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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Rayon challis ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Rayon challis
DougieB
DougieB
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Date: 6/16/12 1:53 AM

I've sewn a lot but not for quite a while. Now I want to sew for
my working daughter. I have a nice piece of rayon for a blouse but don't know how to pretreat it. Wash? Just rinse carefully?
Dryer? Line dry? Spray starch? Iron? You can see that I need help! Thanks in advance.

PattyU
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PattyU
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Date: 6/16/12 8:53 AM

I love rayon challis. I've been washing and drying it a few times before sewing with it. It's worked out fine. Here is a post by Julie of Timmel Fabrics on how she pretreats challis, which is a bit different than I've done.

If the link doesn't work,here is what she says......

Quote:
I don't use hot water though, as most of my rayons are pretty colourful and I don't want to lose much colour. The secret is three white bath towels. I fill the washer and add detergent, agitate it, then add the rayon and the towels. Then I agitate just for a couple of minutes so that everything is wet and just leave it for at least half an hour or overnight The purpose of the towels is that they will let you know if the fabric bleeds and also they are necessary for the drying process. Then you spin out the water and rinse the fabric, no need to agitate the machine or put it through a wash cycle since you are just shrinking the fabric, not laundering it. Then pop everything into the dryer, towels are really important here. The towels take longer to dry and they keep the moisture in the dryer for a longer period of time which makes sure that the rayon is really shrunk. By itself, rayon dries too quickly and then it will shrink again the next time you wash and dry it.
The rayon comes out feeling very soft and almost wrinkle free and you are ready to sew it. This lady (Sharon from Arizona is all I know about her) also uses starch to make the rayon easier to sew. It then behaves like cotton, rather than slipping all over the place. If you use starch, then you just rinse the garment once it is finished.

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Patty

kath210
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In reply to DougieB <<
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Date: 6/16/12 1:20 PM

Generally, the bolt from which the fabric came has a code for treatment of the fabric.... I learned the hard way to make a note of that when I buy fabric now!

I'd hand wash or gentle wash on the machine in cool water and line dry just to be safe, though it could probably take low, gentle drying in the machine. It is especially easy on the fabric if taken out of the dryer (if you choose to use it) while still slightly damp.

Sherril Miller
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Date: 6/16/12 1:33 PM

I've found that Challis has a progressive shrink, meaning it will shrink for 2-3 washes. I wash it 2-3 times before I use it. My philosophy is that if I treat the fabric as I would the rest of my laundry and it doesn't turn out well, then I don't want to waste my time sewing it up only to ruin it in the wash later. All garments have to be husband-proof. What if he accidentally throws something that's supposed to be hand washed into the washer or something that's supposed to be air dried into the drier? Challis washes and dries beautifully, by the way, you can try just a 6" x 6" swatch in the washing machine to be sure, if you're hesitant about washing the entire piece.

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and if it's worth sewing well, it's worth FITTING FIRST! - TSL

kath210
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In reply to Sherril Miller <<


Date: 6/16/12 1:48 PM

Gret advice; I forgot that challis is usually part rayon, which is a natural fabric and might shrink. I like to get all possible shrinkage out because even I sometimes accidentally throw the wrong thing in the dryer...

Elona
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Date: 6/16/12 7:02 PM

I've used the stuff, and agree about washing and drying it several times to get as much of the shrinkage out as is reasonably possible. My challis get tossed in the washer and dryer; I don't have the time or inclination to baby most fabrics. They get treated the way the garment would under the worst circumstances (like if dh decided to do the laundry).

After that, I lay the challis (or whatever slippery but washable fabric) out nice and flat on a sheet on the patio, and I spray it with plain old Faultless Starch, covering it lightly but completely.

It will dry quickly, and after that--even without ironing, maybe especially without ironing--it behaves as if it were a sweet, well-tamed woven cotton, a joy to work with.

When the garment is complete, I wash and dry it on gentle cycles to remove the starch.

SecondHandRogue
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In reply to PattyU <<


Date: 6/21/12 11:35 PM

I just wanted to report back after trying Julie's method. I will admit that I didn't read carefully and used hot water to wash my new challis from hart's fabric. It may be very slightly faded, maybe, and the sheen and hand are different; not quite as shiny, crazy soft, seems like a more expensive product post-wash.

I serged the cut edges together to stop the unravelling, which might have been a mess had I skipped that step. Also, the wet towels were very heavy, I had to run the dryer for over two hours before everything was dry. I may wash and dry once more to be sure, but I believe I have the fabric shrunk! I'll do a final measure to see how many inches were lost.

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