Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tangled: I need your 2 cents!

I rarely pre-wash my fabric. EXCEPT for when I'm making something (non-quilt) that will be washed ALOT, often, and all the time. Like hand towels, and pot holders, grocery bags and drool bibs, etc. I'll be making the above items in bulk for an upcoming craft show so I proceeded to throw half a dozen cuts of fabric into the laundry.
And it came out in a single ball, and tangled to boot.
HELP!

Is there really a way to prevent all the strings from coming loose from the fabrics in the first place?
I've tried pinking each corner by 1/2" - didn't work.
Wash each one separately? Too time consuming and wasteful (water, energy etc.)

After 30 minutes of careful scissor work I untangled the mess and had enough loose strings to weave a whole other FQ of fabric. Help! I'm open to ANY suggestions on how to prevent this from happening later this week when I wash another load of fabrics.


Maybe I'll just start washing ALL fabrics when they enter my house so they're ready to go no matter what project I'm working on... naaaah - thats never going to happen! haha

30 comments:

Charlotte said...

oh no! maybe putting each piece into a separate mesh bag (like you wash lingerie in) could help? Good luck!

Kati said...

I serge the edges before throwing them in. It takes longer, but it worth it in the end. If you don't have a serger, you could try the same thing with a zig-zag along the edge.

Cynthia said...

I used to wash all my fabric but the good quality quilting fabric doesn't shrink enough to make a difference so I don't pre wash them anymore and life is so much easier :)

adnohr said...

I've noticed that the fabrics that fray are the ones that were badly cut, so I try to square up and trim off the fabric that will likely fray. I also have tried the corner clipping and that seems to work when it's not a selvedge to selvedge cut.

Domain said...

I agree with Kati - I serge the edges of any fabric that is likely to fray. If you don't have a serger, zig-zag stitch works just as well. It doesn't take long to zip those fabrics through the machine and is worth it to not end up with a pile of half damp crumpled fabric that needs to be snipped apart!

{april two eighty} said...

what about using pinking shears on the edges?

Emily said...

I serge all my edges before washing. If you don't have a serger, you can pink them with pinking shears.

Cille said...

I'm impressed you managed to un-tangle it :) Most times I just rinse the new fabric in water to ensure it doesn't run. But if I am using the mashine I wash it in a pillowcase - or duvet cover for bigger items like batting.

Jackie Russell said...

I pick the edges and use a hand wash setting on the washing machine.

Char said...

I never pre wash no matter what. If I was forced to, I'd use a laundry bag.

Jen said...

When I prewash I pink the cut edges all of the way across. I still get a few strings but they are much less than I used to get when I didn't pink the edges. I only prewash fabric if I'm using it in a garment -- I don't want to risk having it shrink unevenly and then end up wonky or weird (and unwearable.)

Erin @ Why Not Sew? Quilts said...

I do pre wash everything, even charm packs and layer cakes ( sizing sensitivity). I use the gentle cycle and don't seem to have as much tangled fabric as when i used the regular cycle. pinking the corners never worked for me either. I have heard tearing the edges helps but I can't bring my self to do it. Serging sounds like a good idea.

The Junk-It Folk said...

I, too, would recommend the lingerie bag approach. Also, washing on extra gentle cycle could help (less agitation the better!) If you wanted to forgo the machine entirely, just soak the whole pile in a laundry tub or bucket, gently squeeze the fabric (never wring) and rinse thoroughly. Hope this helps!

Nichole said...

i have heard that pinking the edges, not just the corners, helps. another option is to zig zag the edges before you wash. i have never tried either of these, but it is what i have heard that helps.

since i am lazy, i just throw them in the wash and then as i am transferring the cuts to the dryer i ensure they are all detangled and the loose threads are snipped off. with this way, instead of having one giant ball of knots after drying, there are two much more manageable detangling sessions. i think overall there is less fabric (and time) waste. good luck!

bricolo-chic said...

so I'm not the only one... welcome into the club!

Laurel H. said...

Another suggestion that I have not yet seen here, is to clip the corner of each piece of fabric. I am told it helps.

Jennifer said...

This is exactly why I do not prewash... it always turns out a mess for me too! I had luck once with pinking all the edges, but I was trying to cut very close to the edge so I didn't waste any fabric, and that was a pain to do. I have cheapo pinking shears too, which I'm sure didn't help ;) I read through all these suggestions though... so let us know what you do, and how it turns out! Maybe if you have good results I'll have the nerve to try it again myself :)

Jen B said...

Another vote for serging or zigzagging or some other way overstitching the ends.

Kell said...

Like a couple of others mentioned when I need to prewash I use lingerie bags. That way I just put the smaller pieces in the bags and leave the larger pieces out. And when I throw it in the dryer I try and cut the strings then. Hope this helps. :)

natalie. beyond the reef said...

Read Harriet Hargrave's book.

Kristy said...

I do a quick zig zag stitch along the cut edges.

Jennifer said...

I don't pre-wash. I make clothes using good quality quilters cotton and i have never had a problem with shrinkage.

Kris said...

I've heard that putting fabric in with a load of towels keeps them from tangling, but I've never tried it myself...

Paul said...

I didn't read all 23 previous comments, so someone may have mentioned this, but I put mine in a pillow case.

I use a cheap pillow case, not a high thread count good quality cotton pillow case, the $1.99 variety works just fine. If you have colors that might bleed, toss a color catcher or two into the bag with the fabric.

Good Luck.
Paul
www.OutnumberedQuilter.com

ircabbit said...

My method is the laziest one of all but it actually works really well.

I wash my fabric in a load of normal wash (with like... dirty clothes). No tangled ball, no more. If I have to wash a lot of fabric I put in less clothes but I try to make sure there is at least a pair of jeans or something heavy in there.

Natalie said...

cut the raw edges with pinking sheers, put on the delicate cycle, or live with it and knit something from the strings :)

Flaun said...

I never prewash, since most fabrics now are really colorsafe. I do, however, toss a Shout Color Catcher or three into the washer with my finished project. Never had any problems with color running when I use one of those.

Ericrazy said...

I've heard of serving or zigzagging the raw edges before tossing in the washer. I haven't tried it but it seems like it would work.

Kitt said...

I've been handwashing my fabric as I was terrified that this would happen and thankfully so far I've avoided it.

LuLu said...

I'll throw my fabric in with clothes that are like colors. You still get a bit of strings but it's not all tangled and crazy.