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Pre-shrinking satin-backed crepe

Honour | Posted in General Discussion on

I need to prepare a couple yards of satin-backed crepe (wool) for a beautiful pair of slacks. In the past I’ve taken fabric to the dry cleaner for steaming, but I have never really trusted them to be gentle or thorough. So, I did some poking around online and am considering the London shrink method (time consuming but low-effort) over steaming at the ironing board (time consuming and risky for distorting the fabric).

Continuing my research, I also searched through the Threads forums, and did find a couple of posts with very helpful tips.

I’m just wondering if anyone has tips on how to pre-treat this beautiful expensive fabric before I steel my nerves, shrink the darned stuff and cut it out. Basically, I need to brace myself with confidence in my technique.

Any thoughts? Thanks so much.

Edited 8/27/2009 10:34 am ET by Honour


  1. Palady | | #1

    Other than acknowledging your approach as being suitable, my thought is you're giving your project due thought and consideration.  Dare say we sewing folks know the importance of planning! 

    Might you have sufficient yardage to "experiment" with say an 1/8th of it?  A 1/16th might be sufficient.  Granted it's using costly fabric, but perhaps the effort will offer some insight you can use overall.


  2. starzoe | | #2

    Palady has a good suggestion - shrink a small sample if shrink you must. Is it really necessary? The pants will need to be drycleaned in the future anyway. The satin back may impede any shrinking, am not familiar with satin-backed crepe although I have sewn often with wool crepe, a wonderful fabric to work with and to wear.

  3. beo | | #3

    What is the London shrink method?

    1. Honour | | #4

      Thanks for the replies to my post this morning. In answer to Beo's question, here's one description of London Shrink I pulled from online--there are others, but you have to dig a bit:"You can preshrink your fabric by the London Shrink method. Fold your fabric with the selvedges and right sides together and the ends straight and even and enclose it in a damp sheet. Starting at the end, roll this sheet sandwich around a rolled up towel (this helps prevent wrinkles). Leave the fabric untouched overnight then unroll the bundle on a flat surface (a bed covered in plastic garbage bags works) and gently (don’t tug!) smooth out any large wrinkles. Let the fabric completely dry and then press (using a press cloth if necessary) to remove any remaining wrinkles."Starzoe, I think I want to preshrink because, even though I'll be drycleaning the slacks eventually, they will receive steam pressing, both from the cleaner and from my during construction. I've always been told to pretreat everything I sew. I'm such a rule-follower that I never questioned that before. Thanks for encouraging me to think for myself :-)But I'll start with Palady's suggestion to experiment with a corner piece and see how it responds to steaming and, yes, wetting.Cheers.

      1. sewluving | | #5

        I had forgotten the name of the 'London Shrink Method' until it was mentioned here.  An immediate memory of my sewing classes back in the early sixties flashed very pleasantly into my mind.  We were taught how to do this method way back in the 'olden days'.......LOL. 

        I started sewing in 1957 (grade 7) made an apron in school.  I was hooked on sewing ever since.  Took 'home econominics' which included sewing and cooking from 1959 until 1964 in high school which included Grades 9 to 13 (we had grade 13 back then).  I loved sewing.  My favourite time was the last 3 periods of classes on a Friday in Grade 13 because it was sewing.  A dream class. 

        Thank you for reminding me of those favourite times.  We learned 'bound buttonholes' too.  My teacher a Mrs. Kellett inspired many of us.  She would go to New York every year to the design and clothing area.  She made 28 coats for herself from one pattern.  All different kinds of fabrics for every season.  She was amazing. 

        Aaah........good memories.

        Heather who used to live in Ontario but now lives in Alberta (for the last 44 years)

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