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Softening firm hand denim

Paisley_Stoner | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

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I just purchased some firm hand denim, stiff from the factory, not washed. Can anyone tell me the best way to soften this material besides the regular wash and dry? Thanks!

Replies

  1. Carol_Stoner | | #1

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    Paisley, I've been meaning to try this but haven't. You may want to: spread the denim out smooth (1 or 2 layers thick) under a large area rug that gets walked on a lot and leave it for awhile. The abrasion and dirt that drops through should age the denim and soften it but may fade it a bit. You will, of course, want to wash it after that but before cutting it out. If you try it, I'd be interested to hear your results.

    1. Katherine_Oler | | #2

      *Years ago I heard this from someone in a fabric store. She was purchasing quite stiff denim & told the clerk how she was going to use it... The clerk told her it was much too stiff. The woman went on to explain that whe worked for Cherokee and the way to do it was put it in the washer (top loading)on a large load with 2 CUPS of bleach and wash it that way. I tried it with some board stiff denim that was so dark it was almost black rather than blue. It worked fantastically! It lightened the color it is true but I didn't mind that when I found the new hand of the fabric to be very soft and manageable. I have also tried it with a front loading washer and the result was nowhere near what I wanted, it was still too stiff to manage. Good Luck!

      1. Janice_Bowden | | #3

        *The denim will always be heavy and firm, but you can soften it by washing/drying it several times. A lot of the stiffness is sizing. If you want it distressed, I have been known to lay it out in a heap on the driveway and run over it several times with the car, rearranging it occasionally. I've also heard putting rock salt in the washer will help soften and give a sueded feel to fabrics, but haven't tried that.

        1. Karen_Vesk | | #4

          *Janice, I'd love to be a fly on the wall in your neighbor's house as they watch you driving back and forth over a crumpled heap of denim.One thing to keep in mind if you do use softening techniques on denim or any fabric - the fabric may have a tendency to shread or fall apart more easily than a regular (ie softer) untreated denim. I made a pair of shorts out of a softened fabric - they fell apart after only one season of laundering.

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