Ever heard of this one????

So, I wrote about this UFO before.  The black fabric was sort of falling apart.  It was very fragile.  I got lots of good advice on what to do.

So, I got the blocks and pieces out and decided that I would make a couple more blocks and I would try to gently quilt it.

Well, I could not sew the blocks together.  The black fabric was too fragile.  SO, I started to throw away all the black.  Right about the time I was getting ready to throw the blocks in the trash, I decided to see how fragile a whole block was.

Crazy thing….they are fine.  Strong as can be.

So, what is the difference?  I stored the pieces in Ziploc bags (actual Ziploc Brand).  It seems that the Ziploc bag affected the black fabric.  Anyone else ever heard of that?  The Batik fabric I had in the Ziplocs was fine.  Only seemed to affect the black fabric.

Please let me know your thoughts or if anything crazy like that has ever happened to you.

I have a lot of stuff stored in Ziploc bags.  Now I am scared.

Happy Sewing

Happy Quilting

Treasure Your Family


36 thoughts on “Ever heard of this one????

      1. I’ve twice had unused black fabric turn out to be too weak to sew, it just shredded. Neither had been stored in plastic. One was black cotton velveteen, one was a gorgeous jaquard ramie. No I didn’t figure either out properly until I’d tried to make something out of them. I’m forewarned now.

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  1. I was storing fabric in ziploc bags and then I began to wonder if that was a good idea. I thought that sealing the bags might be a bit like using those vacuum bags for clothes storage. I had used those vacuum bags before and ruined some clothes. So then I moved the fabric to plastic bin drawers that are open. I tried researching this, but could find no resources.

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  2. Looks like a consensus. I use plastic tubs to store my fabric or trash bags. Trying to use it all up so I don’t have to do that anymore. I don’t use Ziploc for long term storage but I’ll keep that in mind and ask my quilt group if they have heard anything about when I go back next month. Thanks for the heads up.

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  3. I found this article that contends that fibers stores in airtight plastic may become susceptible to mold or other deterioration. It’s entirely possible that the chemicals used in the manufacturing or dying process for that black fabric are changing in the airtight environment and resulting in the fibers becoming weak and unstable. The manufacturing process is different for every fabric type or color so that would explain why airtight storage doesn’t affect some fabrics but does for others. https://mohistory.org/img/unCommonThreadsSite/preserving_treasures.pdf


  4. I’ve heard that long term storage in plastic sealed packages can break down the fabric. I use plastic storage bins in my studio for my fabric, but they are rarely sealed shut (I’m not that tidy! Ha! )

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  5. I hadn’t heard of the plastic affecting fabric but I guess it can. I heard someone say this week they were repairing a 30 year old quilt as the outer layer had frayed rather. It had been in storage. I have no idea if it was the fabric, the age or the way it was stored. Now I am wondering.

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  6. That’s interesting, because I’ll tell you I HAVE heard of this before! I’ve been quilting 5 decades. Way back when, I was advised to always store quilts and fabrics in something that allowed them to breathe, so pillow cases, literal cloth scrap bags, etc. I don’t worry about totes, because they all get opened several times a year, but I don’t store any fabric in plastic bags unless I leave the bag open, not zipped up, and really not that very often.

    It would always depend on the original quality of the fabric how long they could take being stored. At one time, blacks were often overdyed mistakes, so black went through the dying process twice – more chemicals would weaken the fabric. I don’t know that’s the kind of black you have, but it’s a possibility.

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  7. I’ve heard before that the chemicals in plastic will cause fabric to perish. I don’t use anything plastic for storage. I know in my classroom we store resources in plastic bags and it doesn’t take long before the plastic begins to break down. Of course our resources aren’t fabric, so they’re fine.

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  8. This is pretty interesting. I don’t store fabic in plastic bags, but I DO have some flosses stored in ziplocs. I better check them out. Let us know if you discover the answer. Though, I have to say, if this is a common thing I would think you would have discovered something about it in research.
    xx, Carol

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  9. Somewhere when I first started quilting I was advised to not use starch because it attracts silver fish — and that when you store your quilts (and assume fabric, it is best to keep in out of plastic. There is some special paper that they use for antique quits (cannot think of the name now). Maybe something like tissue. All my fabric is in the Elfa storage system or on storage shelves. I have some in a room where dust does not collect, but in my Studio I have plastic hanging over one side to keep dust off. I really love the black and batiks – Clay loves the black! Good for you to go forward!

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  10. I’ve never heard anything scientifically definitive, only many stories of storing in plastic with bad results and many stories with no problems. Maybe it’s the type of plastic and how much or what fumes it gives off and how long it’s been closed up? There’s also been mention of problems with black embroidery floss due to the amount and types of dye needed to get black. Even with bath towels, it seems like the darker colors wear out faster in the hems than the light colors. I suspect there’s such a combination of conditions, it would be difficult to point to any one item that caused the problem with your fabric. And yet for those of us who need to box stash up for storage, cardboard is no solution either due to it’s acid content and being attractive to bugs. What to do???? Not keeping a fabric stash is not the answer, not in my world anyway.

    And it would be such a pretty quilt, I think I’d try the interfacing.

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  11. Hi Lori,
    Found your blog because you started following mine. Thanks!
    And while I haven’t heard of this, I took a spinning class years ago and acquired a small stash of raw wool for spinning. My teacher, also a quilting instructor, had me store the wool in a pillow case. I stuffed it in there, and hand basted the top closed.
    She said it had to be stored in something that breathed, and said brown paper bags could be used for smaller projects, fold and clip shut, or staple for longer term storage.
    I agree with the suggestion that the overdying of the black fabric may have to do with it breaking down more quickly.

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