Thursday, January 20, 2011

Washing Yardage

Let me begin my stating that this was NOT my idea......I read, or heard of this method for pre-washing yardage some time ago. I wish I could remember where because I would love to give them credit. This little time saving trick worked so well for me I had to pass it along.

I had a piece of fabric just over 9 metres long, needing to be pre-washed. You know what happens when you throw that full length of fabric into the end up with a big twisted mess that has to be unwound to then go into the dryer where it just twists up again so that by the time it is dry you have to spend a long time at the ironing board trying to get rid of all the wrinkling.
To avoid this, a little prep work is all you need. Here is what I did.
I opened the fabric up so that it was the full 45" long, serged the raw edges to prevent unraveling, and then began accordion folding in roughly 1m lengths along one selvage edge. I set my machine to a long stitch, used a contrasting thread in the bobbin and proceeded to stitch the selvage edges closed through all layers. ( Not sure if it was only supposed to be done at one end but I did this to both ends)
What went into the washer was a piece of fabric that measured about 45 x 40 inches and 9 layers thick. I checked it a couple of times during the wash cycle to make certain it stayed in that shape. When it came out of the dryer I unpicked the basting threads and left the piece draped over the ironing board still folded, to finish drying (the selvage area was still damp)

The only pressing I will need to do is what I would generally when beginning any project. You can bet I'll be using this method to pre-wash my fabrics in the future


Melissa said...

Oh, great tip! Thank you! I am definitely going to link to this post in my next post!!

Pat said...

You don't need to fold the fabric. Just serge the 2 raw edges together and wash and dry. Comes out a little wrinkled but no twisting. Just a big circle of fabric. I iron and leave it serged together so I will know what has been pre washed.
Love your blog and art. You are very creative.

Kim said...

Have you found you really need to prewash?
I stopped this practice years ago and have never looked back with regret.

Happy Sewing

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Oh my.....I wish I would have known this when I was doing the 12 yards of linen for the church hangings! It was a NIGHTMARE!!!
A great idea to file away~~thanks!


Debbie said...

I think this is a great tip, especially for more than 2 yards. I will pass it on for sure. And I always disaster in a life time was enough.

Robbie said...

Very interesting technique or tip! Hmmmm You're right..those buggers always end up being harder to iron than hubby's shirts! Thanks for the info!

Jackie said...

Hey! Imagine my surprise when a lady in our guild passed out a pattern to make for CQA table toppers, the cutest little leaf bowl.... and there was your name at the top! My you are a busy lady!

Joan said...

Thats food for thought - I have 2 metres of burgundy sateen and 3 meters of white sateen...sitting looking at me - its 118" in width...I hate the thought of the washing. I may try that method - thanks Jill

Clare Wassermann said...

Thankyou - brilliant tip!

Sherri said...

Hmmm, I don't suppose your yardage is being prepped for the same reason mine will be when it gets here? :D

I am a pre-washer. I like getting chemicals out of materials and double checking that they don't bleed. I have a cute pink tree skirt that reminds me why, every Christmas! It was a white print with holly leaves and little red berries. The berries bled!!! lol

The only other things that have bled are some of the hand dyed fabrics I have gotten at quilt shows.

Oh, and I DO make one exception...I never pre-wash flannel. I also never use red flannel. hahahaha

nealstreetmichele said...

You have saved my 8 yards of vintage yellow fabric! I was dreading the big twist and the ironing job. Thank you, thank you thank you!

Sewbeit said...

Using this great tip (thank you!), I was sewing 4 metres of heavy interlock cotton and it was so thick I broke 2 needles. I thought it would be hard to pull the threads out later so only sewed about a dozen stitches then lifted the pressure foot and pulled forward about 8 inches and sewed a dozen stitches again, repeating to the end of the seam. I snipped the long strands in the middle so I would still have something to hold onto when pulling out after washing/drying. Hope this helps someone else.

Copyright Jill Buckley