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Message Board > Beginner's Forum > Preshrinking fabric ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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Preshrinking fabric
DorkyChic

DorkyChic
Beginner
MN
Member since 12/17/05
Posts: 98
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Date: 3/22/06 10:35 PM

I've never done a good job preshrinking fabric before using it, so I'd like to know what you do? I want to try serging the edges of the uncut fabric, tossing it in the washer/dryer, but am afraid that might really distort the fabric for cutting.

juliette2
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juliette2
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In reply to DorkyChic


Date: 3/23/06 0:00 AM

Preshrinking will not distort fabric. However, some fabrics are already distorted when they are sold -- preshrinking won't correct that.

It is very important to preshrink fabric before cutting. If you don't, the fabric might shrink the first time it is washed and your completed garment will be too small, or puckered and distorted. Also, some fabrics have chemical surface treatments that make the fabric look nice on the bolt but can cause skipped stitches; preshrinking will remove the treatment.

The rule of thumb is: preshrink the fabric the same way you plan to wash the completed garment. If you plan to wash the garment in hot water and dry in the dryer, preshrink the fabric the same way.

I always overlock or zigzag the edges of woven fabric before preshrinking. It's not necessary with knits because they don't fray.

Hope this helps!
Juliette

------
It's a custom-made designer original. I made it myself.

slanden99
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slanden99
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In reply to DorkyChic


Date: 3/23/06 0:02 AM

For fabrics that don't ravel (like knits), I don't do anything to the edges--just toss them in the washer. Of course, you you don't want the edges to curl, you could serge the edges.
For fabrics that ravel a little (like denim, shirtings, broadcloth), I pink the edges with my pinking shears. It doesn't distort the fabric at all and is pretty easy to do.
For fabrics that ravel a lot (like linen, stretch wovens, sheers), I use a zigzag stitch to finish the edges. Before I cut out my pattern, I need to cut off that zigzag stitch so the fabric will lay flat better.

Mary Stiefer
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Mary Stiefer  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/23/06 0:56 AM

In the case of 100% cotton you may want to wash and dry more than once. I have preshrunk fabric, made a blouse and the second time it is washed it shrinks again. So - I now wash and dry all fabrics twice.

------
What is Maxine saying??
"I don't iron. If I'm not wrinkle-free why should my clothes be."

Nata
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Nata
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Date: 3/23/06 1:16 PM

I preshrink everything. The method varies slightly depending on fiber content. If the fabric is wool or wool blend, I soak it in the bucket of very warm water. I add some Woolite or Eucalan to the water before submerging the fabric. I use water of around 110 degrees Fahrenheit its very warm, but not hot. I let it cool in the water, then wiggle it a little to wash of the fabric finishing, rinse if needed, put in the washer and spin dry. I then air dry it on the close line. High temperatures and agitation are the things to avoid with wool, or you might felt it.

For all other fibers, I put them though delicate cycle in my washing machine with small amount of regular laundry detergent on warm wash cold rinse setting. I dry them in the dryer when done washing.

I do not pink, or serge the edges. Fraying does no seem to be much of a problem unless the fabric is cut grossly off grain.

I might hand soak and air dry the special fabrics regardless of fiber contest, like hand painted silk shantung for example.

------
Fabric bought in 2009: 30 yds
Fabrc sewn in 2009: 19 yds
Fabric stash: 145 yds

3 Garments IN and 6 Garments OUT

slanden99
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slanden99
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Date: 3/23/06 2:39 PM

Just to make a point about how important preshrinking is: My husband's aunt made a burp cloth and a baby blanket when my second DD was born. Both items were made of 2 pieces of flannel and had a nice crotcheted border alond the edges. They were beautiful--until I washed them the first time. The flannel and the crotchet thread shrunk different amounts, so now both baby items look pretty awful. The flannel pieces are different lengths, and look pretty baggy with the distorted crotchet border. It could have been prevented by simply preshrinking before starting to sew.

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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Date: 3/23/06 2:44 PM

Flannel is another one of those fabrics that should be preshrunk several times. I preshrink all of my cottons and linens three times just to be safe.

DorkyChic

DorkyChic
Beginner
MN
Member since 12/17/05
Posts: 98
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In reply to Gigi Louis


Date: 3/23/06 10:12 PM

O_O wow thanks for your advice on the multi-preshrinking! I am about to work with a cotton linen and that's great advice to hear before starting!

Do you press your fabric after you take it out of the dryer? The cotton/poly quilting blend I used had a permanent wrinkle/hand change after I dried it...no amount of ironing got it out.

I've read in other places to simply soak the fabric in hot or cold water and let drip dry...now I know better! Thanks everyone!!

DorkyChic

DorkyChic
Beginner
MN
Member since 12/17/05
Posts: 98
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In reply to Nata


Date: 3/23/06 10:14 PM

I am planning on making a wool coat soon, and I could never find consistent information on how to preshrink wool! Some texts suggested taking it to the cleaners, others suggested running steam over it and letting it dry for a while...but I like your idea much better. Thanks for the sound advice!

P.S. Do you wash your woolens at home then?

Gigi Louis
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Gigi Louis
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In reply to DorkyChic


Date: 3/24/06 8:06 AM

I press the fabric just before cutting which is usually not right after it's come out of the dryer. I generally don't use poly/cotton blends so I can't imagine what happened to your fabric. If something comes out of the dryer looking not so good - which is rare - I just won't use it.

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