Preparing fabric

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Preparing fabric

Postby lidimy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:44 pm

Hey....

I'm stuck and a little confused about what to do with my wool and linen before I start cutting out the pieces. I know that shift linen is meant to be washed before starting, which makes sense, but what about the wool top fabric and the linen lining to that? What needs to be pre-washed (to make it shrink) and what doesn't?

Annis said that, as the kirtle should never need to be submerged in water at any time, the wool doesn't need to be washed... but the linen lining still does :?
What if I just want to wash the bottom of the kirtle to get mud off? Would I still need to wash all of the wool before cutting?

Hope that makes sense. Thanks for your help!

Lid (:


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Postby Annis » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:47 pm

I didn't say the lining had to be, but I think i washed mine, but that because I get paranoid...


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Postby lidimy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:48 pm

Pshah, too late to say that now!


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Postby Tuppence » Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:54 pm

if the wool has a face (finished surface) don't wash it as it'll be lost.
generally you shouldn't wash wool anyway unless it's a washing wool or you're after a particular effect.

you don't wash wool to get mud off - you let it dry then brush it off - from a bad mud spattering stains will be left even after a hot wash anyway.

for body linens (or any linens that you want to be washable, pre wash it (I use a non bio, but that's cos I have customers with allergies), using a hot setting (do bear in mind that you might need to clean your washing machine filter afterwards). overlocking or zig-zagging the edges may be helpfult to help prevent fraying (or more accurately to reduce it).

if poss dry it on a line to reduce the creasing - and when you press it make sure you do so on the reverse (or pick a side and make it the reverse if you can't tell). pressing linen can leave shiny patches. it helps to press it while it's still a little damp, or using a water spray bottle.

as to the washing of lining linens - only really necessary if you plan to make the garment washable - and you'd need to wash the wool as well, so that both are pre-shrunk, and they don't end up shrinking at different rates.

personally, I tend not to bother washing linings if they're for me.


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Postby lidimy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:04 pm

Hmm, well, OK. So I don't really need to wash either?

I don't know whether my wool has a finished side... but it looks like it doesn't have a right or wrong side, so I guess not? It has a very light layer of fluff, but it hasn't got a fluffy side.

Thanks! :D


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Postby Annis » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:12 pm

I have a question to add.

Is it nescessary to wash linen before blackworking on it? For things like kerchiefs, pin cushions, and pretty book coverings...


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washing ...

Postby lucy the tudor » Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:20 pm

I don't know whether I should admit this here, but I wash everything on a cool wash in the machine, then for the linens- regardless of where I intend to wear them, I tumble dry on hot.
I just can't face the idea that anything could shrink and ruin all that sewing if I am out in a total downpour (or any person I have sewed for is soaked for any reason).
I have come round a corner at Kentwell to find someone hosing down my family, in particularly hot weather (out of the public eye, of course). I could find this funny, knowing their clothes were not going to shrink.
I also wash all our kit about once a season, regardless of authenticity, because I have needed to go from working with pigs at one event, to the dairy at the next, people really eat what we produce in the dairy...
It's horses for courses really Lidy, how wet are you going to get in your kit, will you be wading through Pig sh~t ?
If the answer is a definite "no", then worry ye not about shrinkage!
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Postby Karen Larsdatter » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:01 pm

Annis wrote:Is it nescessary to wash linen before blackworking on it? For things like kerchiefs, pin cushions, and pretty book coverings...

For a kerchief, yes. I'm unaware of any 16th century examples of blackworked pincushions or book-covers, but unless you foresee the need to wash them on a regular basis, pre-washing may not be necessary.



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Postby Annis » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:06 pm

Thanks Karen.

The cover isn't going to be completely blackworked, just the picture which will then be sewn onto a cover.


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Re: washing ...

Postby lidimy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:33 pm

lucy the tudor wrote:I don't know whether I should admit this here, but I wash everything on a cool wash in the machine, then for the linens- regardless of where I intend to wear them, I tumble dry on hot.
I just can't face the idea that anything could shrink and ruin all that sewing if I am out in a total downpour (or any person I have sewed for is soaked for any reason).
I have come round a corner at Kentwell to find someone hosing down my family, in particularly hot weather (out of the public eye, of course). I could find this funny, knowing their clothes were not going to shrink.
I also wash all our kit about once a season, regardless of authenticity, because I have needed to go from working with pigs at one event, to the dairy at the next, people really eat what we produce in the dairy...
It's horses for courses really Lidy, how wet are you going to get in your kit, will you be wading through Pig sh~t ?
If the answer is a definite "no", then worry ye not about shrinkage!
Lucy


I don't know... I wasn't intending to! :shock: And it's quite unlikely.
And if it is raining, I'd like to think that I'm languishing under an awning somewhere, considering the fate of all those daft people who haven't pre-shrunk their fabrics :roll: :lol:


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Postby ViscontesseD'Asbeau » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:09 am

Like Lucy, I wash it -n regardless of how it's fulled or finished. If you want to pre-shrink wool you just do the opposite of everything you're meant to do to stop it shrinking/felting - the things wool really hates are agitation (especially in detergent) and changes in temperature.

Conversely, to wash it once the cloth is made up, you can avoid further shrinking by handwashing in something like Woolite or Ecover Delicates paying attention to keeping temperatures level - so rinse at the same temp you wash. And once the detergent is in, don;t agitate too much. When I handspin wool, I maltreat it deliberately to pre-shrink and have never lost a hank of wool yet! (I don't agitate it, but drop it in very hot water then icy cold - if it's gonna shrink it will - then I use it).

It's minging not to wash stuff, I think and with kids simply impractical. Also, linens were changed more often than we think and therefore laundered more than outer layers - but that doesn't mean outer layers weren't washed. People who made fibres or fabric constantly as a rather boring chore of everyday life would be well aware how to pre-shrink, and then safely wash them. Fulling (how felted the nap/surface looks) shouldn't affect washability.

We now buy woollen cloth undyed and natural dye it ourselves - whether it's heavily finished and fulled cloth, or unfulled, it will do all the preshrinking it wants to in our dye-pots. So no reason to walk round for a season in minging clothes - we wash them every time we wear them, with no probs! If you've also pre-shrunk the linings, you should have no problems if you do a gentle handwash.

There's some great hard facts about washing wool in Alden Amos's 'Big Book of Handspinning' which your library may have. Alden's pronouncements apply to finished cloth as much as yarn.

Modern, heavily finished cloth may well have been treated so it's superwash anyway, or with various other chemicals for other purposes - to be honest, the fulling will wear off the cloth anyway, in time, even if you never washed it so no point in being a mucky pup. If my kdis and worser half never washed their stuff I'd burn it. :lol:



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Postby frances » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:10 am

I always pre-wash, whatever the fabric, unless it is an upper-class ball gown. Linen then flops a little and is nicer to wear as the sizing comes out; silk can get very dirty from being stored in a warehouse, handled in its travel and in a shop. You never know when you are about to be caught in a shower - even when packing and unpacking. Also you are likely to walk through wet grass or be dripped on by trees at some point. Maybe you will have to get a stain or some blood out of it or even wine stains when you are sewing or in use.

And even little bears get cried into, and cuddled a lot, so they need a wash every now and again!



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Postby Philippa de Vere » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:44 am

After making the mistake of not pre washing linen before I made up my first chemise, which then shrank in the wash, I now always pre wash any fabric I am going to use. Wool gets done on the wool or hand wash setting on the machine at 40oC, linen gets done at 90oC on a cottons setting, raw edges are zig zagged before washing. This way I know that the fabric will not shrink once made up and also helps to pick up any colour fastness issues.

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Postby Shadowcat » Thu Dec 20, 2007 11:33 am

Aren't you all good? I only wash linen, as I've seen how much it shrinks, but I would personally never wash wool. And especially I would not wash silk - it looses all its oomph (please note technical term) and goes floppy. But then I make for historial dancers mainly, and there is so much trimming on those costumes it would be a nightmare to wash them. However, even for my own re-enactor costumes, because I don't "live" in them, or wear them that often, I still don't wash anything but linen.

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Postby sally » Thu Dec 20, 2007 12:24 pm

I tend to put lengths of wool though the wool cycle on the washing machine before making up a garment, so that it can take the same treatment again if it needs to. I agree about not washing wool just for the sake of it, but after wrangling animals, kids and ingredients for several days its sometimes good to know I can stuff kit in the washing machine without having to worry unduly. I boilwash linen before cutting no matter what its end purpose.



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Postby Simon_Diment » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:52 pm

I pre-wash everything before I put a pattern or scissors anywhere near it, then it's ironed ready to lay out on the table for working on.

It's the only time you'll catch me ironing anything unless it's for an interview or funeral etc. :P


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Postby Tuppence » Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:38 pm

I don't know whether my wool has a finished side... but it looks like it doesn't have a right or wrong side, so I guess not? It has a very light layer of fluff, but it hasn't got a fluffy side.


sounds like not - it's usually pretty easy to tell.

I probably should add that a lot of the 'faced' wools I'm talking about are from hainsworths and retail at 30+ quid a metre, so there's no way in hell I'd let them near a washing machine :shock: , and I send the stuff out with dry clean only instructions. :mrgreen:

Is it nescessary to wash linen before blackworking on it? For things like kerchiefs, pin cushions, and pretty book coverings...


I again all comes back to do you want to wash it in anything above hand hot.

I don't wash linens for blackwork, cos I'll never wash them by machine, so they only need to take hand hopt water (not v hot for me).


Aren't you all good? I only wash linen, as I've seen how much it shrinks, but I would personally never wash wool. And especially I would not wash silk - it looses all its oomph (please note technical term) and goes floppy. But then I make for historial dancers mainly, and there is so much trimming on those costumes it would be a nightmare to wash them. However, even for my own re-enactor costumes, because I don't "live" in them, or wear them that often, I still don't wash anything but linen.


With the exception of my Norman dress (which is made in washable wool cos I tend to splash all the cooking stuff down it on a regular basis), I can say absolutely ditto for that :D


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Postby lidimy » Thu Dec 20, 2007 10:53 pm

Oh... so I should wash both wool and linen lining?

I hope the wool fits in the washing up bowl :shock:


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Postby frances » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:19 am

Lidimy STOP

Put your wool fabric into a lukewarm bath so you can move it around and squeeze it easily. Use soap flakes or liquid wash for delicate fabrics. You can then easily use loads of cool water to rinse it and also hang it up over an airer (after squeezed to get water out, not rung), to get rid of all the dripping water that would otherwise slosh all over the floor. [Think - what would my mother say about the mess I am making!]



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Postby Tuppence » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:20 am

if you want to be able to wash it. although as said above, I'm like shadowcat and don't bother, cos I rarely wash any kit apart from linens.

other option is to do as probably intended and dry clean it every so often (though I'd still probably wash the linen as it shrinks differently).

or you could make it hand-washable and do it in the bath.

btw - do you have a type of wool not prone to shrikage? some wools will shrink and awful lot if machine washed (and others a lot one way bu tnot the other, if they have synth content).

don't want you to wash it and end up not having enough if you haven't allowed for it.


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Postby m300572 » Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:16 am

At the end of the day, are you going to want to wash the kit after an event? If you have time to hand wash it in hand hot water then probably no need to preshrink (although be prepared to replace anything that your mother may helpfully wash in the machine while you are out of the house the day after you get back from the event [assuming you still live at home and your mother is prepared to do your washing]).

If you want to be able to throw muddy/bloody/foody/stinking of spilled beery kit through the washing machine then preshrink everything at the temperature that you will be washing it at.


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Postby Tuppence » Fri Dec 21, 2007 9:31 am

If you want to be able to throw muddy/bloody/foody/stinking of spilled beery kit through the washing machine then preshrink everything at the temperature that you will be washing it at.


don't wash at the temperature that you want to wash at. if you do you'll either have to wash it a few times, or to be prepared for shrinkage after the garments are constructed, because some fabrics continue to shrink if washed at the same temperature.

if you're pre-shrinking you need to wash at the hottest setting you can for linen, and at least one stetting hotter than the eventual wash temperature for wool.

and unfortuantely, be prepared for some woollen fabrics to be barely recognisable. just how it is that some woollen fabrics do not and never will, react well to washing. some will full / felt - some will shrink by up to 50%. others will be wrecked and the life of the fabric reduce by up to 80%.

in short, I really wouldn't bother washing the wool, either as a fabric, or as a garment. buy a stiff brush and find a good dry cleaner! (but then I have been known to clout people who've washed stuff made of v. nice wools...)

but if you have to make it washable, then follow the advice above, and don't be upset if the fabric isn't as it is prior to the washing.


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Postby DeviantShrub » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:12 am

I'd just like to know where you find these mythical dry cleaners who will touch anything home-made?!

I don't bother pre-washing wool but then I try not to bother washing it once it's made up either. Woollens all get aired on the line and any mud brushed off - but if it's that muddy I hike my skirts up a bit to move around so my shift gets the brunt of the filfth. So I only really feel I need to pre-wash linen.



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Postby Mad Mab » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:26 am

And then, of course, (because there's always one an it's usually me :roll: ) there's my old blue C14th dress. I pre-wash everything because I have an unerring ability to fall into any body of water around. I pre-washed the wool for this dress, made the dress and, with my usual ability to take my own measurements, found I could have fitted 3 of me into it. It was close to an event, I thought, I'll cheat and wash it on a hot wash so it shrinks. Naturally, it turned out to be the only piece of wool I've ever used to grow on a hot wash cycle. It's the amazing ever-expanding dress! :shock:
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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Fri Dec 21, 2007 10:42 am

......And put large hem and cuff allowances on everything so that you can let them down when wool shrinks due to ambient atmospheric moisture. Also make the garment hang better! A good size side seam allows weight gain / shrinkage when the style allows (still done in good quality evening wear).

Why not keep a small offcut of each fabric, and cut it to set size. Then wash it and re-measure them. Keep them in a note book with details of wash and original condition noted down. This way you will learn the (safe way) the fabric types and tolerances it has taken us many years (and fully made-up disasters) to learn!

I have washed 10m if wool I thought would matt and it didn't. I have gently washed 2.xm of another which should have shrunk a little - and got 1.5m back........



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Postby Nigel » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:15 pm

DeviantShrub wrote:I'd just like to know where you find these mythical dry cleaners who will touch anything home-made?!


Knottingley has one open a dialogue with a small local one owner operators are good and you may well be amazed

But not sure if you will have any near you ?


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Postby Tuppence » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:47 pm

I'd just like to know where you find these mythical dry cleaners who will touch anything home-made?!


any in the country if you get some cheap dry cleaning labels to attach to the garment (or make them up with a laundry pen).

it's the lack of instructions that worry them - they don't like that. you can look up the internation care symbol 'alphabet' online, and copy the symbols. I tend to state that everything woollen should be cleaned using the sensitive perchloroethalene (sp?) process - in the care alphabet it's the 'p' in circle with line under.

just work out which process you need, and temporarily attach said label, and hand over to dry cleaner.

it's not hard - just takes a little thought to get past their paranoia about being dued for damaging garments.

but like everything else, it's about building a relationship with them. independants can be better (not tied down by the rules of others) or they can be worse (more paranoid cos thy're personally liable).

there's also the fact of course that the body linens / linings were partly used cos they were more easily washable than the woollen / silk outers.

if your kit is made / worn more or less right, the wool shouldn't really need washing that badly (with the exception of c15th hose, which should be made in washable wool!)
Last edited by Tuppence on Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby mogey » Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:52 pm

You can then easily use loads of cool water to rinse it and also hang it up over an airer (after squeezed to get water out, not rung), to get rid of all the dripping water that would otherwise slosh all over the floor.


A trick my mother showed me, was to spread out a towel - spread the handwashed garment on it, then roll it up and squeeze gently - that way the garment is much dryer (and less liable to stretch on the airer) and the towel can chucked in the washing machine to spin.

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Postby Alice the Huswyf » Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:20 am

That's an excellent method to use on small garments if you can judge the fabric well and remember to stretch into shape afterwards - I use it myself.

One piece, long garments can be hung out very wet on a secured, good quality coat hanger. Hand wring the wet from the garment once as it hangs to stop it deforming, and stretch it to regain width and shape (especially important at the hem where straight parts need to be stretched to match side seams) then leave to drip dry. The amount of water left in the garment will weight it as it drips through, down and out and prevent a lot of shortening - the bane of me life. Big hems help with this process too as they stabilise the hemline and hold suffient moisture to stop last minute 'boing'.

I use the same method for hose, but hang them by the hem / stirrup or ankle (if footed) and let the weight of the water drop to the waist to preserve the length. If hose shrink in length you lose the knee bending allowance and they slit or rip.

If you anticipate the weight of a skirt will deform the bodice, then double it over a line or hanger at the waist line and secure it - but continue as above.



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Postby lidimy » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:47 pm

Thanks, loads of good advice here!

I'll measure out some bits of my wool and linen and chuck it in with the next hot wash and see what happens. I've not made anything from wool before, so I don't really know which wools do what!

Tuppence, I respect your experience and so am tempted to follow your advice and not bother washing the wool - it was a big investment on my part and I'd be devestated if anything happened to it! But equally, I'd like to have the peace of mind, knowing that if worst comes to worst, I can lob it in the bath and have done with it.

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