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The effects of accelerated ageing and light on selected contemporary quilting materials

Janet Evenson, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The aim of this study was to determine if selected contemporary quilting materials, specifically marking pens and ink removal treatments, quilt basting sprays, fusible webs, and fusible battings, contribute to the degradation or discoloration of quilt fabrics over time as there are no published results of the long-term effects of these products. Marked fabrics (marking pens) and fabric assemblies (fabric and batting) incorporating quilt basting spray adhesives, fusible webs, and fusible battings were evaluated for color differences and percent change in breaking strength following light exposure or accelerated ageing. Fabric assemblies containing adhesive products were also evaluated for changes in stiffness following light exposure or accelerated ageing. ^ Accelerated ageing to simulate natural ageing was performed according to AATCC modified protocols for 6- and 36-hour levels of accelerated ageing to predict the lifespan of quilting materials. Artificial light exposure in an Atlas Xenon-Arc Weather-Ometer simulated sunlight exposure through window glass. Marking pen specimens were exposed to 20 and 40 AFUs of light exposure, while adhesive product fabric assemblies were exposed to 40 and 80 AFUs of light. ^ Air-soluble marking pen ink did not “disappear” as manufacturers claimed. Water immersion was the most effect means of ink removal, while eraser pen ink removal treatments had the most dramatic and detrimental effect of color change. ^ Fusible battings exhibited less color change than other adhesive products. Some polyvinyl acetate-based adhesive sprays exhibited more yellowing than others. Both polyamide and polyvinyl alcohol-based fusible webs exhibited undesirable ageing characteristics. Knowing basic chemical classification of a product was not sufficient to predict product performance; additives negatively affect the performance of products during the ageing process. ^ The results promise to be useful to museum professionals. Based on this research, curators and conservators may wish to advise against acquisition of quilts, apparel or fiber art incorporating these products. Furthermore, this research indicates that quilters desiring to make heirlooms should refrain from using temporary fabric marking pens and select products without adhesives. ^

Subject Area

Chemistry, Polymer|Textile Technology

Recommended Citation

Evenson, Janet, "The effects of accelerated ageing and light on selected contemporary quilting materials" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3104612.