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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > Preshrinking large quantity of linen blend and cottons ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Preshrinking large quantity of linen blend and cottons
cjoakley
cjoakley
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Date: 2/1/13 4:26 PM

Hi,

I've read the threads on washing/drying small pieces of these types of fabric.

Does anyone have suggestions for preshrinking yardage?

I'd prefer not to cut first and waste fabric.

Thanks for your help.

Christine

Elona
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Date: 2/1/13 4:56 PM

With woven fabrics, I always serge the cut edges of lengths under 2 yards. If it's over 2 yards, I serge the raw edges together to keep the wrapping and twisting in the washer/dryer under control.

I've never washed lengths greater than four yards, though. If I were to do so, I think I'd probably cut them into workable lengths first.

With linen and denim, I wash them twice in hot water and fully machine dry them before cutting. This is the only time in their lives they will be subjected to high heat (at least on purpose), but it does protect against accidental shrinkage.

KathySews
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Date: 2/1/13 4:58 PM

I serge the ends of yardage also. Never thought of serging the edged together on longer pieces. That is a great tip

cjoakley
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Date: 2/1/13 5:17 PM

Elona - thanks so much for the tip - I never thought of serging the edges together to prevent warping...what a fantastic idea.

You're probably right that trying to wash/dry a length like 10 yards is impractical to say the least so I guess I'll have to cut first and risk losing a few inches of fabric.

Thanks too for the high heat info - the usual advice is not to use high heat but what you say makes sense to me...I would not have thought to risk it with 100% linen but I'm going to do it anyway.

I'm making cushions with zippers so want to make sure that when a customer washes the cover it will not warp and shrink...let's hope the zipper is preshrunk!!

Kathy thanks for chiming in with your confirmation...

Oh dear - now I have another small problem...no serger!

Hopefully tacking the edges together on my sewing machine will do the trick...

Elona
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Date: 2/1/13 6:10 PM

For decades, I had no serger. Stitching the raw edges together using about a 1/4" seam allowance works just fine. You lose half an inch of fabric length with this, so no biggie. The exposed seam allowance will fray and curl (of course you can zigzag it, too), but I just cut it off when I'm ready to get to work.

Pure linen is extremely durable and though it may shrink, just gets softer and nicer with hot water and general abuse.

About the zippers, unless there is some warning to avoid it, you can wet them to preshrink their tapes, too.

cjoakley
cjoakley
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Date: 2/1/13 6:21 PM

thanks so much for all the great information Elona - really appreciate your taking the time to respond in such depth.

Cheers!

nicegirl
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Date: 2/1/13 6:57 PM

I recently bought 10 yards of cotton batiste. I have tried several methods of prewashing long lengths of this soft fabric, but generally end up setting massive wrinkles in. This time I folded the fabric in half along the selvage and then over itself until it was about 4 feet long. Then I washed it by swirling it flat in the bathtub. I draped it over the shower rod to air dry.

I put virtually no clothes in the drier so I didn't need the intense pre-shrink of a heated dry.

The fabric was still wrinkled of course, but it was not the set-in pleats that I got by machine washing. Tedious, but worth it.

This kind of babying probably isn't necessary for a sturdier/thicker fabric, though.

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2007: purchased 115+, sewed 105+
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VivianZ

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Date: 2/2/13 9:44 AM

I prewashed over 10 yards of fabric when I was making curtains once. I went to a public laundromat where they have over sized washers.

Pj3g
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Date: 2/2/13 9:48 AM

I prewashed a 15 yard piece of knit fabric by folding/laying it on top of itself into about 5 foot lengths. I think there were about 8 layers of fabric when done laying it out on the floor. The selvedges were lined up and I sewed those together with a long basting stitch. Threw the whole thing in the washer and dryer a couple times. During the drying cycles I was able to turn the layers inside out. It was bulky but worked fine. When done I pulled out the basting stitches.

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Thank you Lord for my Mother who taught me the joy of sewing, for my Father who encouraged my sewing, for the talent You gave me to sew, and for all the special people in my life to sew for.

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Date: 2/2/13 12:09 PM

Great idea!

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