Oliver + S

Preparing Fabric

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    Loralee @Loralee

    I’m curious what others do to prepare your fabric prior to sewing. In addition to washing and ironing fabric, do you do anything else such as zigzag the edges or take pinking shears to the edges? How do you prevent ‘the fray?’ Give me/us some tips. 🙂

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    Emily @Emily

    I use a pinking blade on a rotary cutter before I wash it, then I pull it out of the machine as soon as it’s done drying and I shake out the wrinkles and fold it neatly. If it’s especially wrinkled I iron it, but usually it’s not necessary.

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    janimal @janimal

    I usually don’t iron until right before I am ready to cut. I wash and dry in the same way I will wash and dry the final garment. When I am not lazy I pink the sides first to cut down on stragglers, but mostly I just throw it in!

    Before cutting, I straighten up the fabric to the grain thanks to a tip from Cynthia Guffey. I fold the fabric selvedge to selvedge and make sure it all lines up. If it’s not exactly right, I pull on the fabric at the corners and stretch it a bit until it is. I hope that explanation makes sense. It is really a step that has changed my sewing. When I have taken care to make sure the grains are lined up correctly, pattern pieces line up when I do this! I tend to use cheaper cuts of fabric for lining, and they tend to go off grain a bit.

    For knits, I have sprayed cut pieces a bit with starch and ironed, and that has made them a bit easier to work with. BUT, you have to be careful ironing that you don’t stretch the fabric.

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    sayiamyou @maraya

    I just clip the 4 ends of my fabric before washing to prevent the fraying. Is that what you do with the pinking or do you pink down an entire edge? I do the same with wovens or knits. I generally don’t iron until I’m ready to use; I just fold and put away until then.

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    sahmcolorado @sahmcolorado

    I used to zig zag the cut ends but now I use pinking shears before washing. May have to get a pinking blade for my rotary cutter!

    I wash the fabric the same way that the garment will be washed – usually about 5-10F hotter just to be sure 🙂

    If it’s a quality fabric, I just smooth and fold it right out of the dryer. Cheaper fabrics (like from JoAnn) are often so wrinkly out of the dryer that I have to take them out damp and iron them before folding. Then I always iron thoroughly right before cutting.

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