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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > 'pre-shrinking' wool ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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'pre-shrinking' wool
melanie9313
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melanie9313  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/16/06 10:17 PM

I recently purchased several lengths of 100% wool fabric to make some pants. I read in a book that I needed to have this fabric 'pre-shrunk' by the dry cleaners prior to cutting (makes sense). However, when I took it to the cleaners today and told them what I wanted them to do, the guy looked at me like I was crazy! Now, it may have been because it was 102 degrees outside at the time and here I come with a stack of wool fabric, but he had never heard of such a thing.
Am I way off base here?
Melanie

Elona
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Date: 8/16/06 10:54 PM

No, you're not off-base. When I need to shrink wool, I put towels out all over the spare bed, and lay my wool out, single thickness, gently folding up any ends that hang over the edge of the bed. Then, I get out my trusty steam iron and do a burst-of-steam thing over the entire surface, holding the iron an inch or so away from the fabric. If there's excess fabric folded on the edge of the bed, I wait until the main portion is dry before steaming it. And, of course, I let the fabric sit there flat until it's completely dry before moving it anywhere else.

Peggy L
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In reply to melanie9313


Date: 8/16/06 11:32 PM

Be careful! I sent a piece of wool and a piece of silk to be "shrunk" and they came back with creases pressed in.

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www.thereisjoyadventures.blogspot.com

bunz
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bunz
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Date: 8/17/06 6:29 AM

Elona's got the right idea. The other possibility is if there's a dry cleaner who does it by the pound (not many of those around any more, it seems). Otherwise, it's too expensive, which is why we end up w the tedious towels on the bed routine!!:-)

Nina

Sew'n'go
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Subject: pre-shrinking wool Date: 8/17/06 7:44 AM

Has anyone tried the method that uses a freshly washed sheet to roll up the wool (thus getting it uniformly dampened), then steaming it?

Recently I heard Sandra Betzina emphasize that wool crepe MUST be preshrunk at the dry cleaners, preferably including the cleaning, before cutting out your pattern, otherwise the finished garment will shrink one whole size the first time it is cleaned. She said steam shrinking doesn't do the job.

Tory

Tere Sews

Tere Sews
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Subject: pre-shrinking wool Date: 8/17/06 8:15 AM

For wool crepe, try washing it in the washing machine with cold water (no agitation) and then dry it in the dryer. I know this sounds scary but it works. After sewing, I dry clean the garment.

Sewliz
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Date: 8/17/06 8:32 AM

How about the old fashioned method of laying out the fabric outside and letting the morning dew moisten it and the warm drying day shrink it?

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Liz

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mamafitz
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In reply to Sew'n'go


Date: 8/17/06 8:39 AM

Quote: Sew'n'go
Has anyone tried the method that uses a freshly washed sheet to roll up the wool (thus getting it uniformly dampened), then steaming it?

i do that (it's called a London Shrink). i get the sheet wet in the washer and spin it so it's damp. then roll up the wool yardage in the sheet, and let it sit for a while so the whole piece gets damp. then i hang it to dry. then i steam it. it's worked well for me.

------
Linda

Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves, and of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys, they’d just walk around naked at all times.
-- Betsey Johnson


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Sew'n'go
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In reply to Sewliz


Date: 8/17/06 10:45 AM

Quote: Sewliz
How about the old fashioned method of laying out the fabric outside and letting the morning dew moisten it and the warm drying day shrink it?

Sewliz, that sounds so romantic. What a lovely, low energy (personal and commercial) way to shrink wool.

Tory
tlmck3
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tlmck3
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In reply to Tere Sews


Date: 8/17/06 1:35 PM

I actually wash most wool in the machine, on delicate and then reblock it flat and hang it over the shower rod or one of those old-fashioned wooden dowel drying racks to air dry. If it's a really long piece, I cut it into shorter lengths, so it doesn't stretch out of shape so much as it dries. I rearrange it, carefully every so often so that it dries evenly without stretching out of shape. If I'm being REALLY careful, I press it (on the dining room table, not the ironing board) while it is still slightly damp.

I actually started doing this because I buy a lot of yardage at thrift stores and I wanted to get rid of that "thrift store smell." It worked so well, I do it all the time now. I may be weird, but I love the fresh smell of freshly laundered wool. (if you buy thrift store yardage, this also reveals any teeny tiny moth holes that steam shrinking might temporarily conceal.)

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I am going for a level of perfection that is only mine... Most of the pleasure is in getting that last little piece perfect...Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just keep showing up and doing the work.

Chuck Close, painter, printmaker, photographer

Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage

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