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Pre Washing Wool Fabric

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  • amaquilter
    I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 1, 2012
      I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!

      Blessings,
      Mary Jo
    • ladylambart
      Mary Jo - This topic seems to come up once every six months or so on this list. Not that it isn t a legitimate topic but it convinces me that modern clothing
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 1, 2012
        Mary Jo -
        This topic seems to come up once every six months or so on this list. Not that it isn't a legitimate topic but it convinces me that modern clothing manufacturers have a lot to answer for since we've all been brought up to never wash wool! The trick is to wash the wool in hot water, dry it in a hot dryer, and iron it. Repeat this wash/dry/iron routine two or three times depending on the quality of the wool. This way it should not shrink after you have made it into a piece of clothing. Well, you hope it will not shrink. There are a number of men who paid large amounts of money for regimental coats only to find that the wool was insufficiently washed before being sewn - and that sweat can shrink wool!

        I am sure there are others on this list with experience with wool who can add to this.

        Fran Florio
        Lamb's Artillery



        --- In 18cLife@yahoogroups.com, "amaquilter" <amaquilter@...> wrote:
        >
        > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
        >
        > Blessings,
        > Mary Jo
        >
      • tami crandall
        I had a beautiful piece of wool that I washed and it was no longer beautiful. It changed completely so I died it another color and felted it all the way. It
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 1, 2012
          I had a beautiful piece of wool that I washed and it was no longer beautiful. It changed completely so I died it another color and felted it all the way. It ended up quite a lot smaller and thicker and worked well the the second choice project I made with it. If I could go back I would have never washed it. It would have been worth paying the dry cleaners to keep the beautiful fabric I bought.
           
          Tami Crandall


          ________________________________
          From: ladylambart <Avffrp@...>
          To: 18cLife@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Monday, October 1, 2012 9:27 PM
          Subject: [18cLife] Re: Pre Washing Wool Fabric



           

          Mary Jo -
          This topic seems to come up once every six months or so on this list. Not that it isn't a legitimate topic but it convinces me that modern clothing manufacturers have a lot to answer for since we've all been brought up to never wash wool! The trick is to wash the wool in hot water, dry it in a hot dryer, and iron it. Repeat this wash/dry/iron routine two or three times depending on the quality of the wool. This way it should not shrink after you have made it into a piece of clothing. Well, you hope it will not shrink. There are a number of men who paid large amounts of money for regimental coats only to find that the wool was insufficiently washed before being sewn - and that sweat can shrink wool!

          I am sure there are others on this list with experience with wool who can add to this.

          Fran Florio
          Lamb's Artillery

          --- In mailto:18cLife%40yahoogroups.com, "amaquilter" <amaquilter@...> wrote:
          >
          > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
          >
          > Blessings,
          > Mary Jo
          >




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Miss Hallie
          Mary Jo, there will probably be a ton of answers and methods for you, some woolens, worsteds I wash, some I don t. Try cutting a small 4 by 4 inch piece and
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
            Mary Jo, there will probably be a ton of answers and methods for you, some woolens, worsteds I wash, some I don't. Try cutting a small 4 by 4 inch piece and sending it through with your regular wash and dry, and look at the result. Did it shrink a lot? did it full up too much, change the appearance too much. Some woolens actually look better after a wash and some look terrible. A small test piece will tell you a lot.

            Hallie

            --- In 18cLife@yahoogroups.com, "amaquilter" <amaquilter@...> wrote:
            >
            > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
            >
            > Blessings,
            > Mary Jo
            >
          • Colleen Humphreys
            If I have a piece of fabric that I want felted, I wash it first. Otherwise, I do not. Our wool garments get hung, preferably outdoors, after wearing, and
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
              If I have a piece of fabric that I want felted, I wash it first. Otherwise, I do not. Our wool garments get hung, preferably outdoors, after wearing, and occasionally are hand washed. I avoid the dry cleaners for anything except modern men's suits, as they mix all the stuff in one load and can ruin lighter, more delicate things.

              Colleen

              On Oct 1, 2012, at 8:26 PM, "amaquilter" <amaquilter@...> wrote:

              > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
              >
              > Blessings,
              > Mary Jo
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Douglas Butler
              I recognize not everyone on this list is a reenactor. But for reenactors period clothing should take period washing techniques. For a poor sailor like me
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
                I recognize not everyone on this list is a reenactor. But for reenactors period clothing should take period washing techniques. For a poor sailor like me that is boiling to control vermin followed by a good beating with maybe a little precious lye soap. If the clothes won't take the washing they wouldn't have worn them in the first place.

                So I give my wool a good hot water washing and cold rinse, maybe multiple times, before I cut it for sewing.

                SherpaDoug
                Yarmouth Minutemen

                --- In 18cLife@yahoogroups.com, "amaquilter" <amaquilter@...> wrote:
                >
                > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
                >
                > Blessings,
                > Mary Jo
                >
              • Sue Felshin
                ... Hi, Mary Jo. How you prewash it depends on how you want to use it and how you want to be able to wash it in the future. 1. How you want to use it: If you
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
                  On Oct 1, 2012, at 8:26 PM, amaquilter wrote:
                  > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!

                  Hi, Mary Jo. How you prewash it depends on how you want to use it and how you want to be able to wash it in the future.

                  1. How you want to use it:

                  If you want it to be fulled, then you need to wash it now to full it as much as you want. Post again to ask for more information on how to full wool.

                  2 How you want to be able to wash it:

                  If you want to be able to machine-wash it, then you need to machine-wash it now until it stops shrinking. Wash a swatch first to see what will happen. Either measure the swatch before you wash it, or trace around it on a piece of paper. Use a rectangular swatch and not a square, because the fabric may shrink differently in the warp than in the weft. Use the same temperature water that you want to be able to use in the future.

                  -----

                  In the 18c, wool clothing other than stockings was not generally laundered. Mud can be brushed off once it dries. Clothing can be aired out to remove smells, but since you have clothing between wool and your skin (shift, shirt, stockings, linings, etc.), the underclothing protects the wool from most body oils and odors. Small stains can be spot-cleaned. If a wool garment truly needs laundering, it can be soaked in cold water, gently agitated by hand, and laid flat to dry.

                  Unless you want to full your wool beyond its current condition, I recommend one of two paths:

                  a) Don't prewash. Never wash ever, except if something truly awful happens, and then soak in cold water and lay flat to dry. But prewash a swatch anyway in cold water with little or no detergent -- that will give you some idea if the wool will shrink from rain or sweat.

                  b) Prewash in cold water, gentle cycle, little or no detergent, and hang or lay flat to dry. Prewash a swatch first. If that works out, then wash the finished garment in the same way as rarely as possible -- preferably no more than once every several years. If the swatch shrinks, wash it again, checking it each time, until it no longer shrinks appreciably. Also check to see if the appearance of the wool has changed in a way you don't like.

                  You can wash your wool more vigorously or more frequently, but I don't recommend it. I have several wool gowns and petticoats that I have never washed, or only spot-cleaned, and they are doing just fine.

                  Like Tami, I once had a beautiful of wool -- it was Merino woolen broadcloth -- that I washed and it was no longer beautiful. In that case, I wanted to dye it. First I tried to remove the color (tobacco brown), but it wouldn't come out, and then I tried to add color, and it didn't change color as much as I wanted. (I used RITberries, which I later learned are a poor choice for wool.) I washed it so many times trying to get color out and in that it fulled up to literally half its former size, and took on a somewhat rough appearance. It was then too small for its original purpose. It made a wonderfully weatherproof short cloak that I wear to this day, but it was a waste of a lovely and expensive piece of Merino.

                  Your affectionate servant,
                  Sue Felshin
                  sfelshin@...
                • amaquilter
                  Many thanks to everyone for your help. I wanted to make a weskit for my husband and possibly breeches. I don t think I will prewash the fabric for fear of
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
                    Many thanks to everyone for your help. I wanted to make a weskit for my husband and possibly breeches. I don't think I will prewash the fabric for fear of ruining it. Since my husband is very neat, I doubt I will have to worry about it getting extremely dirty.

                    Mary Jo

                    --- In 18cLife@yahoogroups.com, Sue Felshin <sfelshin@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > On Oct 1, 2012, at 8:26 PM, amaquilter wrote:
                    > > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
                    >
                    > Hi, Mary Jo. How you prewash it depends on how you want to use it and how you want to be able to wash it in the future.
                    >
                    > 1. How you want to use it:
                    >
                    > If you want it to be fulled, then you need to wash it now to full it as much as you want. Post again to ask for more information on how to full wool.
                    >
                    > 2 How you want to be able to wash it:
                    >
                    > If you want to be able to machine-wash it, then you need to machine-wash it now until it stops shrinking. Wash a swatch first to see what will happen. Either measure the swatch before you wash it, or trace around it on a piece of paper. Use a rectangular swatch and not a square, because the fabric may shrink differently in the warp than in the weft. Use the same temperature water that you want to be able to use in the future.
                    >
                    > -----
                    >
                    > In the 18c, wool clothing other than stockings was not generally laundered. Mud can be brushed off once it dries. Clothing can be aired out to remove smells, but since you have clothing between wool and your skin (shift, shirt, stockings, linings, etc.), the underclothing protects the wool from most body oils and odors. Small stains can be spot-cleaned. If a wool garment truly needs laundering, it can be soaked in cold water, gently agitated by hand, and laid flat to dry.
                    >
                    > Unless you want to full your wool beyond its current condition, I recommend one of two paths:
                    >
                    > a) Don't prewash. Never wash ever, except if something truly awful happens, and then soak in cold water and lay flat to dry. But prewash a swatch anyway in cold water with little or no detergent -- that will give you some idea if the wool will shrink from rain or sweat.
                    >
                    > b) Prewash in cold water, gentle cycle, little or no detergent, and hang or lay flat to dry. Prewash a swatch first. If that works out, then wash the finished garment in the same way as rarely as possible -- preferably no more than once every several years. If the swatch shrinks, wash it again, checking it each time, until it no longer shrinks appreciably. Also check to see if the appearance of the wool has changed in a way you don't like.
                    >
                    > You can wash your wool more vigorously or more frequently, but I don't recommend it. I have several wool gowns and petticoats that I have never washed, or only spot-cleaned, and they are doing just fine.
                    >
                    > Like Tami, I once had a beautiful of wool -- it was Merino woolen broadcloth -- that I washed and it was no longer beautiful. In that case, I wanted to dye it. First I tried to remove the color (tobacco brown), but it wouldn't come out, and then I tried to add color, and it didn't change color as much as I wanted. (I used RITberries, which I later learned are a poor choice for wool.) I washed it so many times trying to get color out and in that it fulled up to literally half its former size, and took on a somewhat rough appearance. It was then too small for its original purpose. It made a wonderfully weatherproof short cloak that I wear to this day, but it was a waste of a lovely and expensive piece of Merino.
                    >
                    > Your affectionate servant,
                    > Sue Felshin
                    > sfelshin@...
                    >
                  • MountainRose57@aol.com
                    One of the Foxfire books tells how a woman back in the hills did her laundry with a battening board.. first she soaked the cloths a little (Not all got
                    Message 9 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
                      One of the Foxfire books tells how a woman "back in the hills" did her
                      laundry with a battening board.. first she soaked the cloths a little (Not all
                      got boiled) then she battened them (beat with a paddle) then put in the
                      wash pot and aggataed a bit. If I recall. it's been years since I read them.


                      Billie C.

                      _http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BackOfTheBox/_
                      (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BilliesChristmasCorner)

                      _http://billieschristmascorner.blogspot.com/_
                      (http://billieschristmascorner.blogspot.com/)

                      (http://ult-tex.net/counts/index.cgi)






















                      In a message dated 10/2/2012 9:07:49 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
                      sherpadoug@... writes:




                      I recognize not everyone on this list is a reenactor. But for reenactors
                      period clothing should take period washing techniques. For a poor sailor like
                      me that is boiling to control vermin followed by a good beating with maybe
                      a little precious lye soap. If the clothes won't take the washing they
                      wouldn't have worn them in the first place.

                      So I give my wool a good hot water washing and cold rinse, maybe multiple
                      times, before I cut it for sewing.

                      SherpaDoug
                      Yarmouth Minutemen

                      --- In _18cLife@yahoogroups.com_ (mailto:18cLife@yahoogroups.com) ,
                      "amaquilter" <amaquilter@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > I purchased some wool over the summer at an event and I am ready to dive
                      into my first wool sewing project. I have no idea how to pre wash the wool
                      fabric before sewing and don't want to make any mistakes with this lovely
                      fabric. Help please? And thank you in advance!
                      >
                      > Blessings,
                      > Mary Jo
                      >






                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • aquazoo@patriot.net
                      Back in tailoring class, amongst impoverished college students, we were told about the London shrink method. You would sandwich the wool between two layers of
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 2, 2012
                        Back in tailoring class, amongst impoverished college students, we were
                        told about the London shrink method. You would sandwich the wool between
                        two layers of damp muslin and let the whole assembly dry. I'm sure you can
                        find better details online.

                        The other option was to take it to the cleaner just for steam shrinking.
                        not a full cleaning, they would just steam it (not press). It did not cost
                        much, actually cheaper than buying the muslin for the sandwich, so it was
                        a good option for those just making one garment for the semester.

                        Steaming it yourself was not recommended. A non-professional is not going
                        to get even results wielding a steam iron. Also we learned to use a press
                        cloth when actually ironing the item, otherwise the iron will cause shiny
                        spots.

                        -Carol
                      • Colleen Humphreys
                        ... In my experience, backed up by thousands of other knitting posters on Ravelry, you can t necessarily trust that fulled/felted wool won t shrink more. you
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 3, 2012
                          On Oct 2, 2012, at 12:22 PM, amaquilter wrote:

                          > Many thanks to everyone for your help. I wanted to make a weskit for my husband and possibly breeches. I don't think I will prewash the fabric for fear of ruining it. Since my husband is very neat, I doubt I will have to worry about it getting extremely dirty.


                          In my experience, backed up by thousands of other knitting posters on Ravelry, you can't necessarily trust that fulled/felted wool won't shrink more. you *might* be able to full it enough to be washable...but it seems few succeed. And when they do, it's SUPER thick.


                          I think you were wise in the search, and I have been happy with spot cleaning most things.

                          But, if you *do* end up washing, using warm water and soaking in shampoo or SOAK or some other no rinse wool wash from a yarn shop works quite well...just no agitation! You can spin it in *just* the spin cycle in a top loading washer (few front loaders allow this step) to get the excess moisture out, then lay flat to dry, patting into the original shape.

                          Colleen

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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