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Help me rescue a bedspread thats’ shrunk

geoffhazel | Posted in General Discussion on

I need a solution to a problem.  This is a pretty creative bunch, hopefully something will emerge that can help me out.

OK, so I was helping around the house and doing laundry.  One of the cats decided to “mark” the new bedspread.  I put it in the wash, then dried it. And it shrunk from Queen side to Twin size.  When I informed my wife, she said “oh, that was VERY expensive!!  It cost me $300 and that was marked down from $600!”

Now, in my defense, I had told her about the cat incident earlier that day, and she did nothing to warn me.  The LAST bedspread we had was machine washable.

But the prosecutor will ask “did you look at the care label” and I’ll have to admit I didn’t, and it clearly says “Dry clean only”.  So I’m screwed on the blame thing.

Anyway… anyway… I think there’s hope. I found a formula for relaxing shrunken cloth: First,  soak in a solution of Borax, pull the fabric back into shape, and then soak in vinegar solution.  I tried it on one small corner of the bedspread and it seemed to work. 

So, here’s the problem:  How do I soak and then methodically stretch the entire bedspread, in both directions, and stretch it evenly?  I was thinking about wrapping it on to a spool of 10″ PVC pipe or something and then winding it onto ANOTHER spool; or something along those lines. but that seems like a big project, and it takes quite a bit of effort to stretch even a small area, so perhaps I need to do it one square foot at a time… I dont’ know… this is where I hit a wall in my thinking

PS: The label says 100% egyptian cotton, and it would appear that there’s a “grid” of threads in the fabric on a diagonal about 2″ square that has shrunk, gathering the rest of it up.

Edited 4/4/2007 6:57 pm ET by geoffhazel


  1. PrincessKatja | | #1

    I'd bet that it shrunk due to relaxaction shrinkage.  So I can see why putting the fabric yarns(threads) under tension and drying them in that state might help. 

    What about possibly hanging the bedspread?  When you work with silk,  you generally stretch it onto a frame.  If you could hang it, and then weight the bottom it might be able to do some of the work for you.

    Dunno... just a thought. :)  Thankfully it's not wool - there would be no hope apart from incorporating it into a new bedspread design...

  2. User avater
    TwilaTee | | #2

    How about a quilting frame?? or somehow secure it to a large table or maybe the bed?? I'm not sure about your weather,..... I live in Las Vegas. It's dry and hot so if I put a wet bedspread on a table to dry it would take about a day. You might have problems with mildew though. I think the idea with the weights was a good one.Good Luck! -Twila

    1. MaryinColorado | | #11

      oh oh, he'll really be in trouble if he warps or leaves a white spot on a table!  no no no!!!!

  3. Ralphetta | | #3

    Do you remember curtain stretchers?  My mother still used them in the 50's.  It was a big, adjustable wooden frame that had pin-things about every inch.  It was much like the tack strips they use to install wall-to-wall carpeting, only it stood upright.   You pulled the cotton curtains taut while still wet.  Since they were really, really,  big, she always did it outside on a sunny day.  The quilt frame sounds similar and might work.  I would be really careful about letting it stay wet too long, or you might have a problem of colors bleeding.

  4. rez | | #4

    Hello geoffhazel,

    It might seem a bit obscure but if you soak the cloth in a solution of 1/3 city tapwater, 1/3 large dog urine, and the final third a blend of a powdered detergent, common liquid dishsoap and pondwater from a pond that has greenery as cattails or lilypads in it, and let it dry in the shade with a constant wind, you're guaranteed to notice a change.


    1. spicegirl | | #5

      Stay away from my laundry bub........the man is in big trouble here.  About $700.00 worth.

      When I read Geo's post, my first thought was the old fashion curtain stretchers, or quilt-type frame with a middle rail.  What ever is used, set it up to the finished size and begin stretching from the middle out.

      A quilter might buy complementary fabric and "frame" the mini version out to the size  needed.

      On second though, I think I might just break the piggy bank and get a new spread. 

    2. geoffhazel | | #8

      Hello geoffhazel,

      It might seem a bit obscure but if you soak the cloth in a solution of 1/3 city tapwater, 1/3 large dog urine, and the final third a blend of a powdered detergent, common liquid dishsoap and pondwater from a pond that has greenery as cattails or lilypads in it, and let it dry in the shade with a constant wind, you're guaranteed to notice a change.

      Hmm... I guess I'm not safe from jokers over here in Gatherings either... (tried the guys over in Breaktime first, a bunch of wise guys over there too).


      1. rez | | #9

        ya, and I ended up walking alone.

        Bunch a wannabees over there. :o)


        be walkin' the talk?



      2. jatman | | #13

        Hey GH - the next time you have a household problem, you probably don't want to share it with your buddies from another forum!  They clearly aren't taking your problem seriously.

        In the meantime you may want to see if there is a monster truck rally in your area sometime soon.  Maybe you can attach the bedspread to four trucks pulling in all different directions and see if they can get it back into shape for you.

        Sorry.  Just had to join in.



    3. FastEddie | | #12

      I think you're setting him up to fail.  The liquid dish soap is probably what caused the original problem.  He needs to watch some early Saturday morning tv, I remember seeing some guy on there that talks with a funny accent real loud, he had a cleaning powedr that is supposed to cure almost every household problem.

      Stretching the wet cloth could be a problem, but if his house has vinyl siding he could unzip a course about 8 ft up and attach the spread to that.  The vinyl is waterproof so there wouldn't be any damage to the house, and he could use a pressure washer (the one he probably uses to clean the deck every spring) to help get the wrinkles out.

  5. Ralphetta | | #6

    One thing I forgot to ask, have you inquired at a good dry cleaner/laundry?  A place that does drapes must have the right equipment.  I would at least check it out before experimenting on my  own.

  6. fabricholic | | #7

    If it is going to stretch, can't you just hang both ends on a double clothes line? Well, you might not be in the country. I think you might better bite the bullet and spring for another one.Marcy

  7. MaryinColorado | | #10

    Bless Your heart for being one of those wonderful husbands who cares enough to share household responsibilities!  Over thirty years of marriage, my dear hubby and I have both done our share of lulu's. 

    A good drycleaners will stretch natural fiber items for you.  The results will vary, but at least some of them offer the service.  I don't know how they do it though. 

    Best Wishes!  Mary

    Maybe you can start by buying her some chocolates!  That "repairs" lots of things around here! 

    Edited 4/6/2007 12:02 pm ET by MaryinColorado

  8. Teaf5 | | #14

    Even if you do find success stretching it with all these interesting and creative methods, Murphy's Law says that the cat will come back to re-mark it within hours of putting it back onto the bed!Instead, consider the piece you have as the center of a new coverlet and think about what you can do around the outside-- a nice wide ruffle, a coordinating fabric quilted to match, or just use the shrunken coverlet folded at the end of the bed over a new, plain one. Another option would be to take the thing apart (if that is possible) and put a new backing onto it; two twins is just a bit bigger than a queen. Just make sure that anything that you add to it has already been pre-washed so that you don't end up in the same situation again.

    1. Cherrypops | | #15

      Love Love Love! your advice Teaf, Geoff would be wise to take this suggestion. CherryPops

    2. geoffhazel | | #16

      Remember now, you're talking to someone who doesn't have a working sewing machine, and hasn't sewn anything for 40 yrs.  Hammer, nails, those I'm familiar with.  

      Are there any volunteers to rescue this spread FOR ME???

      1. rez | | #18


         Alice is right. Best you drop to knees and beg forgiveness and be done with it.

         And get a new one to keep peace in the house.

         A small price to pay.

      2. Teaf5 | | #19

        My dad was a carpenter who made sure all his daughters could swing a hammer, plumb a line, and miter a crisp corner as well as make repairs on our sewing machines. Our mom taught all my brothers and sisters to sew, and some of my brothers are better at it than some of my sisters. The straight lines you need to sew a coverlet are pretty easy, but if you're truly desperate, maybe you could trade $700 worth of carpentry skills with a neighbor or someone for the time and expertise for salvaging the spread! Otherwise, I'd recommend doing overtime at work or moonlighting long enough to earn enough to replace it.....

    3. Char9 | | #20

      Good advice.  Excellent prediction.  Ask me, I know!  I have 4 furkids of the feline variety and one is a puker.  I use the big washers at the local laudromat to wash my quilt.  I also make sure all my quilts are washable.  I've been to the local laudromat so many times I now have a bunch of friends there. 

      Even if you do stretch the quilt back to its original size, what happens the next time the cat visits? 

      How about using the shrunken quilt as a wall hanging in the bedroom?  Then buy a coordinating (and washable!) quilt for the bed.

      By the way, if your furkid isn't spayed or neutered, have it done ASAP!  Not only will that reduce the urge to mark territory but the cat will be much healthier.  Spaying and neutering substantially reduces the risk of testicular and mammary cancers.

      Good luck!

      1. rez | | #21

        Well geo-

         I just had to drop by here to find out  the final outcome of the bedspread demise?

        What did you finally do?

        1. geoffhazel | | #22

          Lots of good ideas but we never got around to doing anything. I think my wife just chalked it up to "laundry disasters" -- although we DO have it -- I think it's in one of those vacuum shrink bags of "linens" that seem to accumulate around here.I think if I was going to try to rescue it, sewing it into a larger spread would be a good plan.

          1. rez | | #23

            So, she has tempered over the years, aye?

            Aging must have it's benefits then.



            be tho' few.:o)

  9. Alice in Atlanta | | #17

    I think you'd better seek a good divorce attorney unless your wife's an angel.  Better send roses, diamonds and a week on an island beach. 


    Better yet, stick with what you know and appreciate your "better" half!

  10. starzoe | | #24

    Thanks for the joke.......been into the Thanksgiving sherry I assume?

    Edited 11/15/2008 10:59 pm ET by starzoe

  11. charm | | #25


    if you can't expand the bedspread just add a beautiful eyelaces to the ends of all four sides of the bedspread and sew it's to the lenght where you need to expand the size of the bedspread to the orginally size you once had. you don't have to go with the style of eyelaces but choose some kind of fabrics that your wife would love to add a touch up along with the bedspread. just find two layers of fabrics for the back and the front than add batting to the center of it sew it together after that is finish sew it to the edges of the bedspread. I'm not sure if your borders is squares or swag shape. if it's squares just draw a narrow square shape to add it to the speadspread. if it's a swag follow your swag shape from your bedspread and draw it to some kind of large paper so you'll have a template to draw it over the fabrics to get the exacts sizes to expand bedspread. hope this will help.

  12. lizbonner | | #26

    Hi, I am still facing problem in coverlet, how to insert the foam in the coverlet and make stitching. Should I buy a textile machine? Here in Australia I am not getting much guidance!

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