Silk Steaming

A customer once sent me a tallit her daughter had painted with silk dyes.  She forgot to tell me that the silk had not been steamed which is critical for setting the colors and prevent bleeding.  So after all my additional embroidery work was completed, I lightly sprayed the silk with a water mist in preparation for ironing, and boy was I shocked.  The beautiful water flowing from the vessel she had painted on the back began to run and the colors were bleeding into the adjacent areas.  That tallit had to be repainted!

Purchasing a steam boiler was not an option.  They sell for upwards of $750 and not in my budget.  So I went online to find directions for building a home-made steamer and there were quite a few artists who shared their methods.  Here is the one I built from galvanized piping:

The silk is carefully wrapped in layers of white newsprint paper and then put into an unbleached muslin sleeve.  Then it is suspended over boiling water in a steam chamber.  The process takes 2-3 hours and must be carefully monitored so the water doesn’t evaporate.  Silk steaming is available for an additional charge of $30.