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Crazy Amount of shrinkage on knit fabric!
TinaLea
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TinaLea  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/28/13 11:34 AM

(I posted this on the fabric fast section, but figured this is maybe a more appropriate place for it, thanks in advance fo any feedback!)

OK, I'm a sucker for a great knit.....and it caused me to fall off the fabric fast wagon (which my boys reminded me of when I walked into the house with fabric!)

I have a lightweight knit cardigan that I wore so much it is completely pilled up, and now hanging in my spare closet with a note that says "Don't toss - make pattern from sweater". I LOVED that sweater! Anyways, I was at Hancock yesterday looking for Marine vinyl to patch a boat seat, and somehow ended up in the fabric section

I found the perfect drapey knit to remake my sweater, for only $5.95 a yard. Purchased the rest of the bolt, 102" of what is labeled as 50% poly, 50% cotton designer knit "Ella". Instructions said machine wash cold, gentle cycle, line dry. I machine washed cold, gentle cycle, dryed on the knit setting on my dryer (low heat). The darned piece of fabric shrunk 17"!!! Has anyone else had this experience? Could low dryer heat truly shrink that piece of fabric over 15% in length???

Thinking maybe I should wash it a second time to see if it happens again, before sewing it up? Would love to know others experience with this knit blend!

a7yrstitch
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Date: 8/28/13 12:03 PM

I don't have experience with your fabric.

I've read enough about progressive shrinkage on PR to have made me a total believer. Progressive shrinkage combined with our summer problems of extremely hot 'cold water' caused me to rethink my prewash approach. Now I triple prewash.

Some fabrics get a fourth prewash and are started in a preshrink bath in the sink. I've also been tracking some fabrics by measuring and weighing before and after each prewash segment.

I started weighing fabric after seeing all the lint from a piece of linen. Most of my fabric purchases are online. I'm tracking quality and performance as part of the value consideration. If a high percentage of the fabric washes away as lint or shrinks away it has to be considered in the overall price - as does all this prewashing! I've seriously looked at our hot concrete driveway and thought of laying some fabric on the driveway and hosing it down and letting it sizzle for preshrink round one. (But then I think back to the potatoes in the dishwasher and think, maybe not.)

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Michelle T

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Date: 8/28/13 12:39 PM

Knits are often wound on the bolt with tension. Think of an elastic band, if you pull it it gets more narrow, when you release, it is shorted and wider. Often when a knit is washed the tension releases and the fabric is wider and shorter after washing.

I always wash fabric roughly, hot water, fast agitation, hot dryer etc. I do not wash my clothes that way, but sometimes dh or the kids do laundry and I want the fabric to have been treated as roughly as possible before I sew.

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Proud parent of a Dwight International School Honour Roll Student

TinaLea
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Date: 8/28/13 1:35 PM

Michelle- you don't know it, but you just answered another question as well! When I was buying the knit it looked a little narrow, the lady measured the width and said it was 52", so I bought the extra 1/2 yard left on the bolt. After washing, I measured the width against the width of the 2" piece I cut off to true the grain, and it was now 6" wider and 15" shorter!

I think this was probably tension shrinkage like you describe. I just washed it a second time (cold water) and dried it again on low. The fabric is still 85" long, so I think I'm good to go. I have sewn for 30 years, and had never considered "tension shrinkage" like you described, but I think that is exactly what happened!

Janie Viers
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Date: 8/28/13 4:04 PM

If you feel the fabric is wouind too tight on the bolt, the next time you go to that store go to the bolt first, unroll the amount you want, proceed to complete your looking and then measure when tey cut. I have found some fabric on end bolts that were 45 inches wide folded on 58 inch boards. This is still cheaper than the 45 inches of 60"wide folded wrong and they tried to charge me for 1-3/4 yards instead of 1-1/4!
-- Edited on 8/28/13 4:05 PM --

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JanieV

cocosloft
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Date: 8/29/13 6:39 AM

Ah, the quirks of knits :-) After my first bit loss of length, I started buying 20% more than my pattern requires.

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Coco

Andi
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Date: 8/29/13 8:31 AM

Also some fabrics have sizing on/in them too, which will react like the tension problem.

Dianne22
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Date: 8/29/13 10:43 AM

"somehow ended up in the fabric section"
Hum, I wonder how that happened!

Shari Adams

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Date: 8/29/13 11:44 AM

My routine is to wash and dry, then measure. Then I keep washing and drying and measuring until I get the same measurement twice in a row.

SandiMacD
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Date: 8/30/13 4:37 AM

Tension shrinkage. So this explains why I feel shortchanged at times after getting stuff in mail or coming home and remeasuring.
I am going to be on of those "unroll emough and keep shopping" folks.

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