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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Repairing a seam on a jumbo silk (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Donald Dunphy
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I don't recall reading this topic before.

I have a jumbo silk (6'x6'), and of course, it is made in two halves that are sewn together horizontally.

The seam is starting to show wear. It's not that the stitching is coming undone. It's that the silk is starting to tear where it is sewn, in many spots along the seam.

Does it need to be re-sewn, or would applying frey-stop help, or should I replace it, or what?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Bob Sanders
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Donald,

It will help temporarily. If it is still in good enough shape to survive washing, use a lot of fabric softener and then make a decision about Fray-Check. Wear is most likely from some stiffener added to the silk or abrasion from foreign particles of something. Silk alone can last hundreds of years without wearing out. You might also check for insect damage.

How old is the silk? If it has a mid seam it should have been manufactured since the 80s.

Bob Sanders
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Donald Dunphy
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I have two six foot silks.

I have a SKS Dragon (bought used from David Ginn), and I have a tie-dye one that I bought new from Richard Hughes. Richard's silk is about 10 years old, and is a heavier momme.

It's the Hughes' silk that is starting to tear where the thread is sewn / seam. I fold the silk and keep it stored in the tube of my Mel Babcock Square Circle, for show use.

Sometimes, after production from the prop, I have wrapped the large silk around all of smaller silks, to keep it all contained as "one" / transport it home.

Maybe I pulled on it or something as I've been folding it. But I don't recall doing that. I'm more likely to suspect I did something wrong, than to think it's faulty workmanship. Richard's work is superb.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
Bob Sanders
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Stress seldom destroys silk. Silk fiber is unbelievably strong. Avoid punctures, abrasions and chemical damage and silk should out-live you.

Bob Sanders
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Donald Dunphy
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I'll have to take a photo and show you. Might take me a few days to post it (I don't own a digital camera).

Obviously, where the silk is sewn (the horizonal seam attaching the two silks together), each stitch is a "puncture" that could be stretched eventually. That is what's happening here.

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
JNeal
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Silk is an animal product (as opposed to plant products like cotton) and will break down over time. Yes, unused and not exposed to sunlight will help maintain it's life ..but unfortunately all silk is subject to decay.
Constantly refolding along the same seam or edge or ironed in crease will cause the silk to break down more readily.

I am under the impression also that all 6 ft silks have a mid seam, because the fabric was woven on a loom that maximized at 3 feet. Am I wrong in this? I remember buying SKS 6 ft silks in the mid 70's and they all had seams.

At the time I used them on production flag staves and they eventually wore out from constant use and inevitably refolding them along the same creases. After that, I taught myself to make my own 6 foot silks and decided that the seam should run vertically rather than horizontally so that the seam did not have to support the weight of 50% of the total silk.

Still, I get about 5 to 7 years of use per set of silks on the flagstaves, and I am using 8 or 10 weight momme to construct them! I might add that I have done as many as 1000 shows in some years.

If I were to try and revive these silks you have (assuming they have enough life left in them and the fabric has not become too brittle), I would either remove the stitches and recreate a new seam to sew together ...or on teh back side of the silk add a supporting piece of silk fabric in the dominant color. ..in essence creating a silk 'bandaid' .

In the early 80's I was asked by Marvyn Roy to repair some of his 6 foot SKS pattern silks that had worn out from frequent use and did patchwork pieces in colors to support the worn or torn areas and it worked without adding significant bulk to his load.
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hugmagic
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Donald,
I am surprised that the stitches have started to come out on the 6". This is the first time I ever heard of this problem.

JNeal is correct thought all 6 silks have seams. The largest silk available is 55". Even the Rice 4 x 6 flag had seams in it.

I would resew it. I you can work a narrow peice of ribbon in their to sew in between the silk that will help. I use two pieces of Ribbon on Flagstags and encased it silk so there is a lot of strength.

I would pick out a color of thread that is mostly blended into the rest of silk. If I remember correctly your silk is red to blue on the outside. I would probably get a shade of red thread. Another thought is if you have enough lap in the middle you could double turn it and hem it.

JNeal, I have also had to patch up Rice Stuff for guys. I had to redo a 4 x 6 American Flag. The Star field was messed up. I had to redraw one star, figure out a close color match on the Rice blue (it is more purplish than most blues), and patch it in. The red stripes were much easier. Not something I would want to do a regular basis.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
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Bob Sanders
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Richard is giving you some good advice about adding ribbon to repairs.

For Production flags on staffs, it should actually be done on the connecting edge before it is even ever used. Pros do that.

It is one of those little differences in custom props for pros versus props sold in magic shops where price is more important than quality. Unfortunately many props sold in magic shops (on line and brick & mortar) do little more than expose how a trick works. The props are often too small or of too poor a quality to stand up to the demands of profession performances. Ask for the difference. If the vendors know it is sold, they will frequently order the pro models for you. They just can't gamble on hobbyists buying pro stuff.

Bob Sanders
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JNeal
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Both Richard and Bob offer great advice about the difference between props made for and by professionals. The ribbon will add immeasurable strength to the silk and on that same subject, I suggest using pure silk thread to re-sew the pieces together. the correct silk thread (what used to be called "silk A" ) is extremely fine and very strong, much stronger than cotton wrapped polyester thread in my opinion.

Bob, I could not agree with you more. There is not a single effect in my show that was usable exactly as sold. Everything had to be remade by myself to a higher professional standard for durablilty, packing concerns, ease of repair, etc;
visit me @ JNealShow.com
Donald Dunphy
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Thanks, all. Good advice.

Richard - Because this is your product, would it be ok if I contacted you about making the repair for me? Would you be willing to take on a project like that?

- Donald
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
RJE
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Now how about that! We have owned and been using the 6 foot butterfly silk for a number of years now and I have never noticed that it had that seam before reading this thread. You learn something new everyday.
hugmagic
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Donald, send to me and I will see what I can do.

Jonathan, you are right about the silk thread. Unfortunately, it is hard to get and too expensive to use on a consistant basis. Most guys were out the silk before the thread gives out.

And yes, pros almost never use things as bought. I have relied on their input into the stuff I make to constantly learn and try to improve things.

One thing I do on my flagstaff silks, I encased the ribbon in the silk and then dye it so the ribbon is not that noticable. I do not handpaint them the way you did yours however. Keep adding to the posts, I really enjoy your comments.

Richard
Richard E. Hughes, Hughes Magic Inc., 352 N. Prospect St., Ravenna, OH 44266 (330)296-4023
www.hughesmagic.com
email-hugmagic@raex.com
Write direct as I will be turning off my PM's.
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