth the risk, Solito. It clearly makes you feel good, and it sounds like it behaves beautifully in a breeze. I'd wear it in a heartbeat. :) But that's a very personal decision (like displaying the family china vs. eating off of it). If its loss or damage would make you inconsolable, don't do it.

If it is colorfast (you would need to test it gently on an unseen area to see) you could wash it in cold water, mild soap (not detergent) and a little vinegar* when you return--according to some sites, anyway. Satisfy yourself that this is a good option in your own opinion before proceeding.


* As it happens, vinegar is already used in post-playa washes, to counteract dust.
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Postby AntiM » Mon May 23, 2011 2:30 pm

The juban would hold up to the elements, to use and abuse, well that's you not it.

Washing these is tricky because the collar is stiffened with other layers of fabric, and they can bunch if run through a machine, even on delicate setting. Hand washing is an option, although the silk may never drape the same. Once it has been washed and dried, a steaming works wonders rather than an iron. Dry cleaning, meh.

I have short haori but never wear them, they no longer fit me. I have my mother's kimono, and her many modern sweater haori, and a teabox or two full of used rental wedding kimono. They were to be decor, but my walls are not expansive enough to do them justice. Oh, and furoshiki and obi and ... all sorts of fabrics and garments which shall never see the playa. I was thinking of making the furoshiki into a jacket, mom had so many! A few are my age or older.

I found wearing cotton yukata on the playa to be very comfortable, enjoyable, but yes, they are not for bike rides. My poor old yukata are so worn, I have to patch them. Good thing I stocked up on extra fabric!
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...

Postby Solito » Mon May 23, 2011 2:30 pm

unlike my real life - my opinions as expressed on ePlaya change like the wind.

I'm now in the 90% likely to wear it category.

As an aside, and for the sake of other readers:
All Japanese silk garments are best washed laying flat in a tub of cool water using baby shampoo or other very mild detergent (no washing machine agitator), and no soaking for longer than a few minutes. I don't think a little vinegar would hurt during the post BM wash.
-Solito

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Postby Savannah » Mon May 23, 2011 2:57 pm

Sorry, I thought hand-washing was implied when I said "washing". :)

HANDWASHHANDWASH.

Unless it has runny dye. :mrgreen:
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and an aside

Postby Solito » Mon May 23, 2011 3:18 pm

(DIGRESSION ALERT)

All of the items I bought were used and had at least some small stain or sign of wear... one Winter haori in particular had a stain in the sky portion of it's very impressive hand painted scene on the inside lining - I chose to risk an aggressive washing - complete with Oxy gel - which explicitly states not to use on silk. :D

SO - Oxy applied on said stains. Wait 3 minutes - no change at all visually. 5 minutes - no change. I decide that's enough and ready a hot shower for myself, to which I would submit the haori since it also has some serious wrinkles after removing a long-stitch alteration for it's previous owner, and smells brutal of dry-clean agents.

In I go, and with me the haori turned inside out and on a hanger. I let the (hot!) water hit the oxy areas, and noted no change again except for some serious chemical smells from the dry clean chems coming out. Oh well, nothing lost or gained I assumed - I looked at the floor and WOW - why is the shower floor full of purple water?!!

I notice that the water rolling off the haori is a dark pink/purple color - and immediately dial in some cold water. I complete my rinse of the haori AND the shower floor - and let it hang overnight in the shower...

It was still damp in the morning, major wrinkles gone - and smelling much more neutral. I took it outside to air dry in the shade (your not supposed to sun dry silk, color can fade) while on the hanger.

All ended well - smells nicer, no wrinkles, but the stubborn stains will be in that painted lining's sky for life. Plus I learned that aggressive cleaning of silk should simply not be performed - even by hand! I got lucky, and that was some seriously runny dye.
-Solito

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Postby gaminwench » Tue May 24, 2011 1:35 pm

Our camp uses silk for kites, banners and wind worship... it holds up well, year after year, just use a little vinegar in the bath...
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Postby MyDearFriend » Tue May 24, 2011 3:51 pm

Silk fibers are generally very strong. Indian ladies value silk saris for their durability; I have seen them washing saris in a river, slapping the wet silk against a rock... seems to work just fine.
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Postby Lassen Forge » Tue May 24, 2011 4:02 pm

I use silk thermals on wicked cold mornings, they seem to hold up fine, just remember, cold water, little lemon or vinegar (not much), and a LITTLE bit of MILD soap (like Doc Bonners babysoap)... Handwashed, they'll last... well... at least 8 years...
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Re: and an aside

Postby capjbadger » Tue May 24, 2011 4:23 pm

Solito wrote:(DIGRESSION ALERT)

In I go, and with me the haori turned inside out and on a hanger. I let the (hot!) water hit the oxy areas, and noted no change again except for some serious chemical smells from the dry clean chems coming out. Oh well, nothing lost or gained I assumed - I looked at the floor and WOW - why is the shower floor full of purple water?!!

I notice that the water rolling off the haori is a dark pink/purple color - and immediately dial in some cold water. I complete my rinse of the haori AND the shower floor - and let it hang overnight in the shower...
.

Any cloth will do that if the maker did not set the dye properly. :)

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