How to Crush Silk Permanently
(Sabine's native language is German but she has written this in English. As editor, I'll correct a bit of the words for usage, but this is her article. -Cat-)
One thing in advance; Kids, don't try this at home without asking for your parents permission first *AND* of course for their help!
Everyone please follow all safety instructions carefully and completely.
Also see the bottom of the page for other techniques.
This crushing technique is permanent.... at least half permanent and can be refreshed after washing.
There are two types of crushing
Length Fabric Crush
1) wash the silk.
2) Form a long, twisted "sausage" that will twist up in itself when picked up. The stronger the twisting, the better; but keep in mind that the twisted fabric must still be able to take some fluid; so it must not be too strong. You can tie the ends with a thread so that the twisting will not open.
3) Read the instruction of the hair perm fluid!
4) Lay the sausage down in the bathtub (or the shower) and use the first fluid of the perm on it. Soak the fabric (still twisted!) with it.
5) While working with the microwave and baking oven, the windows should be OPENED WIDE! You will need to keep the air circulating in this room to get fresh air!
Put this twisted "sausage" in a big plastic bowl that is suitable for microwave ovens; cover it with plastic foil (also suitable for microwaves) (NO ALUMINUM FOIL!) and put it into the microwave. At about 400-500 Watts, it should stay there for the time that was given in the instruction for the perm for the fluid one (usually, 30-40 minutes). After half of the time, you might turn over the twisted fabric carefully (be really careful, it is HOT! Use two spoons or something like that to do this).
6) wash the fluid one out; still leaving the fabric twisted. Instructions of the hair perm will tell you how.
7) Apply about 3/4 of the amount of fluid of bottle no. 2 (instructions should tell you this; at least on my hair perm that I am always using for the fabrics). Fabric has to remain twisted.
8) Put it back in the bowl, re-cover it with the lid/wrap, put it back to the microwave for the time that fluid 2 needs, at the same heat that fluid 1 used.
Remember the open windows, doors etc. whatever you have to get air in the room!
9) put the fabric (remembering that is is very hot) back into the bathtub/shower, let it cool for a while. Open the twisting gently, but don't pull the fabric apart. Just loose the twisting so that you have the fabric winded about 4 times per yard!
Apply the rest of fluid 2.
10) Carefully move the fabric back to the bowl. Cover it. Microwave for about 10 minutes.
11) Let the fabric cool. Wash it out without pulling it apart. Use a gentle silk washing detergent.
12) twist the silk again (about 10 times per yard; depending on the fabric; tight enough that it will twist again when picked up; but not as tight that it will not be able to dry).
13) put it into the baking oven for about 2 hours at 50-75°C.
14) take it out, leave it twisted and dry it on the radiator (takes 1-2 days; depending on the amount, the twisting and the type of fabric).
To do a "random" crush (as on Arwen's Arch dress) instead of a length crush just crumple the wet fabric in step 1 together into a lump (*not* a ball; otherwise the perm fluid has no chance to work on the middle of this fabric ball!). This is easiest if you put the wet fabric in the bathtub and carefully push the borders towards the middle; finally you should have an about letter sized, crumpled fabric "square" that you can roll up to put it in the bowl.
If, after washing, the crushing should become less, just twist the garment (or crumple it again) and dry it on a radiator (see above). After that, iron from the lining side (yes, these garments should have linings!), not from the crushed outside.
That's all. Clean the microwave carefully. It will not make the microwave unusable; it is just water steam that came out; but it smells strange due to the usage of the perm fluids.
See Sabine's work <here>.
Temporary methods for getting the pleating
Actually, these stay in pretty well.. but they will gradually relax.
This page was last updated 04/22/08