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Thread: Help with Fabric Fraying?

  1. #1
    Super Member onaemtnest's Avatar
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    Help with Fabric Fraying?

    I'm making pillowcases for Christmas gifts out of Kaufman "Old Guy's Rule" really a fun fabric line. It is a challenge because it is fraying with even minimal handling, like from the cutting table to the sewing machine. I don't pre-wash my fabrics. Making the French seams is where those pesky tails have caused the most consternation.

    Why do some of the fabrics fray especially from respected fabric companies? I love Kaufman and Moda but have had this issue from time-to-time from respected 'brand named' fabrics?

    Would using a rotary 'pinking' blade change the cutting? I've been considering purchasing the pinking blade. Is fray check recommended for this? I would appreciate any suggestions. Especially since I'm invested in this line for 10 'Old' ;o) guys pillowcases within our family and friends.
    Smiles from Idaho,
    Onalee

    "What if you woke up today with only the things you had thanked God for yesterday?" ~ Michael Hyatt

  2. #2
    Super Member GingerK's Avatar
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    I would either pink the edges or zigzag/serge the first seam. I have a pinking blade and did not like using it. To me it was not a true pinking cut--more like a curvey cut. But I bought that blade probably 10 years ago. They may have changed since then. I think you could get a relatively inexpensive pair of pinking shears at Joann's or Walmart.

    I would definitely not use fray check because it could make the seam hard to the touch.
    Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down the their level and beat you with experience.

  3. #3
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    I would wash the fabric - because even some respected "brand named" fabric lines shrink - a lot!

    When I've made pillowcases, if I cut on the straight of grain, then I usually did not have too much fraying/raveling.

    Also, for pillowcases, I prefer using a French seam - if you make the first seam about 1/4 inch, and then the second seam about 3/8 inch, it's fairly easy to handle.

    Otherwise, overcasting or serging the raw edges works.

    My Grandma would leave the edges raw. My Mom would make French seams. They both lasted, but the raw edges got ravelly over the years as the pillowcases were washed

  4. #4
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    I agree with Bear about the prewashing. In addition to preshrinking, prewashing tightens up the weave of the fabric (because of the shrinkage) and results in less fraying. I have read a lot of comments here about Kaufman Kona fabrics fraying a lot and I use Kona quite bit and don't experience this but I am a die hard prewasher. Other fabrics that are known for fraying quite a bit are homespuns and flannels. Again, I don't experience issues with excessive fraying on these types of fabric and I really think that is due to prewashing. JMHO.

    Edited to add, since you have already started making the pillow cases and may not want to prewash at this stage you can use a clothing technique of zig zag stitching all your raw edges. This helps decrease the fray. Thankfully with pillow cases (assuming you are doing the burrito method) the cuts are large and won't be too much extra effort to zig zag your raw edges. If you have a serger you can serge the edges instead of French seaming them. But I definitely prefer doing a French seam when I make them.
    Last edited by feline fanatic; 11-10-2018 at 07:29 AM.

  5. #5
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I have better luck with the mid-priced fabrics.
    Another Phyllis
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  6. #6
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I think solids are a bigger culprit to ravel. Besides prewashing, you might try starching while you make them.

  7. #7
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    It stinks when fabric frays.

    I would probably draw a cutting line and sew a stay stitch right next to it. Then cut with pinking scissors. The other option is to iron on a line of steam a steam. Fold up the hem line and stitch. I use steam a seam in many home dec projects. It even comes in 1/4 inch width so not bulky in the seam line.

  8. #8
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    I use Elmer's washable kids school glue along the edge and let it dry. You can easily sew threw it. This is only a temporary fix while your working on your project. I still zig zag all my edge.
    Last edited by grandmahoney; 11-11-2018 at 04:59 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    I would wash the fabric - because even some respected "brand named" fabric lines shrink - a lot!

    When I've made pillowcases, if I cut on the straight of grain, then I usually did not have too much fraying/raveling.

    Also, for pillowcases, I prefer using a French seam - if you make the first seam about 1/4 inch, and then the second seam about 3/8 inch, it's fairly easy to handle.

    Otherwise, overcasting or serging the raw edges works.

    My Grandma would leave the edges raw. My Mom would make French seams. They both lasted, but the raw edges got ravelly over the years as the pillowcases were washed
    I agree, wash the fabric, you don't want it to shrink afterwards. You can either serge or overcast the edges before washing and even before doing the french seams. This will minimize the frays.
    Judy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingshorttimer View Post
    I think solids are a bigger culprit to ravel. Besides prewashing, you might try starching while you make them.
    I would do the starching. Make a large batch of Stay-Flo (at least 50-50 with water) in a bowl and immerse the entire piece of fabric into it. Move the fabric around until all of it has been dampened. Then hang to dry. After ironing, the fabric should fray a lot less.
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  11. #11
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    If you want to use something use Fray BLOCK rather than fray check. The Fray Block stays softer; no so stiff and hard.

  12. #12
    Super Member onaemtnest's Avatar
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    I sure appreciate all the suggestion, it is frustrating to make the French seams and be so careful then find those stray threads still the seam. Sewnclog, I'd never heard of Fray Block and will look for that too.

    The suggestions are so helpful and I appreciate all of the input from each and everyone of you.
    Smiles from Idaho,
    Onalee

    "What if you woke up today with only the things you had thanked God for yesterday?" ~ Michael Hyatt

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