Originally Posted by bigbucky
Someone on here has to have access to a scanning electron microscope.
On a serious note, could you tell if a fabric was pure cotton or a mix by looking under a 'normal' microscope, like the ones you buy in hobby shops for kids?
Obviously most people (including tailors) don't have any kind of microscope at hand, so the burn test is a practical method. But surely if, say, the police are examining fibres, they must initially look at them under a microscope or something rather than burn them to work out what they are?
I did try the burn test on two suits I was given, and it did work. The one I suspected might have been the cheaper of the two was clearly real, course wool, whilst the one I thought was special was clearly man made! I'm not good enough to know if it was polyester or some other synthetic fibre, but I'm only interested in knowing if something is 1, cotton; 2, wool; 3, silk or; 4, anything else!
I don't want to burn a new shirt and I'm certainly not good enough to identify mixed fibres reliably.
I wonder if there's a potential scandal for high street retailers here? If a quiet news week led to a journalist buying a few 'pure' cotton and wool items from reputable shops, proving they contained polyester, and showing that identical items were available from smaller shops under different labels for less than half the price, I bet there'd be a bigger public response than when they expose hospitals for being deceptive over hygiene practices.
But then, show me any industry where people do everything correctly and honestly! I like my new shirt. It's just that while I'm happy to pay more for pure cotton, I'm just as happy buying the same shirt for half-price just because it has a different logo on its label.