Saturday, August 31, 2013

A prewashing experiment

I know there are still MANY of us who prewash all our fabrics - for various and sundry reasons.  For me, the main reason is an allergy to at least one of the chemicals used to process fabrics, as well as getting excess dye out of the fabric.

Those of you who are prewashers - I'm sure you hate the stringy mess and twisted together fabrics that come out of the washer as much as I do.  I was hoping having a front loader would solve that problem - it didn't.  Supposedly cutting off the corners works - it doesn't.

So, I'm trying a little experiment.  I always pinked the seams of most of the garments I made when I sewed clothing to prevent seams from ravelling.  (For you younger folks, we used "pinking shears", which cut a sawtooth edge instead of a straight edge, were very expensive and almost impossible to sharpen.)  So I stopped by JoAnn's after my morning Starbucks and bought a "pinking blade" for my rotary cutter.  I used it to cut my 11 yards of "Baltimore Autumn" background fabric into manageable pieces before washing.

Here are the results. Next to no strings.  No tangles.  No knots.  Of course, this was just three large pieces of fabric.


Now I'm pinking the edges of a bunch of fat quarters.  With raw edges on both the crosswise and lengthwise grain, they will be the true test.  I have my fingers crossed.

5 comments:

Sewing Junkie said...

I run a line of zig zag stitching along all raw edges before washing. I made the right hand part of the stitch run off the outside edge. I have done it with flannel, corduroy, woven fabrics and all fat quarters. I cuts down on the fraying and lint on your other pieces. Chris

l carolyn Ghearing said...

Works for me!

Kigwit said...

I'll be interested to hear how your experiment goes with the FQs. I actually keep a pair of scissors on the dryer so I can snip all those tangles off before putting in the dryer. I really hate losing fabric to the tangles!

Teresa Wong said...

this is interesting... and also the comment about the zig zag stitch. I will try both. Those strings are such a pain... and worse it seems when you just have a small batch.

Beth Karese said...

I use a wavy blade in my rotary cutter. I don't remember where I picked up the tip, but it works quite well. I recently felt lazy with a bunch of new fabric that needed washing and ended up spending lots of "quality time" snipping the tangled mess of threads!