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Recycled Silk - Care and Repair

Our upcycled silk curtains, magic skirts, and valances are made from recycled and repurposed materials. This means that minor blemishes, discolorations, pulls, and other imperfections are expected, and we at Mexicali Blues have long considered these variations “beauty marks” that add to the unique allure of each handcrafted garment. Remember that these fabrics have either lived long lives as Saris worn by women in India or were fabric scraps saved from being thrown into a landfill before they were repurposed as a curtain and ended up in your care. Needless to say, each one-of-a-kind textile tells many stories, and it is up to you to continue to share these stories with the world.Silk is an incredible fiber, but being lightweight makes it prone to snags, pulls, runs, and other blemishes. The following are some examples of beauty marks that you may find on a recycled silk curtain. Whether these beauty marks come from its past life as a sari, from the artisan’s hands that sewed the curtain together, or from your new life with it, here are some tips and tricks to care for your recycled silk curtains.

Excess Threads

Excess threads are common in these curtains, as each strip of fabric is sewn by hand. 

Fortunately, it's an easy fix! Remove any excess threads with scissors, being careful not to cut too close to the seam ✂️

Snags, Pulls, & Runs

A snag is when a loop of fiber is pulled from the normal pattern of the fabric. A pull is when this thread gets pulled and makes what looks like a line or small separation in the fabric. A run is when a thread of this line breaks and starts to come apart. 

Use your fingernails to pull the fabric taught in every direction around the imperfections. If this isn’t enough, try to press the thread back into and through the material to the other side. You may need a sewing needle to pull the loop back through, which you can get at your local craft store. In the case of a run, tie a small knot in the thread once you have brought it to the other side of the fabric. 🧵

Tears or Holes

Many Indian women use safety pins to style their silk sari skirts, and this is likely the cause of smaller holes in the fabric. If you have a tear or hole in the recycled silk fabric you can either leave it to tell its story, sew it back together with a needle and thread, or patch it with some of your favorite fabric to add to the unique colorway of the curtain. In the case of a large hole, you can use an iron-on or sew-on patch. Sometimes you will find patches or sequins used to cover up imperfections on the curtains. These beauty marks are signs of the fabric’s past lives and the women that mended them. 

f you have a tear or hole in the recycled silk fabric you can either leave it to tell its story, sew it back together with a needle and thread, or patch it with some of your favorite fabric to add to the unique colorway of the curtain. 

In the case of a large hole, you can use an iron-on or sew-on patch. Sometimes you will find patches or sequins used to cover up imperfections on the curtains. These beauty marks are signs of the fabric’s past lives and the women that mended them. 

Some examples of patches and embroidery used to fix curtains.

Discolorations & Marks

Whether it was a spilled chai in Jaipur, a seamstress’ pen mark, the faint gummy remnants of a sticker, your spilled morning coffee, or that sharpie that your youngest found, stuff happens.Fortunately, you can remove discolorations or stains with an easy, silk-friendly DIY stain remover. Take two tablespoons of white vinegar and mix with lukewarm water. Gently apply the solution to the stain by dabbing it starting on the sides and moving to the center. Please don’t rub aggressively. Repeat this process and add a half tablespoon of baking soda if this doesn’t work.In the case of a pen, sharpie, or sticker mark, wet a cloth with rubbing alcohol and dab around the mark and then on it. 

Fortunately, you can remove discolorations or stains with an easy, silk-friendly DIY stain remover. Take two tablespoons of white vinegar and mix with lukewarm water. Gently apply the solution to the stain by dabbing it starting on the sides and moving to the center. Please don’t rub aggressively. Repeat this process and add a half tablespoon of baking soda if this doesn’t work.

In the case of a pen, sharpie, or sticker mark, wet a cloth with rubbing alcohol and dab around the mark and then on it. 

Washing and Care

Due to the handmade nature of this textile, we suggest that you hand wash it with a gentle detergent and hang to dry. For a natural, DIY silk-friendly washing liquid you can use baking soda and white vinegar.

These are just a few tips and tricks to repair and care for your recycled silk curtains. If you have any further suggestions or photos of your repairs please share them in the comments!

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