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washing vs dry clean for rayon and wool fabric
angeleyes88
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angeleyes88
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Date: 1/27/12 3:18 PM

I am planning on making a few dress pants and jackets for myself in the next couple of weeks but have never used woven 100% wool or 100% woven rayon before. I typically prewash all of my fabric. I don't send my colthes out to be dry cleaned I have 3 kids all 3 and under. Is there an alternative to dry cleaning and what would you suggest? pretreat?

tia

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http://sewchicmama.blogspot.com

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Date: 1/27/12 3:29 PM

Back in the '90s, I wore a *ton* of rayon, and I washed and dried it all (typically rudely, in college dorm laundry facilities!). Be aware that rayon can shrink--and sometimes it can shrink A LOT. But otherwise, it handles the wash just fine. If it were my yardage, I'd probably throw it in the wash on warm/delicate and a medium dry, a little bit harsher than I'd typically wash the finished garments.

You'll want to do a test wash of the wool and see if the agitation from the washing machine will felt it (you don't want that). Some worsteds will go through wash after wash and not felt up or shrink at all... but a lot of woolens won't, and you can't really guess just by looking. So I'd cut a sample (6"x6" or so--measure it) and see what happens in the wash cycle you'd like to use.

------
~Gem in the prairie

allycovey
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allycovey  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/27/12 3:34 PM

I use dryell in my dryer for my wools, or sometimes I will wash them cold and gentle and let them hang dry. I have a wool settign on my front loading washer DH got me a couple years ago. It has yet to ruin anything.

NancyZL
NancyZL  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/27/12 3:56 PM

When I worked for a textile company that made menswear wool fabric I was told that Americans typically dry clean things too much. He advised brushing good wools with a cloths brush & spot cleaning them if necessary. A good wool is naturally stain resistant to begin with .
Also, don't know if it's still made but there used to be a "made to be washed" wool. I have a shirt jacket from such fabric that's held up.
Can't remember the mfg.
-- Edited on 1/27/12 3:57 PM --

tigergirl
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tigergirl  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/27/12 4:47 PM

Definately just wash the rayon in the machine. I've never owned a dryer (not too uncommon here in Queensland), everything gets hung to dry and if you shake it out before you hang it, your rayon will dry nice and smooth, no need to iron. Do be careful how you hang it though - it can and will stretch, especially when it's wet.

As for wool ......... I'll leave that to the more experienced voices.

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Brother BM-2600
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lareine
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lareine  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/27/12 5:53 PM

I wash rayon and wool fabric in the machine, on the same generic setting that I use for everything else, and dry it in the tumble dryer. I know that at some point the garment will get machine washed and dried, so I'd rather deal with shrinking or dye runs before cutting into the fabric at all.

ChickenFreak
ChickenFreak
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Date: 1/27/12 8:08 PM

I've always washed rayon and things like silk crepe - delicate and barely dry for garments, but normal wash and normal dry for pretreating in case I make a mistake sometime for a garment.

I used to dry clean wool; since I started sewing again I've been pretreating all my wool (so far, all wool crepe or similar lightweight wool) on the wool cycle in my machine, and it's all been fine. I can't tell you how the garments are going to deal with being washed, because I haven't made any yet.

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ChickenFreak
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diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/28/12 2:56 PM

There's no problem washing rayon, it 's a fiber that's stronger when wet. I also dry it, then the wrinkles come out. You might run it through twice, rayon can have residual shrinkage.

------
My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

hazelnut
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hazelnut  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/28/12 4:29 PM

I have no experience with wool, but I wash and dry (in machines) my rayon fabrics 3 times for the residual shrinkage. How I decide to wash & dry depends on the quality, whether it has any lycra in it, and what I *think* I might use it for. Everyday stuff gets hot wash & hot dry or warm/hot, nicer fabrics or those with lycra get gentle/warm wash & warm dry.

clothingengineer
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In reply to angeleyes88
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Date: 2/10/12 4:19 PM

I handwash all of my wools using Eucalan. I soak the fabric, gently squeezing it, then gently squeeze out as much water as possible and drape it over a clothes drying rack to air dry. Sometimes it seems like the fabric is rougher when dry but it always has relaxed for me when steam pressed. I've never used a dry cleaner and just handwash all my wool garments, even a thick wool melton coat (which I'm sure would horrify some PR members). Everything has come out fine. The key is to be gentle, have a good steam generator iron to press with, and not do it very often. Once a season is good enough. I prefer to sew most of my fall/winter work pants and skirts out of wool because unlike khakis they can go forever between washings and as a result don't need to be pressed very often. If you notice any body odors in the meantime you can usually spot treat them using watered down rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Wearing shirts with sleeves underneath your jackets and some sort of separate liner in your pants will really cut down on this though.

Sock Dreams has a great blog post on how to handwash socks that could also be applied to regular wool garments.

I've found that wool gabardine and flannel are the easiest to handwash.

------
-- Anne
clothingengineer.com

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