HELP… anyone?

Jersey knits, stretch fabrics, t-shirt material, whatever you call it… I’m having a hard time working with it.  I always pre-wash my fabrics prior to cutting and sewing them up but the fabrics that I have just washed came out of the washing machine completely out of shape so I have dried them flat on my bed and then once dry, I’ve folded them and cut them as per the pattern.  One of the pieces ended up with Steam-a-seam on the right side of the fabric so I needed to wash it again (before sewing it all together) and after washing it I find that the piece is now so very distorted I feel like I shouldn’t waste my time continuing.

This fabric isn’t cheap fabric by any means either. I could accept it if it was only $2 per metre.  But no, I spent between $18 and $25 per metre on this one and it’s annoying me so much.

Does anyone have any suggestions?  Should I not be lying the fabric flat on my bed and stretching it back to shape, creating a “straight” grain that isn’t really straight at all?

Grrrrrrrr, time to take a break and clean the house again (have any of you noticed a pattern with me?) LOL

PS:  the fabric I am talking about right now is 95% Rayon and 5% Spandex.  I hope someone can enlighten me. Thanks, in advance! x


12 thoughts on “HELP… anyone?

  1. What sort of washer do you have? Is it a drum or agitator? I have a drum and do not have any issues with washing my ‘knits’. If yours is an agitator is it worth washing your fabric in an oversized mesh lingerie/laundry bag to prevent it stretching? Can you use gentler wash? How about soaking you faric in hot water in the sink and then just spinning it in the washer?

    I can only imagine the frustration though, expecially as you are using such expensive fabric. I have found the ‘Hiatchi” knits from to very durable – they wash and wear well and are only $7.05/m.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on!

  2. Hi, Carola! This won’t help cure the fabric distortion, but it might help you to cut what you have remaining so it’s not twisted up in your final garment:
    That’s a link from Sewaholic about how to find the grain on knit fabrics. Perhaps you might be able to salvage your current piece if you could work around the distortion by finding the grain as she describes.
    As far as future treatment goes, I would echo TwoToast. If you machine-wash rayon knits, use a mesh bag and wash only on delicate. I don’t try to stretch or block my rayon knits back into shape when air-drying, either, as I’ll be finding the “straight grain” when I cut (see Tasia’s post). I just lay out my washed fabric kind of “loosely”, so I don’t have it stretched in any fashion. When dry, I lightly press it before cutting.
    In my experience, it’s also best to hand-wash the finished garment and air-dry, as the darned rayon will continue to try and twist and distort. Rayon knits are SO soft & delicious, but it’s a bit of a diva type fabric! lol!
    I love your blog! :-)

    • Thanks Carole! I’ll go and check it out. I think i’m going to rewash the fabrics by hand this time and hope that I might be able to salvage them! Will have to go and fish them out of the bin though! haha

  3. I’ve just carried out the Sewing with Knits course and found it very valuable all round and by the end of the course I was ready to move onto more difficult items – but I don’t recall there being much about washing. I’ve found that my washer pulls most of the knit clothes out of shape, including RTW so they all go in those net lingerie bags. Seeing you should pre-wash in the same way as the final garment is going to be washed, I try to do the same with the fabric pieces. Small pieces go in the washing bags, larger pieces go inside a pillow case with the ends pinned closed. It stops them getting wrapped round and round in the washer and pulled as they spin. Then I hang over the bannister to dry so they don’t get overly stretched in the wind on the washing line.
    Sorry though, no advice on what to do if it all goes warped. I hope it works out, how annoying when expensive fabric misbehaves.

    • Thank you for your input. Yes, I have an agitator washing machine and I guess I never really thought about how rough that is on my clothes and fabrics. Like you, I prewash my fabrics in the same manner that I “plan” to wash the finished garment. I’ve now learnt that rayon does not like machine washers!! haha And I don’t like hand washing! Might need to rethink my fabrics in the future but for the point of the exercise I will hand wash my latest fabric and share the finished result with you. :)

  4. Rayon has a lot of stretch to it! Anything with that much Rayon, you’ll want to prewash, once or twice, then sew it up, and then let it hang for several days before hemming it up. I took an online class on craftsy about knits, and loved it! Very good information! Also, making sure you’re cutting on with the “grain” of the knit is important as well. It’s covered in the class, as well:)

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