Preparing for Danielle (and the burn test)

I have been making a Danielle dress, in my head, for well over a year! It was one of the first dresses I ‘favourited’ on Burdastyle. Since then there have been literally hundreds of amazing renditions, like these little beauties:

vivat danielle

Danielle cut-out dress by Vivat Veritas


Tartan sleeveless Danielle by Virginia Argumosa


Bubble Danielle by Ophelia K

I had long toyed with the idea of a stripy version, sans bubble, like Ophelia K’s. I bought the fabric and everything but bottled the idea of such extreme plagiarism! And so, one sunny walk to work, I was drawn into one of the few charity shops I know that has a small but regularly updated fabric selection. Two pieces screamed Danielle at me . . .

mystery fabric

mystery fabric intended for Danielle

£4.98 for the pair. More than enough with a bit left over, which will always be put to use. (Or put in the scrap box, intended for good use!) Was thinking stripy bodice and plain skirt with plain band, giving the impression of a very high waisted skirt. Perhaps with a stripy bow on the waistband.

It feels like linen and I would normally let sleeping dogs lie but since finding out about the ‘burn test’ it’s now a need-to-know-basis. And in any case. Im a stickler for pre-laundering nowadays and need to know how or if to wash it.

The Burn test

Before setting about this test it is important to have a bucket of water at the ready just in case! In a nutshell fabric burns differently according to its different fibre content, namely natural, synthetic or blend.  It takes a very experienced tester to define an exact fabric but with the basic knowledge its easy to tell synthetic from natural fibres. Make sure you use a small strip of material and burn over a fireproof dish.

I compared my mystery fabric to a piece of green linen and this is what happened . . .

burning fabric

The Burn Test

The mystery fabric took light immediately and the flame was high. I had to take the camera lens away quickly . . . close shave! It created lots of smelly black smoke and left a really hard crumbly residue, some which stuck to the plate.

The green linen took a while to ignite and then burnt with a steady flame. It left a really soft smudgy ash.

And so I have assumed that the mystery fabric is a blend with some cotton or wool content. It is a little bit itchy to the touch too so I think a little wool content is a better guess.

You can find a more comprehensive explanation of burn test findings at and here is an interesting chart if you want to get really specific

So here we are . . .

  • Fabric classified √
  • Fabric pre-laundered √
  • toile made (from ex curtain lining) √
  • kids in bed √
  • real work done Χ
  • miffed that I can’t finish it off this evening √
To be continued . . .